© Commonwealth of Australia 2002

ISBN 0 642 74163 8

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Permission to reprint the United Nations Publication, UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, is acknowledged.


The Government is seeking comments from interested parties on the detail of the proposals in this paper. Comments should be forwarded to the following address:

General Manager Telephone: 02 6263 3970
Corporate Governance Division Facsimile: 02 6263 2770
The Treasury
Langton Crescent

Inquiries concerning the paper can be made to:

Andrew Sellars Frank Donnan
02 6263 3979 02 6263 3949

The closing date for submissions is 31 December 2002.

Copies of this paper are available on the Treasury website (



It will be assumed that submissions are not confidential and may be made publicly available. If you want your submission, or any part of it, to be treated as 'confidential', please indicate this clearly. A request made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) for a submission marked confidential to be made available will be determined in accordance with that Act.



I am pleased to announce a further phase of the Government's Corporate Law Economic Reform Program - CLERP 8. This paper canvasses the enactment by Australia of a model law on cross-border insolvency.

In May 1997 the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with Australia's support, adopted a Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency ('the Model Law'). The purpose of the Model Law is to provide effective and efficient mechanisms for dealing with cases of cross-border insolvency so as to promote the objectives of:

(a) co-operation between the courts and other authorities involved in cases of cross-border insolvency;

(b) greater legal certainty for trade and investment;

(c) fair and efficient administration of cross-border insolvencies that protects the interests of all creditors and other interested persons;

(d) protection and maximisation of the value of assets; and

(e) facilitation of the rescue of financially troubled businesses, thereby protecting investment and preserving employment.

Over the past decade the international community has devoted much effort to improving the international financial architecture. Effective cross-border insolvency arrangements will be an important aspect of this effort and have the potential to enhance the operation of the global financial system, providing long-term benefits to Australian businesses.

This paper sets out a number of proposals in connection with the enactment in Australia of the Model Law. The Government welcomes comments on the proposals.

Senator Campbell's signature

Senator the Hon Ian Campbell
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

Parliament House


Table of contents


Reform Proposals

Cross-border insolvency and the UNCITRAL Model Law

What is cross-border insolvency?

Risks of cross-border insolvency

Background to the UNCITRAL Model Law

Should Australia enact the UNCITRAL Model Law

Views of international commentators on the UNCITRAL Model Law

Why should Australia enact the Model Law?

Approaches to cross-border insolvency

Underlying approaches to cross-border insolvency

Legal mechanisms

The current Australian framework

Enacting the UNCITRAL Model Law in Australia: Issues for consideration

General approach of the Model Law

Main features of the Model Law

Key issues for possible enactment of the Model Law in Australia

Appendix: UNCITRAL Model Law