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Rules of the Conflict of Laws Applicable to Bills and Notes, 1 Minnesota Law Review 10 (1917)


Much uncertainty exists in this country concerning the rules of the Conflict of Laws applicable to Bills and Notes. In England the law on the subject was codified by the Bills of Exchange Act. The Negotiable Instruments Law fails to lay down rules for the Conflict of Laws and thus leaves the matter as it was before. Through the unification of the law of Bills and Notes, which has resulted from the adoption of the Negotiable Instruments Law by practically all of the states of this country, the conflicts that will arise with respect: to such instruments in the future will result, in the main, where the rules of the Negotiable Instruments Law of this country come into collision with those of a foreign nation. Though there are some important differences between the Negotiable Instruments Law and the English Bills of Exchange Act it may be said that there exists, on the whole, quasi-uniformity in the law of Bills and Notes of the English speaking countries. Wide divergencies continue to exist, however, between the Anglo-American system and that of other countries, which is embodied now in the Convention of the Hague, of June, 1912. As the prospect that these differences will disappear in the course of the next half century is quite remote, a study of the rules of Private International Law which should govern where the rules of the Anglo-American system come into conflict with those of the Convention of the Hague is not without practical interest. In view of the many uncertainties in our law a codification of the rules of the Conflict of Laws on the subject would be highly desirable so that a greater uniformity of decision might be obtained in this regard/ Such a codification should be undertaken, if possible, with a full knowledge of the best thought on the subject in other countries. It is the object of the present article to make such a preliminary investigation in the hope that it may throw some light upon the actual problems which _will demand solution in any attempted codification of the Conflict of Laws relating to Bills and Notes. The ends of this article will be subserved best if the comparative study be limited to those continental countries which have given, on the whole, most thought to the study of the subject under consideration. These are, beyond question, France, Germany, and Italy. The discussion of the law of other foreign countries, excepting that of England, would tend to obscure the main issues without adding anything especially new or helpful.

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