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This essay is Part One of a two-part essay series. It outlines and evaluates two possible future international instruments. Each instrument draws substantial inspiration from the Cape Town Convention and its Aircraft Protocol (together, the “Convention”). The Convention governs the secured financing and leasing of large commercial aircraft, aircraft engines, and helicopters. It entered into force in 2006. It has been adopted by sixty Contracting States (fifty-four of which have adopted the Aircraft Protocol), including the U.S., China, the E.U., India, Ireland, Luxembourg, Russia, and South Africa.

A novel, distinctive, and path-breaking feature of the Convention is the international registry for the registration (i.e., public notice) of international interests in aircraft objects. It is a completely electronic, computer-based registry operated out of Ireland. It is operational 24-7. Inspired by the Convention’s international registry, Part One proposes a different sort of international registry—one of general application. This registry would constitute the national registry for each adopting State that would provide public notice of security interests in personal property (movables) created under the State’s domestic substantive law on secured transactions. Part One explores the potential scope and structure of such a registry and its benefits as well as the potential means of creation, implementation, and operation of such a registry. It also examines the feasibility of a project on an international registry of general application. Part One concludes that there is a plausible basis for the feasibility of such a project. It urges interested States and intergovernmental organizations to seriously consider an international registry project and to take preliminary steps toward more formal consideration and discussion.


International secured transactions registry, security interests, property interests, secured credit, public international law, international finance, treaties, securities registration, UNCITRAL Registry Guide, Uniform Commercial Code Article 9, movable property, harmonization, Cape Town Convention, Aircraft Protocol

Publication Title

Virginia Journal of International Law

Publication Citation

55 Va. J. Int'l L. 163 (2014).