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November 2021

Recent Developments in Private International Law

The 51st General Assembly held on November 11th and 12th adopted a resolution that, for the first time, includes a dedicated section on private international law (PIL), indicating the increasing importance of the subject to OAS Member States (International Law, AG/doc.5730/21, Section ii). It was resolved that the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs discuss strategies for the OAS to resume its activities in codification and progressive development of PIL, that the Department of International Law (DIL) continue to promote greater dissemination of PIL instruments, organize joint meetings with areas specializing in PIL in Member States, and continue working in collaboration with other international organizations active in the field, and that states parties to various inter-American conventions maintain up-to-date designated Central Authorities under those conventions.

On November 4 & 5th, DIL in collaboration with the American Association of Private International Law (ASADIP), sponsored the XIV ASADIP Conference on “Private International Law and Modern Technologies,” which was held in virtual form. The annual conference is the pre-eminent regional forum for PIL but was not held in 2020 due to the Covid-pandemic. The inaugural session of the XIV Conference provided an overview of the challenges posed by digital transformation, which were considered in greater depth by 5 panels with presentations by 35 experts over the next two days that examined new technologies in relation to PIL specifically on the following topics: data and regulatory conflict; implications for traditional PIL connecting factors; artificial intelligence, blockchain and smart contracts; transnational dispute resolution and international judicial cooperation. DIL participated in a special panel together with representatives from the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) and the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) to discuss impacts of technology on PIL codification. Aspects of these discussions will be taken into consideration by the Inter-American Juridical Committee, which has included onto its agenda the topic of “new technologies and their relevance to legal cooperation.” For those interested, a recording of the event will be posted to the ASADIP website in due course.

Recently, the Ukraine deposited instruments of accession to the Inter-American Convention on Support Obligations (adopted July 15th, 1989 at CIDIP-IV) and to the Inter-American on Proof of and Information on Foreign Law (adopted May 8th, 1979 at CIDIP-II). Details may be found at the following DIL website: [summary table].

On September 26th, DIL co-sponsored a webinar on “Cross-border Trade Finance” together with the Kozolchyk National Law Center to consider relevant OAS and UNCITRAL instruments, specifically, the Model Inter-American Law on Secured Transactions, the UN Convention on Independent Guarantees and Stand-by Letters of Credit and the UN Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade. While the OAS Model Law, as well as the UNCITRAL Model, pave the way for a “paradigm shift” towards asset-based lending, these two Conventions form part of the package of legislative reforms that can further improve secured lending, and particularly trade finance. States may either implement the Model Law and then move towards adding more specialized financing norms or build their frameworks incrementally by ratifying the Conventions first. The webinar highlighted the fundamental features of both Conventions and explained how their implementation may enhance commercial frameworks in the region. For those interested in a recording of the webinar, please contact [email protected].

» To visit the DIL’s web page on Private International Law, click here.


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