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March 10, 2008

Negotiators of U.N. Convention on Shipping to convene at Texas International Law Journal Symposium, March 27–28, 2008

The Texas International Law Journal (TILJ) will bring together a group of United Nations and government officials, academics, and practitioners from around the world on March 27–28, 2008 for an open discussion on issues related to the drafting and ratification of the new “Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea.” The symposium, “Transport Law for the 21st Century: The New UNCITRAL Convention,” will take place in The University of Texas School of Law’s Sheffield Room. Admission is free and open to the public.

Prominent participants at the symposium will include Mary Helen Carlson, deputy assistant legal advisor for private international law at the U.S. State Department and the head of the U.S. delegation on the UNCITRAL Working Group that drafted the convention; Jose Angelo Estrella Faria of UNCITRAL’s International Trade Law Division; and Lizabeth Burrell, the president of the Maritime Law Association of the United States.

Participants at the symposium who were particularly active in the drafting of the proposed new convention include Tomotaka Fujita, the Japanese delegate on the UNCITRAL Working Group; Gertjan van der Ziel, the head of the Dutch delegation; Alexander von Ziegler, a Swiss delegate and the former secretary general of the Comité Maritime International; and Manuel Alba Fernandez, a Spanish delegate. In addition, representatives of the principal affected industries in the United States will provide their perspectives.

Presentations from the conference will provide a rare opportunity for commentary and notes on the articles of the convention from the drafters themselves. Papers published from the conference in November will serve as one of the primary sources for interpreting and explaining the new convention.

In convening this symposium, TILJ worked with University of Texas law professor Michael Sturley, who has been involved with this project for over a decade. He is currently the senior adviser on the U.S. delegation. Professor Sturley said, “I am delighted that the Law School community will have the opportunity to participate in this major symposium.” Editor-in-Chief Wesley Watts added, “It is not everyday you get a chance to hear directly from the people who are creating new international law.”

“The new convention will regulate the rights and responsibilities of the principal participants in international shipping transactions. It will modernize and replace three prior international conventions that are currently in force in various parts of the world,” Sturley said. “The convention currently in force in the United States was completed in 1924—at a time when international shipping was a very different business,” he said.

This symposium will offer five CLE credits. To view the schedule go to:

Related link: Texas International Law Journal

Symposium contacts: Professor Michael Sturley, UT Law, and TILJ Editor-in-Chief Wesley Watts, UT Law, (512) 232-1277.

Media contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or