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Law Commission proposal on electronic trade documents: a significant demonstration of their approach to new technology and a new era for trade finance

May 25, 2022

The Law Commission’s Report and draft Bill on Electronic Trade Documents is the first piece of proposed legislation arising out of their recent focus on new technologies and gives a significant hint as to the outcome of other consultations, particularly that on cryptoassets. The Law Commission proposes a single far-reaching change – decreeing that several types of electronic trade document may be ‘possessed’ – and accompanies this with a number of subtle accommodations that demonstrate their understanding of the power of the English common law to assimilate new concepts. If this influences other jurisdictions to adopt a consistent approach, it could transform international trade finance documentation. Norton Rose Fulbright LLP was one of only three law firms that submitted a complete response to the consultation that led to this proposal.

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