UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce

Author/Source: UNCITRAL

Year of adopting/publication: 1996

Link to the document on the internet: UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce

Purpose: The Model Law on Electronic Commerce (MLEC) purports to enable and facilitate commerce conducted using electronic means by providing national legislators with a set of internationally acceptable rules aimed at removing legal obstacles and increasing legal predictability for electronic commerce. In particular, it is intended to overcome obstacles arising from statutory provisions that may not be varied contractually by providing equal treatment to paper-based and electronic information. Such equal treatment is essential for enabling the use of paperless communication, thus fostering efficiency in international trade.

The Model Law has two parts: Part I covers E-commerce in general; Part II covers E-commerce in specific areas, here carriage of goods.
Besides formulating the legal notions of non-discrimination, technological neutrality and functional equivalence, the MLEC establishes rules for the formation and validity of contracts concluded by electronic means, for the attribution of data messages, for the acknowledgement of receipt and for determining the time and place of dispatch and receipt of data messages.
It should be noted that certain provisions of the MLEC were amended by the Electronic Communications Convention in light of recent electronic commerce practice. Moreover, part II of the MLEC, dealing with electronic commerce in connection with carriage of goods, has been complemented by other legislative texts, including the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (the "Rotterdam Rules") and may be the object of additional work of UNCITRAL in the future.

The Model Law is accompanied by a Guide to Enactment, which provides background and explanatory information to assist States in preparing the necessary legislative provisions and may guide other users of the text. The CLOUT (Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts) system contains cases relating to the application of the Model Law on Electronic Commerce.

Pages that cite the Model:

Convention on the Use of Electronic Communication
Single Window Implementation
UNCITRAL Model Law E-Signature