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This unique illustrated guide explains how to avoid disputes and problems arising from the use of letters of indemnity. The law expects that the documentary aspects of international sale transactions will comply with long-established principles and standards.
However, those engaged in international trade may find those principles and standards difficult to achieve in every transaction, and look to letters of indemnity instead. Rightly or wrongly, letters of indemnity are in widespread use in international trade and shipping in conjunction with, and sometimes in substitution for, bills of lading.
This guide – which starts with a health warning – provides commentary on the common types of letter of indemnity, the reasons they are used, the pitfalls and risks, and some of the legal and insurance issues which arise out of their use. It is designed to be used in conjunction with Bills of Lading – A Guide to Good Practice, also by Stephen Mills.
The guide works on various levels, with a practical guidance section supplemented by a detailed analysis section and footnotes to show the legal foundation of the advice given. This second edition has been fully reviewed and updated.
Loss prevention and letters of indemnity
How to use this guide
How to use this section
The letter of indemnity – a quick guide to its role and its problems
Agreement to take letters of indemnity in specific circumstances Traders – specific problems for sellers and buyers
Seller’s letters of indemnity
Taking a letter of indemnity – a checklist
The legal nature of letters of indemnity
Unenforceable letters of indemnity – illegality
Enforceable letters of indemnity
Making the letter of indemnity work
Alternatives to letters of indemnity
ANATOMY OF A LETTER OF INDEMNITY
P&I club circulars on standard letters of indemnity
Standard letters of indemnity
In 1998 The North of England P&I Association published a loss prevention guide to bills of lading entitled Bills of Lading – A Guide to Good Practice by Stephen Mills. The second edition was published in 2005 and the third edition in 2014.
The aim of the guide is to assist ship’s officers, operators and managers, as well as those advising them, on the problems and practical issues surrounding the everyday use of bills of lading and also to identify the legal principles and standards against which the use of that document would be judged.
However, the cry of many involved in international trade is that the ‘real world’ is a different place. Whereas the law expects that the documentary aspects of international sale transactions will comply with long-established principles and standards, those engaged in international trade may sometimes find those principles and standards difficult, if not impossible, to apply or achieve in each and every transaction. In their hour of need they often look to letters of indemnity.
In recognition of the widespread use of letters of indemnity in international trade and shipping in conjunction with, and sometimes in substitution for, bills of lading, an accompanying guide to Bills of Lading – A Guide to Good Practice, was published in 2008. This provided commentary on the common types of letter of indemnity, the reasons they are used, the pitfalls, and risks, and some of the legal and insurance issues which arise out of their use. This is the second edition of that guide, having been fully reviewed and updated for 2017. In the interests of mutuality, the P&I clubs need to work to the same principles and standards as the law applies to the use of bills of lading. The publication of this guide by The North of England P&I Association is not intended to condone or ratify the use of letters of indemnity, or to suggest that they, or their continued use, will be viewed with any greater enthusiasm in the future by the P&I clubs than is currently the case. Using letters of indemnity may give rise to risks which are uninsured and / or uninsurable, and to obligations which may be unenforceable or which may not be worth the paper they are written on.
However, it is recognised that letters of indemnity may legitimately assist trade on many occasions, and hence the advice given in this guide may be welcome, notwithstanding the caveat above. The aim of this guide is to assist ship’s officers, operators and managers in the understanding of letters of indemnity and the problems and practical issues surrounding their use.
Title: Letters of Indemnity: A Guide to Good Practice (Second Edition)
Number of Pages: 57
Product Code: WS1711K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-0-9574936-1-2 (9780957493612), ISBN 10: 0-9574936-1-4 (0957493614)
Published Date: August 2019
Weight: 0.60 kg
Author: The North of England P&I Association Ltd