United Nations Convention – International Effects of Judicial Sales of Ships

The United Nations Convention on the International Effects of Judicial Sales of Ships, known as the Beijing Convention on the Judicial Sale of Ships, was recently signed on June 19th 2024 by five EU member States- Croatia, Cyprus, Italy, Malta, and Spain- following the European Union´s signature on March 14th 2024, increasing the total number to 26 signatories. EU Member States were not able to sign the Convention during its signing ceremony in Beijing as the pertinent EU process had not yet been completed at that time. This process is now complete, and so EU Member States are now able to sign the Convention.

The key rule of the Convention is that a judicial sale conducted in one State Party which has the effect of conferring clean title on the purchaser has the same effect in every State party, and it contains rules establishing how a judicial sale is given effect after completion, with provisions on the requirement that the ship registry deregister the ship or transfer registration at the request of the purchaser and the prohibition on arresting the ship for a claim arising from a pre-existing right or interest. It also confers exclusive jurisdiction on the court of the State of judicial sale to hear a challenge to the judicial sale. The Convention only applies among States Parties.

Such an International instrument establishing harmonized rules on the judicial sale of goods, when becoming into force,  should be extremely useful  , eliminating uncertainty and several practical problems related to the judicial sale of ships.


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