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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Queen Mary Professor investigates ways to make cross-border trade paperless

Professor Miriam Goldby was seconded to the Law Commission on a part-time basis starting November 2020 to work on their Digital Assets project.

Lots of red, blue and yellow shipping containers arranged on a dock

The project is in two parts, with the first part focussing on proposing reforms designed to enable documents of title and negotiable instruments to be used in digital form. Enabling their digitalisation will increase the efficiency with which cross-border sale and trade finance agreements may be performed, and the speed at which goods may be processed across borders. It could also lead to a dramatic reduction in logistics costs because processing paper transport documents costs three times as much as processing them in electronic form.

Professor Goldby is an expert in the law relating to cross-border seaborne trade and author of the most comprehensive book on the subject, Electronic Documents in Maritime Trade: Law and Practice, the second edition of which was published last year by Oxford University Press. She also participated in the drafting of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records adopted in 2017. She will be contributing to the drafting of a consultation paper due to be published by the Law Commission in the spring of 2021. This is the first step towards reforming English law.

Find out more about the Law Commission’s Digital Assets Project.

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