Transnationales Kreditsicherungsrecht - 10.1628/003372516X14817241954999 - Mohr Siebeck

Stefan Huber

Transnationales Kreditsicherungsrecht

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Asset-based financing requires a secured transactions law which permits the efficient and swift enforcement of security interests. The interplay between substantive law, procedural law and insolvency law is highly complex even at the purely national level. If the object covered by a security interest moves regularly across national frontiers, an additional issue arises: the cross-border recognition of the security interest. This issue became of particular importance in the era of industrialisation. The intercontinental exchange of goods made high-value vessels indispensable. It is thus not surprising that the first instrument of transnational secured transactions law concerned security interests in vessels. An instrument concerning aircraft followed. Both instruments, adopted in the first half of the 20th century, are based on the idea of recognition by way of harmonising the conflict of laws rules: A security interest duly created under the law of the Contracting State where the vessel or the aircraft is registered is to be recognised by the other Contracting States. Substantive law, procedure and insolvency rules were not yet harmonised, except for the priority between security interests and charges and some minor procedural questions. As a result of this lack of harmonisation, legal uncertainty remained. From the 1970s on, UNIDROIT and UNCITRAL launched projects pursuing a functional approach. The idea was to establish uniform rules in all areas of law where the efficient cross-border enforcement of security interests required transnational harmonisation. The projects have led to international conventions concerning either certain types of transactions, such as financial leasing, or certain types of assets, such as receivables. The biggest success to date has been the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment with its Aircraft Protocol. Both adopted in 2001, they entered into force in 2006. The combination of general rules in an umbrella convention and specific rules for certain categories of objects in additional protocols – there also exist protocols for railway rolling stock and space assets – was an efficient response to the different needs of different business sectors. 64 states and the EU are already party to the Aircraft Protocol and there are even more contracting parties to the Cape Town Convention itself. The economic impact of the instrument has been high. Having established a new international security interest with a uniform set of substantive, procedural and insolvency rules, the instrument considerably reduces the risks for secured creditors. As a result, credit costs are reduced. Savings in the amount of at least $160 billion are expected over a period of 20 years. In addition to the conventions, a new type of instrument has more recently appeared in the area of secured transactions law: soft law in the form of model rules and a legislative guide. These instruments are designed for all categories of movable assets. An analysis of the modern instruments shows that they are based on the following core principles: (1) Non-possessory security interests must be registered in order to be effective against other creditors; (2) the security interest is accessory to the secured obligation; (3) party autonomy is guaranteed within the limits set by third-party interests; (4) states are encouraged to adopt the optional uniform rules on self-help remedies and on interim relief; (5) the registered non-possessory security interest is effective in the event of the debtor's insolvency; and (6) the international character of a transaction is no longer the predominant connecting factor for determining whether the transnational rules apply. This list makes clear that the content of the transnational instruments has achieved new dimensions which were not imaginable in the early days of the harmonisation of secured transactions law. At the same time, the number of transnational instruments

Stefan Huber ist Inhaber des Lehrstuhls für Bürgerliches Recht, Zivilprozess- und Insolvenzrecht, Europäisches und Internationales Privat- und Verfahrensrecht an der Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen.