UN cross-border insolvency law revisited

Author: Amélie Labbé | Published: 11 Oct 2016

Despite a positive reception globally, the UN Commission on International Trade Law’s (Uncitral) 1997 Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency is facing challenges in practice. Fragmented adoption is preventing a more widespread dissemination of its two main principles: providing a more harmonised framework for cross-border insolvencies, and encouraging cooperation between jurisdictions.

To date, 43 countries have chosen to incorporate the law – the US via Chapter 15 of its Bankruptcy Code, and Japan through its 2001 Law on Recognition and Assistance for a Foreign Insolvency Proceeding. Seventeen African states, members of Ohada (the Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires) have also done so via the 2015 Uniform Act on Insolvency. Incidentally, the UK has recognised the Model Law’s applicability in its own Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations 2006, which would provide part of a solution after it leaves the EU in two years.

However, there are some notable exceptions...