Legal Nature of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

Legal Nature of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law


The UNCITRAL Committee is a subsidiary legal body of the United Nations General Assembly, and the UNCITRAL Secretariat is the international commercial legal division of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.

The UNCITRAL Commission is a legal body with global membership specialized in commercial law reform on a global scale for more than 50 years. The mission of UNCITRAL is to modernize and harmonize the rules relating to international business. During the preparation of the arbitration legal rules and texts, the most important of which were the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards of 1958, as well as the UNCITRAL International Commercial Arbitration Act of 1976, as amended in 2010, the Model Law of Commercial Arbitration in 1985, as amended in 2006.

Through the legal nature of the UNCITRAL Commission for the preparation of arbitration legal rules and texts, we find two terms and convergent arbitration rules that may be unclear in this field. Both were issued by one side, which is the UNCITRAL Committee.

In establishing the Commission, the General Assembly recognized that disparities in national laws regulating international trade create obstacles to the flow of trade, and considered the Commission to be the means by which the United Nations could play a more active role in reducing and removing these obstacles.

Accordingly, the Model Law issued in 1985 and amended in 2006 provides a pattern that national legislators in all countries of the world can adopt as part of their internal legislation on arbitration. This is what has already happened since the issuance of the first modern and advanced Arab arbitration law independent of the Civil Procedures Law, which is the Egyptian Arbitration Law No. 27 of 1994 in force after benefiting from the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, as well as the Jordanian Arbitration Law No. 31 of 2001 in force and other legislation arbitration in Arab countries. In simplified terms, the Model Law is directed at States and their legislators.

As for the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, they were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1976 after extensive deliberations and consultations with many international organizations and experts in the field of arbitration, and those consultations were conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law called UNCITRAL.

The UNCITRAL Rules were revised and revised in 2010 to reflect the evolution of arbitral practices. The rules were revised again in 2013 to add the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration. On the other hand, the parties, whether they are individuals or countries, choose the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules in the arbitration agreement, to organize an arbitration process intended to settle a dispute or disputes between the parties. We find that the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules of 1976 are directed to the parties to the dispute.

In order to know the difference and similarity between (the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration) and (the UNCITRAL Rules for International Commercial Arbitration), we can extract them as follows:

We find that both of them are similar by:

  • Both of them aim at commercial arbitration and the settlement of various disputes.
  • Both issued by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.
  • They differ in terms of:

The year of their issuance, the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules were issued in 1976 and were amended in 2010 and were also amended in 2013. As for the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, it was issued in 1985 and its provisions were amended in 2006

They also differ through the body to which they are addressed. UNCITRAL rules address states and individuals to adopt its rules in settling commercial disputes, while the Model Law is a legal discourse directed to state legislators for adoption as a national law in its entirety or after amending some of its provisions in accordance with their national legal system.

The parties to any contract may agree to use the UNCITRAL Commercial Arbitration Rules of 1976 as amended to guide the settlement of disputes that arise between them. National Arbitration Legislation.

For more details, contact

Ahmed Hankawi