§ 5-101. Short title
West's Annotated Code of MarylandCommercial Law
MD Code, Commercial Law, § 5-101
§ 5-101. Short title
This title may be cited as the Maryland Uniform Commercial Code - Letters of Credit.
Added by Acts 1997, c. 652, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 1997.
UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE COMMENT
The Official Comment to the original Section 5-101 was a remarkably brief inaugural address. Noting that letters of credit had not been the subject of statutory enactment and that the law concerning them had been developed in the cases, the Comment stated that Article 5 was intended “within its limited scope” to set an independent theoretical frame for the further development of letters of credit. That statement addressed accurately conditions as they existed when the statement was made, nearly half a century ago. Since Article 5 was originally drafted, the use of letters of credit has expanded and developed, and the case law concerning these developments is, in some respects, discordant.
Revision of Article 5 therefore has required reappraisal both of the statutory goals and of the extent to which particular statutory provisions further or adversely affect achievement of those goals.
The statutory goal of Article 5 was originally stated to be: (1) to set a substantive theoretical frame that describes the function and legal nature of letters of credit; and (2) to preserve procedural flexibility in order to accommodate further development of the efficient use of letters of credit. A letter of credit is an idiosyncratic form of undertaking that supports performance of an obligation incurred in a separate financial, mercantile, or other transaction or arrangement. The objectives of the original and revised Article 5 are best achieved (1) by defining the peculiar characteristics of a letter of credit that distinguish it and the legal consequences of its use from other forms of assurance such as secondary guarantees, performance bonds, and insurance policies, and from ordinary contracts, fiduciary engagements, and escrow arrangements; and (2) by preserving flexibility through variation by agreement in order to respond to and accommodate developments in custom and usage that are not inconsistent with the essential definitions and substantive mandates of the statute. No statute can, however, prescribe the manner in which such substantive rights and duties are to be enforced or imposed without risking stultification of wholesome developments in the letter of credit mechanism. Letter of credit law should remain responsive to commercial reality and in particular to the customs and expectations of the international banking and mercantile community. Courts should read the terms of this article in a manner consistent with these customs and expectations.
The subject matter in Article 5, letters of credit, may also be governed by an international convention that is now being drafted by UNCITRAL, the draft Convention on Independent Guarantees and Standby Letters of Credit. The Uniform Customs and Practice is an international body of trade practice that is commonly adopted by international and domestic letters of credit and as such is the “law of the transaction” by agreement of the parties. Article 5 is consistent with and was influenced by the rules in the existing version of the UCP. In addition to the UCP and the international convention, other bodies of law apply to letters of credit. For example, the federal bankruptcy law applies to letters of credit with respect to applicants and beneficiaries that are in bankruptcy; regulations of the Federal Reserve Board and the Comptroller of the Currency lay out requirements for banks that issue letters of credit and describe how letters of credit are to be treated for calculating asset risk and for the purpose of loan limitations. In addition there is an array of anti-boycott and other similar laws that may affect the issuance and performance of letters of credit. All of these laws are beyond the scope of Article 5, but in certain circumstances they will override Article 5.
HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES
Acts 1997, c. 652, §§ 3 and 4, provide:
“SECTION 3. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act applies to a letter of credit that is issued on or after the effective date of this Act. This Act does not apply to a transaction, event, obligation, or duty arising out of or associated with a letter of credit that was issued before the effective date of this Act.
“SECTION 4. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That a transaction arising out of or associated with a letter of credit that was issued before the effective date of this Act and the rights, obligations, and interests flowing from that transaction are governed by any statute or other law amended or repealed by this Act as if repeal or amendment had not occurred and may be terminated, completed, consummated, or enforced under that statute or other law.”
MD Code, Commercial Law, § 5-101, MD COML § 5-101
Current through legislation effective May 13, 2019, from the 2019 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
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