UNIDROIT (formally, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law; French: Institut international pour l'unification du droit privé) is an intergovernmental organization whose objective is to harmonize international private law across countries through uniform rules, international conventions, and the production of model laws, sets of principles, guides and guidelines. Established in 1926 as part of the League of Nations, it was reestablished in 1940 following the League's dissolution through a multilateral agreement, the UNIDROIT Statute. As at 2019 UNIDROIT has 63 member states.

The seat of UNIDROIT is in Rome.

UNIDROIT has prepared multiple conventions (treaties), but has also developed soft law instruments. An example are the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts. Distinctly different from the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) adopted by UNCITRAL, the UNIDROIT Principles do not apply as a matter of law, but only when chosen by the parties as their contractual regime.


The seat of UNIDROIT is in Rome, Italy, between via Nazionale and via Panisperna, occupying the Villa Aldobrandini, a 17th-century princely villa that borders the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum, to the south.


States become members through acceding to its statute. The 63 members are:

Member country Year of joining
  Argentina 1972
  Australia 1973
  Austria 1948
  Belgium 1940
  Bolivia 1940
  Brazil 1940
  Bulgaria 1940
  Canada 1968
  Chile 1951
  China 1986
  Colombia 1940
  Croatia 1996
  Cuba 1940
  Cyprus 1999
  Czech Republic 1993
  Denmark 1940
  Egypt 1951
  Estonia 2001
  Finland 1940
  France 1948
  Germany 1940
  Greece 1940
   Holy See 1945
  Hungary 1940
  India 1950
  Indonesia 2009
  Iran 1951
  Iraq 1973
  Ireland 1940
  Israel 1954
  Italy 1940
  Japan 1954
  Latvia 2006
  Lithuania 2007
  Luxembourg 1951
  Malta 1970
  Mexico 1940
  Netherlands 1940
  Nicaragua 1940
  Nigeria 1964
  Norway 1951
  Pakistan 1964
  Paraguay 1940
  Poland 1979
  Portugal 1949
  South Korea 1981
  Serbia (joined as   Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) 2001
  Romania 1940
  Russia (joined as   Soviet Union) 1990
  San Marino 1945
  Saudi Arabia 2009
  Slovakia 1993
  Slovenia 1995
  South Africa 1971
  Spain 1940
  Sweden 1940
   Switzerland 1940
  Tunisia 1980
  Turkey 1950
  United Kingdom 1948
  United States 1964
  Uruguay 1940
  Venezuela 1940

Ecuador was a member State of UNIDROIT from 1940 to 1964; Lebanon was a member State of UNIDROIT from 1958 to 1964 and Senegal was a member State from 1991 to 1997. Countries which have ceased to exist are former member states: Czechoslovakia, East Germany, United Arab Republic, and Yugoslavia.


Unidroit has over the years prepared the following international Conventions, drawn up by Unidroit and adopted by diplomatic Conferences convened by member States of Unidroit:[1]

UNIDROIT is depositary of two of its conventions: the Cape Town Convention (including its three protocols) as well as the Geneva Securities Convention.

For many years UNIDROIT prepared the background studies for international conventions that were subsequently finalized by other international organisations. To be noted among these, are the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR), finalized by the UN Economic Commission for Europe in 1956, and the United Nations Convention on the Liability of Operators of Transport Terminals in International Trade finalized by UNCITRAL in 1991.

In addition, UNIDROIT has adopted the 2002 Model Franchise Disclosure Law; the 2008 Model Law on Leasing; and the 2011 Model Provisions on State Ownership of Undiscovered Cultural Objects (in co-operation with UNESCO); and published the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (1994, 2004, 2010 and 2016); the Model Clauses for Use by Parties of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (2013); the ALI / UNIDROIT Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure (in co-operation with the American Law Institute) (2004); the Principles on the Operation of Close-Out Netting Provisions (2013); the Guide to International Master Franchise Arrangements (1998, second edition 2007), and the UNIDROIT/FAO/IFAD Legal Guide on Contract Farming (2015).


  1. ^ "UNIDROIT Conventions". UNIDROIT. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2012.

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