Article - UN Convention on the use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts to come into force (July 2006)
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- Galexia has published a number of resources on the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts 2005. These are available from <http://www.galexia.com/>:
- UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts to come into force - July 2006 Read more »
- Galexia’s article about the UN Convention on Electronic Contracting published in the Computer Law & Security Report - March 2006 Read more »
Three more nations have signed the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts 2005 (the UN Convention on Electronic Contracting) at a signing ceremony held at the UN headquarters in New York on 7 July 2006. As at 13 July 2006, the Convention has six signatories - the Central African Republic, China, Lebanon, Senegal, Singapore and Sri Lanka. It is only a matter of time before the Convention will come into force.
The Convention on Electronic Contracting seeks to enhance the legal certainty and commercial predictability of international electronic transactions by setting out a number of interpretive rules for the use of electronic communications in negotiating and forming contracts. It builds upon and updates the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Electronic Commerce 1996, which set an initial template for e-commerce laws that has been adopted in numerous jurisdictions including many countries in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.
According to Article 23, the Convention will come into force six months after the third instrument of ratification is deposited at the UN. The act of ratifying a convention is different from signing it. Signing a convention indicates a state’s intention to be bound by the convention and its willingness to undertake the steps necessary for the convention to be binding on that state, for example through ratification or accession. Signing a convention is subject to ratification. It is only after a state has ratified a convention that it is bound by the convention and it will come into force in that state. Article 23 also provides that the Convention on Electronic Contracting will come into force in a state six months after the instrument of ratification is deposited. The UNCITRAL website keeps an up-to-date record of states that have signed and ratified the convention at: <http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/uncitral_texts/electronic_commerce/2005Convention_status.html>.
There is not yet a fixed date when the UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts 2005 will come into force. While there are a number of signatories to the Convention no instrument of ratification has been deposited.
A number of important economies, most notably China, have been quick to sign the Convention and it is clear that the Convention will play a seminal role in shaping the rules surrounding electronic contracting. States ratifying the Convention are also likely to apply the Convention to domestic electronic contracts as well as cross-border ones. If a state did not do this there are a number of barriers to e-commerce that would arise from separate regimes existing for domestic and international contracts. This would be counter to one of the main aims of the Convention which is to promote the use of electronic media in forming international contracts.
In addition to those states who became signatories to the Convention at the UNCITRAL signing ceremony, a number of states, including the United States, have made statements supporting the wide adoption of the Convention and emphasising the significant role it will play in facilitating global e-commerce. There has been a lot of support in the international community for the Convention and in time it is expected to become the default standard for the legal rules surrounding the formation of international contracts by electronic means.
Galexia has published a number of resources and materials on the UN Convention on Electronic Contracting. More information on the provisions of the Convention is available from the Galexia website at: <http://www.galexia.com/public/about/news/about_news-id71.html>.