Internationalisation of Secured Credit Law: the UNCITRAL experience

The research project addresses international harmonisation efforts in secured credit law and, in particular, it asks whether the most comprehensive international standard - the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Legislative Guide on Secured Transactions - is suitable for adoption at the national level.

This area is highly important and contentious in that an efficient secured transactions law is seen to increase the availability and lower the cost of credit, thereby contributing to international development. 

My research hypothesis, however, is that American law and American lawyers have shaped the content of the Legislative Guide to an undue extent; so much so that it is not suitable for direct and immediate translation into the laws of other countries. This specific project is intended to form the preliminary to a larger project examining the role of globalisation and international finance capital in shaping harmonisation endeavours in the secured credit field.

The project asks a number of specific questions including the following.

  1. Why is there pressure for greater international convergence, and is "spontaneous" convergence a viable possibility?
  2. What is the relative importance of the different actors and how do they interact? Why, for instance, is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Model Law on Secured Transactions much less prescriptive in tone and American in content than the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide?
  3. How successful is the Legislative Guide likely to be in influencing other initiatives such as the European Common Frame of Reference (CFR) or is its American orientation likely to limit its usefulness?