UN international trade panel tackles emerging issues related to ecommerce

The Vienna-based UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which has specialized in law reform worldwide for over 30 years, concluded its three-week session on Friday after adopting a draft Model Law on Electronic Signatures, which aims to prepare uniform rules on the legal issues of digital signatures and certification authorities. The Model Law is to apply where electronic signatures are used in the context of commercial activities, but it will not override any consumer protection laws. The newly adopted Model Law on Electronic Signatures is intended to provide certainty as to the legal effectiveness of certain electronic authentication techniques and to offer a standard regarding the conduct to be observed by the various parties involved in an electronic signature process, according to UNCITRAL. The new Model Law is based on a “technologically neutral” approach that is not intended to favour any given product on the market. As the core legal body of the UN system in the field of international trade law, UNICTRAL has developed an extensive body of treaties, model laws and rules which serve to facilitate commercial transactions worldwide. It has also compiled updated information on case law and enactments of uniform commercial law, while providing technical assistance in law reform projects and organizing regional and national seminars on relevant topics of interest.

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