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Convention

LegaCarta generally uses the term convention. There are several other words having the same meaning: treaty, convention, agreement and protocol are often interchangeable. According to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (article 2.1.a) a treaty or a convention means “an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation”.

LegaCarta deals exclusively with multilateral conventions. Bilateral and regional agreements are excluded from its scope. In general, the work of regional institutions is not covered by LegaCarta, with the exception of some important conventions, signed under the auspices of regional bodies, that are open to all countries for ratification or accession.

Date of entry

into force

The date of entry into force is the date at which the contracting States are bound by the provisions of a convention.

Date of ratification

Generally the act of ratification is required for States to be bound by a convention. “Ratification, acceptance, approval and accession mean in each case the international act so named whereby a State establishes on the international plane its consent to be bound by a convention” (Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, article 2.1.b).

For each convention, LegaCarta provides lists of ratifying countries, updated at least twice a year. Two lists are available: one in alphabetical order, the other in chronological order. Although international organisations are sometimes party to multilateral conventions, LegaCarta only provides the list of ratifying States.

Date of signature

The date of signature refers to the date of adoption of a convention. LegaCarta does not provide the dates at which individual States have signed the adopted text. Such information, of less practical value, can be obtained from the depositary of each convention.

Depositary

The depository is the convention’s custodian (one or more States, an international organisation or the chief administrative officer of the organization), which receives from each State the deposit of instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Model Law

A model law is a template intended for national lawmakers that can be used as a pattern for domestic legislation.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the main provider of model trade laws. UNCITRAL model laws are generally accompanied by guides for their incorporation into national law.

When available (for example for most of UNCITRAL’s model laws) LegaCarta provides the list of countries having incorporated a specific model law into their national legislation.

Model laws listed in LegaCarta are identified by brackets […]

Multilateral Trade Rules (MTRs)

A model law is a template intended for national lawmakers that can be used as a pattern for domestic

The term “multilateral trade rules” refers first of all to conventions (treaties) open to all States for ratification, approval or accession. The term multilateral trade rules also refers to some more flexible international legal instruments such as model laws and trade usages. Finally, under this heading and for technical assistance purposes, an “institutional participation” component is included as an indicator of the involvement of a State or its national business community in the work of institutions that define international trade rules.

Model laws listed in LegaCarta are identified by brackets […]

Relevance of Multilateral Trade Rules

A model law is a template intended for national lawmakers that can be used as a pattern for domestic

The term “multilateral trade rules” refers first of all to conventions (treaties) open to all States for ratification, approval or accession. The term multilateral trade rules also refers to some more flexible international legal instruments such as model laws and trade usages. Finally, under this heading and for technical assistance purposes, an “institutional participation” component is included as an indicator of the involvement of a State or its national business community in the work of institutions that define international trade rules.

Model laws listed in LegaCarta are identified by brackets […]

Reservations

LegaCarta does not contain any information on reservations that have been made by the ratifying States. Interested users are invited to refer to the depositary of a given convention for details on any reservation made.

Trade usages and practices

Codified trade usages are included in LegaCarta because of their practical impact on trade. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Incoterms and the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts are examples of internationally accepted trade usages. LegaCarta does not provide any list of countries where trade usages are used. Trade usages are not taken into account in the calculation of the average rate of ratification of multilateral trade instruments in a given country. Trade usages listed in LegaCarta are identified by brackets […]