The Model Law, adopted in 1996, is intended to facilitate the use of modern means of communications and storage of information, such as electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic mail and telecopy, with or without the use of such support as the Internet. It is based on the establishment of a functional equivalent for paper-based concepts such as "writing", "signature" and "original".
By providing standards by which the legal value of electronic messages can be assessed, the Model Law should play a significant role in enhancing the use of paperless communication. In addition to general norms, the Model Law also contains rules for electronic commerce in specific areas, such as carriage of goods. With a view to assisting executive branches of Governments, legislative bodies and courts in enacting and interpreting the Model Law, the Commission has produced a Guide to Enactment of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce.