Latest News

An Analysis on UNCITRAL Model Law

UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration is an international legal document containing various guidelines related to International Commercial Arbitration. It was drafted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and was passed on 21 June 1985. Bound by the restraints of being a part of International law, the UNCITRAL Model Law is not binding in nature but it does create some obligations on its signatories to adopt laws in their own country structured on the blueprints laid down by the Model laws. According to United Nations Commission on International Trade Law “The UNCITRAL Model Law provides a pattern that law-makers in national governments can adopt as part of their domestic legislation on arbitration.”[1]

The practise of International commercial arbitration was in a dire need of a uniform set of guidelines to help guide their process. This is because it was found that the there was a high rate of disparity in nation laws related to the subject which always ended up creating conflict and confusion. Moreover, it was also observed that either the Arbitration laws of nations were either outdated or fragmented, or were more focused on domestic aspects ignoring the international perspective. Thus, the approval and pronouncement of a consistent bunch of guidelines like the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration was a welcomed move for the international community.

The act has definitely proved itself worthy of being called a ground breaker in the field of international commercial arbitration. The Model law a wide range of scope for its applicability. While defining the term Commercial, it has introduced a wide range for interpretation by including all relationships of commercial nature, whether contractual in essence or not[2].  The model law has also been successful in limiting the interference of court in the arbitration process. The fact that parties go for ADR methods in itself show their reluctance in involving court in their affairs and in such case an interference by court of law fails their basic purpose. Taking this into account, the Model Law has enlisted some specific cases[3] where courts involvement is permissible and leaving them, none of the courts are allowed to interfere in matters under the said law. The Model Law also wanted to solve the problem of enforcement of arbitral awards in international commercial arbitration and therefore tried to set unifrom principals regarding the enforcement of award irrespective if the country where it was decided upon. Excluding these, the Law also has various mandates and provisions for arbitral agreement, rules of procedure, arbitral tribunal, interim orders, etc.

India was itself a signatory of the law and therefore is obliged to enforce its provisions in the Indian territory. Thus, following the same, Indian legislature enacted the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, based on the UNCITRAL Model Laws. The Act proved to be an improved and updated version of the outdated arbitral laws in India gave due consideration to the problems of International commercial arbitration.  


[1] FAQ - UNCITRAL and Private Disputes / Litigation"

[2] Article 1, UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration

[3] Mentioned in Article 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 27, 34, 35, 36 of UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration

  • What is UNCITRAL Model Law
  • Features of the Model Law
  • Indian Adoption of the Model Laws

BY : Kopal Bansal

All Latest News