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Book Review: Legal Aspects of Commercial Letters of Credit, 79 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1000 (1931)


Any work relating to commercial letters of credit naturally brings to mind the pioneer articles by McCurdy, Hershey, and Mead. Their excellence sets no mean standard for subsequent writers upon this general subject. In two hundred ninety-five pages Mr. Finkelstein has covered the general field of his predecessors, added detail, and given consideration to some additional topics. Indeed, one may doubt if any question relating to bank letters of credit which had received judicial consideration before his manuscript was closed, escaped the author's attention. An introductory historical résumé of the development of letters of credit is followed by a summary of the classes of instruments of bank and commercial credit and the relationship to these of a modern bank letter of credit. Promises to accept or to pay drafts are reviewed at length in connection with a consideration of the enforcement remedies upon a letter. Relations of the several parties to a letter, including the position of correspondent and requesting banks and purchasers of drafts, are particularized and compared. Conditions in letters, both those which call for documents and those which do not, are reviewed generally and also specially as to the requirement of the conformity of documents with the letter and as to the effect of forged and fraudulent documents. Damages for breach are treated in a special chapter. In the final chapter the author reviews the several legal theories which stand in the legal background of these transactions.

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