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December 2020

Latest Advances in Private International Law in the Americas

Latest Advances in Private International Law in the Americas

In a year where any good news is welcome, certain advances in private international law are definitely noteworthy.  

Among these would be Uruguay’s recent approval on November 17, 2020 of its new legislation Ley General de Derecho Internacional Privado [Law on Private International Law. An initiative that dates back to 1994, perhaps the most significant achievement is adherence to the internationally accepted principle of party autonomy in international contracts (Article 45). The final version of the law as approved by the Senate is consistent with the Guide on the Law Applicable to International Commercial Contracts in the Americas.

This Guide continues to gain recognition and is being increasingly referenced in international instruments. For example, in its resolution on COVID-19 and frustration of international contracts, the Hispanic/American Institute for International Law (IHLADI) advised that the Guide and its 18 recommendations be taken into consideration “with the objective to strengthen progressive harmonization on the law of international contracts.” The Guide is also being relied upon by other  states engaging upon reform initiatives of domestic legislation in this area; for example, Guatemala is taking steps to ensure its draft  legislation on applicable law is consistent with the Guide and has sought comment from the Department in that regard.  

Another achievement, after several years under development, is publication of the Ley Modelo Interamericana sobre Garantías Mobiliarias: Su Implementación [Model Inter-American Law on Secured Transactions: Its Implementation].  Comprising over 400 pages, Parts I and II are a series of technical articles by various experts that explain several aspects of the Model Law and accompanying Regulations; Part III is a collection of country reports on the status of reforms across the region (Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and the Dominican Republic). This work has been undertaken in furtherance of the mandate “to continue promoting the Model Law on Secured Transactions among member states” (AG/RES. 2909, 2017). Because the pandemic prevented distribution of hard copies, publisher Marcial Pons has provided an electronic version, which will be posted to the Department’s website by mid-January. 

In November, Panama became the most recent OAS Member State to appoint a Focal Point for the Model Law on the Simplified Corporation. This will help to expand the regional network of experts and assist the Department of International Law with the mandate from the OAS General Assembly to disseminate the Model Law “as widely as possible” (AG/RES.2906, 2017).  

The Department continues to support the work of the Inter-American Juridical Committee on a number of different topics in private international law, including recognition and enforcement of judgments and warehouse receipts. In addition to a number of webinars that were delivered during the pandemic, plans are underway for several more in the coming year on various topics in private international law – stay tuned! .

For further information on this matter, please contact the Department of International Law of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the OAS + 1 202 370 0743. 

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