The Mandate

Working Group V has considered and adopted issues and reform relating to international insolvency law since 1995. During this time, the Working Group has produced several core documents relating to international insolvency, including the following:

Aside from insolvency law, the mandate of Working Group V has previously also included:

Micro and Small Enterprises Insolvency

Since 2013, WG V has considered the efficacy of the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law in catering to the needs of micro-small-medium enterprises (MSMEs). In many jurisdictions, these comprise over 90% of business enterprises. In 2014, the WG determined that while the issues which MSMEs face in insolvency were not particular, solutions could be developed to address those issues on the basis of existing insolvency principles and guidance contained in the Legislative Guide. In particular, the Group clarified in 2016 that simplified mechanisms could be developed for MSMEs, with a particular focus on flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and expediency. 

In 2019, at its 56th session, the Working Group considered a draft paper setting out a simplified regime for MSMEs in insolvency. Suggested changes were noted for consideration at the Group's next session, with particular divergence arising on the issues of whether an independent party should be incorporated into the proposed procedure, and the appropriate definition for 'competent authority' as found in the document.

Following the postponement of the WGV session scheduled for May 2020 in New York because of the COVID-19 pandemic, off-line discussions of interested members of WGV proceeded with a view to settling the draft paper. These continued at an on-line meeting in Vienna from 7-10 December 2020 which was attended by Assistant Professor Casey Watters and Mr Matyas Szuk of UNCCA on behalf of LAWASIA.  The draft paper is expected to be further discussed at the next session in May 2021. This has become the more important given the significant economic impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs in all member states, including Australia.


Civil Asset Tracing, and Applicable Law

Civil asset tracing and recovery, and the applicable law in insolvency proceedings, are two other projects for WGV, whose sessions in May 2020 in New York were also postponed because of COVID-19. The Colloquium on Applicable Law in Insolvency Proceedings was held in Vienna on 11 December 2020.


Next Working Group V Session

The next session of WGV is to be held from 4-7 May 2021 in Vienna. 

Further Information

As with other Working Groups, WG V maintains an online record of its latest work and agendas for forthcoming meetings and colloquia. The relevant information is available at Working Group V: Insolvency Law | United Nations Commission On International Trade Law

This page was last updated in March 2021. 



In 2019, UNCCA held its annual UN Day Lectures on the topic "25 Years of Cross-Border Insolvency Law Reform". Both the Lectures and Commentary were presented by experts in the field of insolvency law.

Below you can find some of the materials which were presented at the event last year.

The Lectures

"The past, present and future of UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross Border Insolvency and Australia’s participation"

By Professor Christopher Symes, University of Adelaide

UNCITRAL Resources, CBI Instruments, and Theory

By Adjunct Professor Rosalind Mason, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

The Comity vs. CBI Framework Approaches: UNCITRAL Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

By Adjunct Professor Michael Murray, QUT

Risk and Cost Reduction in Insolvency: UNCITRAL's Cross Border Framework

By Tim D. Castle, 6 St. James Chambers

Necessary Imperfections in Cross-Border Insolvency Law: Recent Case Law and Correction Attempts

By Stewart Maiden QC, Owen Dixon Chambers West

The Commentary

The Model Law: Salient Features in Practice

By Scott Butler, McCullough Robertson

Insolvency in Tasmania: Relevance for Industry and Global Insolvencies

By Paul Cook, Former President of ARITA

Balancing the CBI Framework Domestically: Maritime Stays and Claims

By Dr. Neil Hannan, Thomson Geer

All documents open as PDF files in a new tab


Titles have been assigned to those resources which did not already have one. 


The Future

Given the particular relevance of insolvency law in dealing with the economic impact of the pandemic, and the uncertainty as to its resolution, the future work required of Working Group V may be unpredictable. Sessions are tentatively set for May 2021.

This section will be updated as necessary in light of further progress or announcements about Working Group V.