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The Mandate


Security Interests, 2002 - 2018 

Working Group VI commenced its current focus area of security interests in 2002.


From its 1st session in 2002 until its 34th session in 2018, the mandate of Working Group VI was Secured Transactions.  Working Group VI produced the following documents:


  • UNICTRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions


  • Draft Guide to Enactment of the UNICTRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions


  • Draft Practice Guide to the UNCITRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions (for users such as parties to transactions, judges, arbitrators, regulators, insolvency administrators and academics to maximise the benefits of secured transactions law).



Judicial Sale of Ships, 2019 to date 

The current mandate of Working Group VI is the development of an instrument about the “Judicial Sale of Ships” intended to confer clear title to purchasers of ships purchased under judicial sale. 


The draft instrument considered at Working Group VI’s 35th session held on 13 – 17 May 2020 in New York, was a draft convention prepared by the Comité Maritime International (CMI) on the recognition of foreign judicial sales of ships, known as the ‘Beijing Draft” (see (link) A/CN.9/WG.VI/WP.82).  Working Group VI decided the Beijing Draft provide a useful basis for its deliberations about judicial sales of ships.  Working Group VI continued its deliberations at its 36th session in Vienna on 18 – 22 November 2019. 


During the 36th session, Working Group VI decided the instrument ought be a convention rather than a model law.


The proposed 37th session that was due to be held in New York on 20- 24 April 2020 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The tentative dates for the next session are 14 – 18 December 2020 in Vienna.

This page was last updated in April 2021. 

The Mandate
Judicial Sale of Ships

Judicial Sale of Ships

According to the International Chamber of Shipping, the international shipping industry is responsible for the carriage of around 90% of world trade, making it the life blood of the global economy.  There are over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo.  The world fleet is registered in over 150 nations and manned by over one million seafarers of virtually every nationality.[1]   The top 35 flags of registration by tonnage may be viewed at [link].[2] 


The proposed instrument being developed by Working Group VI is intended to provide the maritime industry and ship financiers involved in that global trade uniformity that a ship sold by judicial sale has clear title.


The practical effect sought by the Beijing Draft was that where a prospective purchaser of a ship subject to judicial sale of a ship received clear title:

  1. The prospective financier of the ship could be confident its secured interests would not be undermined by pre-judicial sale creditors;

  2. Would remove the current uncertainties of deregistration of the ship from its flag state and transfer of registered ownership to the prospective purchaser and registration of a financier’s secured interests in the ship;

  3. The ship could call at any port without risk of arrest by a creditor of the ship who pre-dated the judicial sale; and

  4. The purchase price ought not be adversely affected at judicial sale, benefitting pre-judicial sale creditors of the ship seeking distribution of the pool of funds from the sale proceeds.

[1] as at 9 July 2020.

[2] Ibid.

What's next?

The forefront of WG VI's work can be gleaned from its latest reports from its 35th to 37th meetings, which took place in 2019 and 2020. The reports from each of these sessions are available below:

Also helpful is the Agenda for the upcoming meetings:

The 38th session will occur in New York from 19 to 23 April 2021.  There will not be any physical attendance in New York.  Delegates and observers will attend by an online platform or in person at Vienna.  The Secretariat will attend in person in Vienna. 

What's Next?

UNCCA Resources

36th Session

The 36th session of Working Group VI was held in Vienna in November 2019.  Attached is the report for the 36th session from UNCCA’s Working Group VI  Chair, Margo Harris, who was the lead delegate for LAW ASIA, with observer status with UNICTRAL.

Attached is:

  • the report for the 36th session from UNCCA’s Working Group VI  Chair, Margo Harris who was the lead delegate for LAW ASIA, with observer status with UNICTRAL;

  • CMI’s written notes in respect of the 2nd revised Beijing Draft circulated to LAW ASIA and others in advance of the 36th session.

37th Session
36th Session

The 38th session of Working Group VI was held in April 2021.

Attached is:

Gathered Reports
UNCCA Resources
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