Remedies to Fraud in Documentary Letters of Credit: A Comparative Perspective / Opravné Opatrenia Pri Podvodoch S Dokumentárnymi Akreditívami: Komparatívna Perspektíva

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Abstract

Article 4 of the Unified Customs and Practices of Documentary Letters of Credit establishes the notion of autonomy principle by separating credit from underlying contract between account party and beneficiary. Article 5 by recognizing the autonomy principle confirms that effectuate the payment under credit, banks only deal with documents and not with goods. As a result, while documentary letters of credit are meant to facilitate the process of international trade, their sole dependency on compliance of presented documents to bank by beneficiary to actualize the payment will increase the risk of fraud and forgery in the course of their operation. Interestingly, UCP (currently UCP600) takes a silent status regarding the problem of fraud in international LC operation and leaves the ground open for national laws to provide remedies to affected parties by fraudulent beneficiary. National Laws have different approaches to the problem of fraud in general and fraud in international LC operation in particular which makes the access of affected parties to possible remedies complicated and difficult. Current paper tries to find answer to the questions of (i) what available remedies are provided to affected parties in international LC fraud by different legal systems? (ii) And what are conditions for benefiting from such remedies under different legal systems? In achieving its objective, paper will be divided in two main parts to study remedies provided by intentional legal frameworks as well as the ones offered by national laws. Part one will study the position of UCP and UNCITRAL Convention on Independent Guarantees and Standby Letters of Credit (UNCITRAL Convention) and remedies, which they provide to LC fraud in international trade. Part two in contrary will study available remedies to LC fraud and condition for access them under English and American legal system.

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