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Friday, 16 October 2020

9th Annual Cape Town Convention Academic Conference Held in Rome & ZoomThe Cape Town Convention Academic Project is a joint undertaking between the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, under the auspices of the 3CL and UNIDROIT. Its ninth annual conference, which was due to take place in Cambridge for the first time, instead took place at the UNIDROIT Headquarters in Rome on 10 - 11 September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was held in a hybrid format, with 16 participants present and over 400 registered remote participants. Despite this format, the conference retained its usual high standard of presentation and debate and addressed many very topical issues.

This year’s conference was opened by UNIDROIT’s newly elected President, Professor Maria Chiara Malaguti, followed by the Directors of the Cape Town Academic Project, Ignacio Tirado (UNIDROIT), Louise Gullifer (University of Cambridge), and Jeffrey Wool (Aviation Working Group and Harris Manchester College, Oxford). Among other themes, the Conference sought to address how the Cape Town Convention system was operating in the current COVID-19 crisis.

In the first session, Professor Ignacio Tirado (UNIDROIT) addressed the interaction between the EU insolvency system and the Cape Town Convention, followed by a comment from Dr Felix Steffek (University of Cambridge). The second session focused on the UK Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act and its application to Cape Town creditors. In particular, the speakers discussed whether schemes of arrangement, and the new restructuring plan introduced by that Act fell within the definition of ‘insolvency proceedings’ in Article 1(l) of the Cape Town Convention. The speakers were Kenneth Gray and Mark Craggs of Norton Rose Fulbright) and the commentators were Professor Louise Gullifer (University of Cambridge) and Professor Edward Janger (Brooklyn Law School).

9th Annual Cape Town Convention Academic Conference Held in Rome & ZoomIn the third session, Jeffrey Wool (Aviation Working Group and Harris Manchester College, Oxford) and Miguel Ruelas (Abogados Sierra) gave a presentation on judicial breach of the Cape Town Convention, which was commented on by Dr Rumiana Yotova (University of Cambridge). Finally, Baris Mesci (Istanbul Kültür University) delivered a presentation on the issue of applicable law in the Cape Town Convention and its Aircraft Protocol.

The second day began with a panel on compliance with the Cape Town Convention in the context of COVID-19 and an update on the newly-developed Cape Town Convention Compliance Index, introduced by Jeffrey Wool and Jasmine Jin (Blake, Cassels, & Graydon, Toronto) with Professor Ignacio Tirado (UNIDROIT) as commentator. This was followed by a presentation by Peter Watson (Allen & Overy) on the proposed judicial guide to the Cape Town Convention, and a panel discussing the challenges involved in the establishment of the International Registry for international interests in mining, agricultural and construction equipment as a result of the recently adopted Pretoria Protocol. Members of the panel were fRob Cowan (Aviareto), Ole Böger (Ministry of Justice, Germany), Marek Dubovec (NatLaw), Gavin McCosker (Australian Financial Security Authority).

All the sessions included discussion with the remote audience, which was, as usual with this annual event, comprised of a mixture of policy makers, regulators, academics and students, practising lawyers and other involved in the financing of equipment.

9th Annual Cape Town Convention Academic Conference Held in Rome & ZoomA summary report of the Conference will be released in the coming weeks.

The Conference was kindly sponsored by RNC Legal, Sierra, Blakes, Holland & Knight, and Clifford Chance.

In the same week, workshops were held at UNIDROIT and in Rome for two of the Academic Project’s special projects: the project on Economic Assessment of International Commercial Law Reform and that on Best Practice in the Field of Electronic Registry Design and Operation. Each of these workshops moved the work of the projects forward, with a view to publishing principles and guidance in these fields. For more details see the UNIDROIT reports on the 4th workshop and 6th workshop.