WORKING GROUP I:

MEDIUM, MICRO AND SMALL ENTERPRISES

The Mandate

 Mandate

The present mandate of Working Group I is to reduce the legal obstacles that confront micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) throughout their lifecycle. To date this work has included:

  • consideration of a best practices in business registration;

  • work towards the development of a new, simplified limited liability organisation suitable for entrepreneurial and innovation enterprises; and

  • liaising with Working Group V to share insights on the nature of MSMEs relevant to the development of an insolvency regime suitable for small scale insolvencies.

 

A number of models and suggestions have been put to the Working Group indicative of the diverse range of approaches currently adopted by the countries actively contributing to the work of this group. Some of these models have been discussed in dedicated Colloquia, including:

Since 2014, the Working Group has produced one key document and accompanying materials:

The future work of the group has been flagged as addressing barriers to access to finance for MSMEs. Difficulties with access to finance were in fact the stimulus for the current mandate of Working Group I. These issues were explored in two colloquia:

Amid UNCITRAL’s work directed at facilitating trade law enabling economic recovery post COVID-19, access to finance for MSMEs has been identified as critical. Consequently, it is high likely that access to finance will become an immediate priority for Working Group I in fulfilling its present mandate:

In the past, the mandate of Working Group I has included:

This page was last updated in September 2020.  

 
 

Registration of MSMEs

Processes reflective of good practice in business registration have been considered extensively by WG I, beginning in 2015. In 2017, the Group discussed the prospect of developing a draft consolidated guide for business registration. Finally, in 2018 the Working Group adopted the text by consensus, before it was endorsed in a resolution of the General Assembly. The final text and accompanying materials are available above. The corresponding UN General Assembly Resolution is available here.

 

A new organisational form for MSMEs

Working Group Group I has been working on legal issues relevant to simplifying of incorporation of MSMEs and unifying the forms which they take. This lengthy process began at the 23rd session (February, 2014). There has been considerable debate as to the form that the text should take. The Working Group’s progress on the text was deliberately slowed by a decision of the Working Group to prioritise finalisation of the Legislative Guide on Key Principles of a Business Registry. The Secretariat initially produced a draft model law around which to focus discussion of the legal issues surrounding simplification of incorporation. The initial draft model law was quite short containing only 39 Articles, but attracted debate as to whether it was still too complex to serve the needs of small simplified entities. The text of the draft model law is here.

The proposed text of the Legislative Guide on the UNLLO was finalised at the 35th Session of the Working Group. At the conclusion of the session, the Working Group reached two agreements of significance. First, the Working Group approved the text of the draft legislative guide on the UNLLO and agreed that the text would be revised by the Secretariat to reflect the deliberations, agreement and decisions of the Working Group in the 35th session and that the text would then be transmitted for finalisation and adoption by the UNCITRAL Commission at its fifty fourth session scheduled for mid-2021. The document number for the final text is to be advised. Secondly, the Working Group agreed to request that the UNCITRAL Commission mandate the Secretariat to draft guidance, with the assistance of experts, to assist member States in the preparation of model organisation rules on the establishment and management of the UNLLO and the rights and obligations of its members that UNLLO members may use where appropriate. The conclusion of this session marked many years of working on the legislative guide for the UNLLO, a process in which LAWASIA’s delegation has been actively involved throughout.

 

Further Information

As with other Working Groups, WG I maintains an online record of its latest work and agendas for forthcoming meetings. The relevant information is available here.

 

Australia's Attendance at Working Group I

The Australian Government does not presently send an official delegation to Working Group I, however past meetings of this working group have been attended by:

  • Tim Castle, Barrister and Immediate Past Chair UNCCA;

  • Diane Chapman, UNCCA Fellow;

  • Dr Anne Matthew, QUT School of Law;

  • Ms Jennifer Anderson, UNCCA Fellow;

  • Ms Ashna Taneja; 

  • Mr James Keir; 

  • Mr Heath Mitchell; 

  • Ms Kaleigh Smith; and

  • Ms Catherine Qu.

Latest UNCCA Reports

Below are the latest UNCCA reports as prepared by attendees at the recent Working Group I sessions: