The UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records Law: Streamlining Monetary Payments and the Transfer of Goods Through E-Commerce

Prof. Henry Deeb Gabriel
Professor of Law – School of Law Elon University – USA


With the enactment of the Bahrain Electronic Transferable Records Law (2018), Bahrain is the first country to enact of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records. The Model Law provides for electronic negotiable instruments, such as cheques and promissory notes, and negotiable documents, such as warehouse receipts and bills of lading. The law sets out the legal framework for businesses and individuals to transfer electronically the rights to money and goods.
I will suggest that other countries should follow Bahrain’s lead and enact similar legislation. My presentation has three sections. First, I will provide a thorough discussion of the major legal principles contained in the Model Law. Second, I will explain how the Model Law fits within the broader context of commercial law as a whole, and third, I will discuss the challenges that an enacting jurisdiction will have in taking the legal framework of the model and implementing an electronic system that can accommodate electronic transferable records.
The Model Law is an important second revolution in commercial practices. The first occurred several hundred years ago with the development of the negotiable instrument, which allows the transfer of money without having to move currency physically, as well as the negotiable document that allows the transfer of the right to goods while the goods are still in the possession of third parties. Traditional negotiable instruments and documents, defined as “transferable records” in the new law, allow for the transfer of the title and rights to goods and money by the transfer of paper that represents the right to the goods or money.

Keywords: Commercial Law, Electronic commerce, Bills of Lading, Warehouse Receipts, Negotiable Instruments.

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