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Byrne's Comparison of UCP600 & UCP500 Cited by Courts in England and Hong Kong

Professor James E. Byrne’s The Comparison of UCP600 & UCP500 (2007), has been cited by courts in England and Hong Kong in interpreting the 2007 revision of the Uniform Customs and Practice (UCP600). These rules are the best known instance of self regulation in international commerce. These decisions are significant because they are the first judicial interpretations of the revised rules which became effective on 1 July 2007. As a result, they have attracted considerable attention internationally.

In China New Era International Ltd. v. Bank of China (H.K.) Ltd., [2010] H.K.C. LEXIS 5 HKC 82, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Court of Appeals in a decision by Le Pichon, JJA with which Stone, J. concurred, relied on Professor Byrne’s interpretation of provisions of UCP600 and UCP500 regarding negotiation, quoting extensively from his book. The court agreed with his interpretation of the applicability of the definition of “negotiation” to the rights of a negotiating bank to protection from letter of credit fraud committed by a beneficiary, concluding that the definition in the new rule was not comprehensively drafted.

In Fortis Bank S.A./N.V. v. Indian Overseas Bank, [2010] EWHC 84 (Comm); [2010] All ER (D) 189 (Jan), the Queen’s Bench Division, Hamblen, J., it is noted that Professor Byrne’s treatise is the only study on the rules.

The Comparison was prepared with the assistance of George Mason University School of Law and its Law & Economics Center. Mason Law graduate Lee H. Davis assisted Professor Byrne in the preparation of the book.