20 September 2033 Electronic Trade Documents Act passed into English Law

BSI Advice Note

For all companies that use standard Trade Association contract forms, such as GAFTA & FOSFA, and therefore agree to be bound by English Law and jurisdiction please be aware of the fact that English Law now permits and accepts Electronic Trade Documents.

Simply put, this means that elect trade documents now have the same legal status as “paper” documents. The E-Bill of Lading has arrived.

Traders are no longer limited to presenting paper documents in order to trigger/obtain payment for the Sale of Goods Carried by Sea.

This will lead to a speeding up of the process but does not change the fact that such trading amounts to a “Sale of Documents” (even if those documents can now be transmitted through electronically.

How to identify or establish what qualifies as an “Electronic Document “

1. It must be “identifiable 

2. It must maintain its integrity without unauthorised changes;

3. It must prevent multiple people from controlling it st the same time;

4. It must be uniquely linked to an individual, &

5. It must be fully transferable between Seller and Buyer when passed on as part of the contractual requirements under the Śale Contract.

There can be no doubt that this is a major change in the mechanics of how Traders deal with presenting documents to obtain payment.

This new Act makes the UK the 8th Country to adopt this principles into domestic law.Others will no doubt follow.

You have been warned.


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