Electronic registries have emerged as a main element of systems that collect, store, disseminate, and establish rights in data or property represented by that data.

The Cape Town Convention sets out a standard, an important international precedent, for the responsibility of registrars of modern electronic registries: there is a defence to liability for errors and omissions if the registry uses ‘best practices in current use in the field of electronic registry design and operation, including those related to back-up and systems security and networking'.

However, the standard of 'best practices' in electronic registries is not defined in the Convention.  Nor is it the subject of agreed international parameters. The e-registry project, which will be inter-disciplinary, will study this topic, seeking to develop or link elements of that standard.  It will be of general interests to all those creating, involved in, or using electronic systems, including in the e-business and e-commerce contexts.

The e-registry project is a joint undertaking between the Commercial Law Centre and the UNIDROIT Foundation.

Professor Jeffrey Wool heads the project. Mr Thomas Traschler, a DPhil candidate at Oxford University, is conducting initial research.

An interview with Rob Cowan, the managing director of the International Registry, explaining the work of the Registry, is available here.

For enquiries about the project, including proposals for involvement in the project, please contact bper@hmc.ox.ac.uk.