Friday Law Report: Insurance Policy Was an Original Document 7 May 1999 Kredietbank Antwerp V Midland Bank Plc: Karaganda Ltd V Midl and Bank PLC and Another Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Evans, Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Sedley) 28 April 1999
Kate O'Hanlon, The Independent (London, England)
A DOCUMENT which was clearly an original document, in the sense that it contained the relevant contract, and which was not itself a copy of some other document, was not precluded from being an original document for the purposes of the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits, 1993 revision, ICC Publication No 500, because it had been produced by means of a word processor and printer.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals of Midland Bank and Karaganda Ltd against a decision that Kredietbank Antwerp was entitled to accept certain documents tendered under a letter of credit.
The Midland had opened a letter of credit through Kredietbank. The buyer was Karaganda Ltd. The terms of the letter of credit, which was subject to the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits, 1993 revision, ICC Publication No 500, (UCP 500), required, inter alia, an "original insurance policy or certificate". The documents tendered were in fact the original and duplicate of the policy. Both documents bore ink signatures. There were two documents because one of the express insurance conditions provided: "This policy is issued in original and duplicate, one of which to be accomplished, the other to stand void." One document was stamped "DUPLICATE". The other bore no equivalent marking. The original document was produced by a word processor and printed by a laser printer on to the insurance company's headed paper bearing its logo. The duplicate was a photocopy of that document. Midland refused to accept the original document, notwithstanding that it was the original, because it was not marked "original" as required by article 20(b) of UCP 500. On that ground, inter alia, Midland refused to indemnify Kredietbank, and Kredietbank issued proceedings. The buyer brought separate proceedings against Midland disputing its own liability to indemnify Midland, and the judge found in favour of Kredietbank. Midland and the buyer appealed. …