Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE USE OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS IN INTERNATIONAL CONTRACTS AT TEN: PRACTICAL RELEVANCE AND LESSONS LEARNED

Luca G Castellani

Abstract


The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law prepared the first global treaty specifically devoted to electronic commerce law, the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts. That treaty builds on the highly successful UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures. This article describes the main goals of the Electronic Communications Convention and its scope of application. In particular, it illustrates how that Convention may fully enable the use of electronic means under other widely adopted treaties such as the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The article also describes the main substantive provisions of the Electronic Communications Convention, in particular clarifying how that Convention updates and completes the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce. This Model Law is the backbone of electronic commerce law in numerous countries and a de facto legislative standard insouthern Africa. Finally, the article describes the manner (or patterns) in which the adoption of the Electronic Communications Convention takes place. It stresses that, while the Convention is often used as a source of inspiration for domestic law reform, in order for it to achieve all its intended goals, its formal adoption as a treaty is necessary. The final message is therefore a call upon all states to consider the adoption of that Convention in order to support the broader use of electronic means, especially in the light of the implications for economic development and the promotion of paperless trade.


Keywords


Electronic communications, electronic contracting, digital signatures, legal harmonisation, convention adoption patterns

Full Text:

PDF

References


Boss, AH & Kilian, W (eds). 2008. The United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts: An In-depth Guide and Sourcebook. The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.

Butler, P. 2013. The CISG and the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts. In I Schwenzer & L Spagnolo (eds) State of Play. Den Haag: Eleven International Publishing, 1–16.

Chong, KW & Chao, JS. 2006. United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts: A new global standard. Singapore Academy of Law Journal 18(I): 116–202. Available at (accessed 10 July 2014).

Connelly, C. 2008. Using the Electronic Communications Convention to harmonize national and international electronic commerce laws: An ASEAN case study. In AH Boss & W Kilian (eds) The United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts: An In-depth Guide and Sourcebook. The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 315–332.

Eiselen, S. 2007. The UNECIC: International trade in the digital era. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 10(2): 1–49. Available at (accessed 10 July 2014).

Eiselen, S. 2008. The Interaction between the Electronic Communications Convention and the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods. In AH Boss & W Kilian (eds) The United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts: An In-depth Guide and Sourcebook. The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 333–352.

Elsan, M & Subaty, M. 2009. Contract formation using automated message system: Survey of Islamic contract law. Arab Law Quarterly 23(2): 167–180.

Ferrari, F. 2009. Homeward trend and lex forism despite uniform sales law. Vindobona Journal of International Commercial Law & Arbitration 13(1): 15–42.

Gabriel, HD. 2006. The United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts: An overview and analysis. Uniform Law Review/Revue de Droit Uniforme 11(2): 285–304.

Hettenbach, D. 2008. Das Übereinkommen der Vereinten Nationen über die Verwendung elektronischer Mitteilungen bei internationalen Verträgen. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

Smedinghoff, TJ. 2008. Article 9: Form requirements. In AH Boss & W Kilian (eds) The United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts: An In-depth Guide and Sourcebook. The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 136–161.

UNCITRAL. 2007. Explanatory note by the UNCITRAL Secretariat on the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts. Sales No E.07.V.2. New York: United Nations.

UNCITRAL. 2009a. Promoting confidence in electronic commerce: legal issues on international use of electronic authentication and signature methods. Sales No E.09.V.4. Vienna: United Nations.

UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). 2009. Estudio sobre las perspectivas de la armonización de la ciberlegislación en América Latina. United Nations doc UNCTAD/DTL/ STICT/2009/1. New York & Geneva: United Nations.

UNCTAD. 2010. Estudio sobre las perspectivas de la armonización de la ciberlegislación en Centroamérica y el Caribe. United Nations doc UNCTAD/ DTL/STICT/2009/3. New York & Geneva: United Nations.

UNCTAD. 2013. Review of e-commerce legislation harmonization in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. United Nations doc UNCTAD/DTL/STICT/2013/1. New York & Geneva: United Nations.

Unidroit. 2010. (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) Unidroit Principles of International Commercial Contracts. Rome: International Institute for the Unification of Private International Law.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.