ICTA Legal Advisor, Jayantha Fernando, speaking at the 2015 UNCITRAL Asia Pacific Conference
The ICT Agency (ICTA) led efforts to get Sri Lanka ratify the UN Electronic Communications Convention bore fruit, when Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Dr Rohan Perera deposited the Instrument of Ratification in New York recently.
This is sequel to approval from the Cabinet of Ministers obtained in June. The cabinet approval authorized the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deposit the Instrument of Ratification at the UN Treaty Office so as to ensure Sri Lanka’s entry into this only UN Convention
on the subject of international e-Commerce and on the use of cross border e-Contracts.
With its ratification Sri Lanka becomes the first country in South Asia and 2nd country after Singapore to become a State Party to the Convention.
Countries like Australia, Thailand, Vietnam and China are already preparing domestic legislation to ratify this Convention. However, Sri Lanka’s ratification of this important UN Convention was possible because the country already has the required domestic legislation, namely, the Electronic Transactions Act No. 19 of 2006, which is based on this UN Convention. The Convention will enter into force for Sri Lanka on 1 February 2016
ICTA’s Legal Advisor Jayantha Fernando said: “The UN Electronic Communications Convention, also known as the UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, builds on the legal principles contained in other UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996), and makes it more relevant to the Internet era”.
“Sri Lanka’s ratification of this Convention will ensure greater legal certainty for e-Commerce and e-Business providers who wish to use Sri Lankan law as the applicable law and ensure international validity for such e-Contracts. The Convention also ensures legal validity for other international legal instruments as well as cross border funds transfers, enhancing the ability of Sri Lanka to fast track its move towards paperless trade facilitation”, Fernando further noted.
At the 48th Annual Session of UNCITRAL held this week, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Austria and Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna, A. L. Abdul Azeez said: “Sri Lanka has had a long history of supporting the work of UNCITRAL and adopting its legal texts. We ratified the New York Convention in 1962 and in the formulation and enactment of our Arbitration Act (1995), Sri Lanka adopted the features of the ‘UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985)’. In the formulation of our Secured Transactions Act (2009) we have used the features of the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Secured Transactions (2007), becoming one of the first to do so.
“During the early drafting stages of our Electronic Transactions Act No. 19 of 2006, Sri Lanka had the opportunity of sending a delegation to take part in the Sessions of UNCITRAL Working Group on e-Commerce, which negotiated UN Electronic Communications Convention. This delegation consisted of the Legal Draftsperson of Sri Lanka and ICTA’s Legal Advisor. Due to our active participation in these sessions, Sri Lanka greatly benefited from the work of UNCITRAL as well as expertise from the UNCITRAL, to which we are thankful
“Sri Lanka has also benefitted from support extended to us by UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific, based in Incheon, Republic of Korea. In September 2014, Sri Lanka was able to co-host the first ever UNCITRAL South Asia Conference, covering the subjects of ‘Electronic Commerce and Secured Transactions’, thanks to the generous support and leadership of the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and Pacific”, Ambassador concluded.