This paper aims to analyse the status of the bank’s knowledge and the hardship related to the clear evidence requirement with regard to establish the fraud exception rule in English courts.
Traditional analysis method and critical legal thinking.
To trigger such an exception in England, two conditions, bank’s knowledge and clear evidence, must be met to establish the fraud rule, which will be applied only if it appears in documents. The bank’s knowledge condition, the awareness of the fraud that the bank should have before the payment, is material to determine whether if the fraud rule will trigger in most of the English cases. However, if the bank is not aware of the fraud, they must honour the credit if the documents are compliant, meaning the paying bank is protected if the documents against which it made payment are tainted with fraud, even if it is not aware of the fraud. Moreover, it is not a bank’s responsibility to investigate allegations of fraud. Nonetheless, there are some reservations regarding the bank’s knowledge and clear evidence conditions, as explained above. In short, such an approach does not lead to fairness and justice for the applicant.
English courts focus more on evidence of the fraud rather than making unnecessary distinctions pertinent to the fraud exception scope. The absence of such evidence will not trigger the exception rule. Conversely, injunctions are not easily granted in England where the requirement for heavy evidence and proof of the bank’s knowledge will be obstacles. That is to say, banks are more protected in England simply because the courts want to uphold the integrity of the banking system when affirming the autonomy principle. In a case where the applicant becomes aware of the fraud, there is no other option for the applicant except to ask for an injunction from the court, which is not easy to gain under English courts. In addition, it is unclear how the court will prove that the bank is aware if there is fraud in the presented documents. In addition, the question arises as to whether the same strict standard will be required by both the applicant and the party who notified the fraud.
Aladwan, Z. (2020), "Legal basis for the fraud exception in letters of credit under English Law", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFC-01-2020-0004Download as .RIS
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