UK: The Cape Town Convention And Aircraft Protocol: Ratification By The UK (II)

Last Updated: 8 September 2014
Article by Hannah Rowbotham

In February we reported on the UK government's announcement of its commitment to the ratification of the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol (the "Convention").

The process of implementation continues and on 12 March 2014 the government published draft legislation in order to designate the Convention as an EU Treaty (for the purposes of section 1(2) of the European Communities Act 1972). This act is one more inroad into the constitutional and legal procedures which will need to be completed in order to achieve the implementation of the Convention in the UK.

The next step is for the government to hold a consultation on the various options for implementation, and we understand this is due to be held later this year. Further updates from Fieldfisher shall follow.

In the meantime, the Convention itself continues to evolve with the launch of the International Registry's "Generation II" website.

With the objective of streamlining the registration and search process, the International Registry (the "Registry") has announced two important upgrades to its website.

1 – Multiple Object Registrations

It is now possible to register an international interest over different types of aircraft interest (i.e. qualifying airframes, engines and helicopters) by completing only one entry on the website. Previously multiple separate entries were required, for example one in respect of the airframe of the aircraft and one in respect of each of that aircraft's engines. This is facilitated by the new option on the website which enables a user to group together certain aircraft objects. The same applies to priority search certificates, which means that one certificate can now be requested for a number of aircraft objects at once.

By cutting out the need for repetitive data entries, the benefits of this upgrade are obvious in terms of time and cost efficiencies.

2 – The Closing Room

The aim behind this concept of a virtual closing room (which is due to be launched on the Registry's website imminently) is to provide an electronic space on the website where the transaction parties can set up the registrations to be made at completion in advance and agree their order of priority with the necessary consents, so that at completion one simple instruction is required in order for the registrations to be "released" and effected on the Registry.

It is intended that the closing room will be set up by the law firm co-ordinating the Convention searches on the transaction, and that law firm will be responsible for entering the registration data in the closing room. Once the closing room is established, other parties on the transaction will have access to it (using a specially allocated ID) in order to approve and consent to the proposed registrations and order of priority. The closing room will then be "locked" (and the registration fees settled) ready for completion, when the Registry will wait to be instructed by the co-ordinating party (e.g. the law firm) that the pre-positioned registrations may be entered onto the Registry database. Once entered on to the database, the registrations will be effective and the other transaction parties will be automatically notified.

Provided that the above process is user friendly in practice, this online closing room concept should be highly beneficial to all transaction parties in streamlining the completion process.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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