The International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) Statute

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Rome, Italy
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 21/04/1940


Institutional Participation

Sub category

International Trade Law



What is it about?

The International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) is an Intergovernmental Organisation based in Rome. Its purpose is to study needs and methods for modernising, harmonising and co-ordinating private law – both civil and commercial – between States and groups of States. UNIDROIT is composed of a Secretariat, a Governing Council and a General Assembly. The Secretariat carries out feasibility studies and preliminary comparative law reports on topics included in the UNIDROIT's Work Programme. Reports are then submitted to the Governing Council that – where appropriate – will ask the Secretariat to convene a study group of governmental experts for the preparation of a preliminary draft Convention or an alternative legal instrument. Draft Conventions are analysed by the Governing Council for approval. Where it judges that a draft Convention reflects a consensus as between the States which have participated in the study committee, the Governing Council calls for a diplomatic Conference for its adoption. The uniform rules drawn up by UNIDROIT have traditionally taken the form of international Conventions, designed to apply to a State’s municipal law upon completion of all the formal requirements of that State’s domestic law for their entry into force. Alternative forms of unification – such as model laws and legal guides – are adopted by UNIDROIT in areas where a binding instrument is not considered to be essential.

Why is it relevant?

By adhering to UNIDROIT, States can participate in the process of drafting and adopting multilateral trade treaties, model laws and legal guides in the field of commercial law. Full participation in UNIDROIT committees of governmental experts is only open to representatives of UNIDROIT member States. Where commercial transactions tend to be transnational by their very nature, harmonised rules and widely accepted legal solutions help international trade. UNIDROIT's basic statutory objective is to prepare modern and harmonised uniform rules of private law. UNIDROIT is mainly concerned with substantive rules of law, in important commercial areas such as the international sale of goods, international contracts, international financial leasing, international factoring, etc.

Additional Information

The Secretariat may invite other States, International Organisations and professional associations to participate in UNIDROIT committees of governmental experts as observers, in light of the subject matter concerned. In addition, UNIDROIT maintains close ties with International Organisations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, which in many cases take the form of co-operation agreements concluded at inter-Secretariat level.



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