Cape Town Treaty

The Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, or Cape Town Treaty is an international treaty intended to standardize transactions involving movable property. The treaty creates international standards for registration of contracts of sale (including dedicated registration agencies), security interests (liens), leases and conditional sales contracts, and various legal remedies for default in financing agreements, including repossession and the effect of particular states' bankruptcy laws.

Cape Town Treaty
  Parties, also covered by EU's accession
  Signatories, also covered by EU's accession
  covered by EU's accession
Signed16 November 2001
LocationCape Town, South Africa
Effective1 March 2006
Condition3 ratifications
DepositaryInternational Institute for the Unification of Private Law
Citations2307 U.N.T.S. 285
LanguagesEnglish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish
Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment at Wikisource

Three protocols to the convention are specific to three types of movable equipment: Aircraft Equipment (aircraft and aircraft engines; signed in 2001), railway rolling stock (signed in 2007) and space assets (signed in 2012). The aircraft Protocol entered into force in 2006, while the others are not in effect.

The treaty resulted from a diplomatic conference held in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001. The conference was attended by 68 countries and 14 international organizations. 53 countries signed the resolution proposing the treaty.[1] The treaty came into force on 1 April 2004,[2] and has been ratified by 57 parties. The Aircraft Protocol (which applies specifically to aircraft and aircraft engines) took effect on 1 March 2006 when it was ratified by 8 countries: Ethiopia, Ireland, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Pakistan, and the United States.

Signatures and ratifications

As of 2018, the convention has been ratified by 77 states as well as the European Union. The railway rolling stock and the space protocols have been ratified by respectively three countries (Gabon, Luxembourg and Sweden), as well as the European Union, and no countries and thus have not taken effect. An overview of the status of the treaty and protocols is shown below:

InstrumentSignatureLocationEntry into forceSignaturesRatifications
(required for entry into force)
Convention16 November 2001Cape Town1 March 20062878 (3)
Aircraft Protocol16 November 2001Cape Town1 March 20062374 (8)
Railway Rolling Stock Protocol23 February 2007Luxembourg-83 (4)
Space Assets Protocol9 March 2012Berlin-40 (10)

European Union

The European Union joined the convention and the Aircraft Protocol as a Regional Economic Integration Organization. On the subject of the convention, both the Member states of the European Union and the Union itself have competence: e.g. while the substantive law regarding insolvency is regulated by the states, the conflict of law-rules (which county has jurisdiction etc.) is regulated by the European Union. According to the Government of the Netherlands the acceptance of the European Union in a member state which itself is not a party to the convention has no practical consequences.[3] The European Union ratified the Luxembourg Rail protocol in December 2014 as a Regional Economic Integration Organization on the same basis.


Aircraft Protocol

The aircraft Protocol (officially: Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on matters specific to aircraft equipment) was signed immediately with the treaty and the only protocol currently entered into force. It applies to aircraft which can carry at least eight people or 2750 kilograms of cargo, aircraft engines with thrust exceeding 1,750 pounds-force (7,800 N) or 550 horsepower (410 kW), and helicopters carrying five or more passengers. The International Registry of Mobile Assets established to record international property interests in the aircraft equipment covered by the treaty is located in Ireland. Mediation cases for leasing disputes are to be heard in the High Court of Ireland.[4] As of 2018, the protocol has 73 contracting parties, which includes 72 states and the European Union.

StateDate of Ratification/
 Afghanistan25 July 2006
 Albania30 October 2007
 Angola30 April 2006
 Argentina10 January 2018
 Australia26 May 2015
 Bahrain27 November 2012
 Bangladesh15 December 2008
 Belarus27 September 2011
 Bhutan4 July 2014
 Brazil30 November 2011
 Burkina Faso8 September 2017
 Cameroon14 April 2011
 Canada21 December 2012New Brunswick: effective 1 July 2016
Yukon: effective 1 October 2014
others: 1 April 2013
 Cape Verde26 September 2007
 China3 February 2009Excluding
 Hong Kong
 Colombia19 February 2007
 Congo13 March 2013
 Democratic Republic of Congo6 May 2016
 Costa Rica8 August 2018
 Côte d'Ivoire1 March 2016
 Cuba28 January 2009
 Denmark26 October 2015
 Egypt10 December 2014
 Ethiopia21 November 2003
 European Union28 April 2009Only as far as it has competency
over subjects of the convention/protocol.
Not applicable to Denmark
 Fiji30 May 2012
 Gabon4 April 2017
 India31 March 2008
 Indonesia16 March 2007
 Ireland23 August 2005
 Jordan31 August 2010
 Kazakhstan1 June 2011
 Kenya13 October 2006
 Kuwait31 October 2013
 Latvia8 February 2011
 Luxembourg27 June 2008
 Madagascar15 December 2008
 Malawi10 April 2013
 Malaysia16 January 2014
 Malta1 October 2010
 Mexico31 July 2007
 Mongolia19 October 2006
 Mozambique18 July 2013
 Myanmar3 December 2012
 Namibia23 July 2018
 Kingdom of the Netherlands17 May 2010Not European Netherlands
Only for  Aruba
 Sint Maarten
 Caribbean Netherlands
 New Zealand20 July 2010
 Nigeria16 December 2003
 Norway20 December 2010
 Oman21 March 2005
 Pakistan22 January 2004
 Panama28 July 2003
 Romania30 March 2018
 Russia25 May 2011
 Rwanda28 January 2010
 San Marino9 September 2014
 Saudi Arabia27 June 2008
 Senegal9 January 2006
 Sierra Leone26 July 2016
 Singapore28 January 2009
 South Africa18 January 2007
 Spain27 November 2015
 Swaziland17 November 2016
 Sweden30 December 2015
 Tajikistan31 May 2011
 Tanzania30 January 2009
 Togo1 December 2011
 Turkey23 August 2011
 Ukraine31 July 2012
 United Arab Emirates29 April 2008
 United Kingdom27 July 2015Extended to Cayman Islands, Gibraltar and Guernsey (2015), and the Isle of Man and Bermuda (2017)
 United States28 October 2004
 Uzbekistan31 January 2018
 Vietnam17 September 2014

Railway Rolling Stock

The Railway Rolling Stock Protocol, or Luxembourg Rail Protocol, officially the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Railway Rolling Stock was adopted on 23 February 2007 at a diplomatic conference in Luxembourg and applies to railway rolling stock (broadly defined as "vehicles movable on a fixed railway track or directly on, above or below a guideway").

The protocol establishes an international registry located in Luxembourg at which all international interests under the protocol will be registrable. The registry will also issue unique identifiers for rolling stock on request. Regulis S.A., a subsidiary of SITA, was appointed in November 2014 to act as Registrar. The protocol requires ratification by 4 countries, together with a certification by the secretariat to the Supervisory Authority that the registry is fully operational, in order to enter into force. Currently it has been signed by France, Gabon, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Mozambique, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK as well as the European Union, while it has been ratified by the European Union and 3 states: Gabon, Luxembourg and Sweden.

Space Assets

The Space Assets protocol, or Berlin Space Protocol[5] (officially Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Space Assets) was concluded on 9 March 2012 and requires 10 ratifications before entry into force.[6] The protocol applies to objects functioning in space like satellites or satellite parts.[7] The convention was strongly opposed by the satellite industry, claiming that it would lead to increased bureaucracy and "make the financing of new satellite projects more difficult and expensive".[8] The convention has been signed by 4 countries (Burkina Faso, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe) , but no country has ratified it.

Mining, Agricultural, and Construction (MAC) Equipment

As of 2018, a fourth protocol to the convention was being developed to extend the convention's framework to mining, agricultural, and construction (MAC) equipment. A diplomatic conference to adopt the MAC protocol is expected in 2019.[9]


  1. "Diplomatic Conference to adopt a Mobile Equipment Convention and an Aircraft Protocol, Cape Town, South Africa, 29 October - 16 November 2001". International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT). Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2006.
  2. "The Cape Town Treaty and Markup". U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Aviation. 29 April 2004. Archived from the original on 20 November 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2006.
  3. "32 227 (R 1904) Verdrag inzake internationale zakelijke rechten op mobiel materieel en Protocol bij het Verdrag inzake internationale zakelijke rechten op mobiel materieel betreffende voor luchtvaartmaterieel specifieke aangelegenheden; Kaapstad, 16 november 2001". Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch). 27 November 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  4. "Aircraft leasing disputes to be heard in Dublin". Sunday Business Post. 11 May 2008.
  5. "Pressemitteilung: Berliner Weltraumprotokoll verabschiedet". Ministry of Justice (Germany) (Press release) (in German). 9 March 2012. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  6. "text of the draft Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Space Assets" (PDF). UNIDROIT. June 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  7. "Draft Final Provisions capable of embodiment in the draft Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Space Assets, with Explanatory Notes" (PDF). UNIDROIT. June 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  8. "Global Satellite Industry denounces UNIDROIT Protocol". Satellite Industry Association (Press release). 9 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
Aircraft Protocol
Luxembourg Rail Protocol
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