Guest Post by Irene Ng

Irene Ng is a Fellow at the Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum and a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Vienna. On March 17, 2018, Irene shared about how UNCITRAL e-commerce texts can interact with blockchain and smart contracts at the Computational Law & Blockchain Festival, Singapore Node. The following post is a summary of her presentation and answer to some queries that were asked.

1. What is UNCITRAL?

UNCITRAL stands for the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law. It is the main body of the United Nations that aims to promote trade amongst states through modernizing and harmonizing rules for international commerce. UNCITRAL has undertaken work in a wide range of commercial law issues, such as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), arbitration and conciliation, investor-state dispute settlement reform, electronic commerce, insolvency law, security interests and international sale of goods.

2. What are UNCITRAL E-Commerce Texts and how are they related to Singapore’s e-commerce laws?

In the field of e-commerce, UNCITRAL has released four texts in the last two decades or so. The first legislative text was the Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996). Subsequently, UNCITRAL released the Model Law on Electronic Signatures (2001), the Electronic Communications Convention (2005), and, more recently, the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (2017). These texts intend to facilitate e-commerce transactions by establishing rules to allow the electronic equivalent of paper-based documents to be legally recognised, thereby removing obstacles encountered by the use of electronic means.

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