UNIDROIT Principles on Digital Assets and Private Law adopted at the 102nd Session of the Governing Council

On Wednesday, 10 May 2023, the Governing Council adopted the UNIDROIT Principles on Digital Assets and Private Law at its 102nd session in Rome, Italy.


As consistent with the Institute’s established working methodology, the Principles were prepared by a Working Group on Digital Assets and Private Law, which comprised of 15 Members, 22 Observers from international, regional, and non-governmental organisations, and 22 individual Observers. For a full list, click here. The Working Group convened nine meetings between 2020 and 2023. Additionally, the Digital Assets and Private Law Steering Committee, which comprised of representatives of UNIDROIT Member States, was consulted twice as part of the process of preparing the Principles. The Working Group also organised four ad hoc workshops on specific topics to further develop the Principles. Finally, an online public consultation was organised in order to solicit feedback on the Principles. The drafting of the Principles was led by a Drafting Committee, which met twenty-five times between December 2021 and April 2023. For a detailed history of the development of the Principles, click here.


The Principles on Digital Assets and Private Law comprise comprehensive legislative guidance and best practices for issues related to private law in transactions involving digital assets. The Principles provide clear rules for transactions in certain types of digital assets commonly used in commerce, in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs. The Principles are intended to reduce legal uncertainty for those involved in these transactions. The instrument is drafted in a technology, jurisdiction and organisationally neutral manner, and covers all digital assets which are capable of being subject to control, regardless of the technology used. Among other items, the Principles provide guidance on issues related to private international law, control and transfer, custody, secured transactions, procedural law including enforcement, and insolvency.


Following the adoption by the Governing Council, the Secretariat has now commenced the process of preparing the instrument for publication, which is expected to be finalised in the coming months. The Governing Council document which contains the Principles is available here. A full report of the Governing Council session will follow in the next few weeks.

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