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The b/l is equally important in the trade as so called third party document which the seller of the goods must present to the bank in order to receive payment of the purchase price under a letter of credit.

This makes I think the b/l a key document in international shipping and trade, standing on the cross roads of shipping, trade and banking law.

On the other hand, one should realize that clean b/ls issued in exchange of an LOI does not necessarily need to involve fraud.

I would not exclude master, being afraid for cargo claims, may sometimes tend to frivolously include cargo remarks in their mates receipt in order to force the charterer to give a LOI which LOI should give him cover against cargo claims.

My conclusion is that the position of LC beneficiaries is rather uncertain in case of fraud with b/ls.

Particularly I would say in cases where it has come to the surface that possible deficiencies of the cargo or its packing were covered up by a clean b/l and LOI.

Courts or arbitrators dealing with such matters shall have to fall back on the applicable national law Yet, they will give due regard to case law in other countries and legal writing on this topic as usually national law systems do neither contain specific provisions on LC fraud.

In case one of you have to deal with such case, many articles and case law are to be found in the yearly handbook, the Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Practice and Law, published by the Institute of International Banking Law & Practice (This provision seems to focus on fraud committed by the beneficiary.

Backdating of a b/l may seem very harmless, yet in trade a difference of one day can make a big difference as prices may go up and down heavily on a daily basis.Commercial practice therefore sometimes dictates the carrier issues a b/l without any mentioning of defective cargo or insufficient packing.Whether such commercial practice can or should be allowed it seems to be in the American Accord case is another question.The carrier had to reimburse the bill of lading holder for the shortage of 35 containers.. The b/l may come in the hands of a person who is not the rightful holder and not entitled to take delivery of the goods.Or a person presents a false b/l (better: a fictitious b/l or non-document) to the sea carrier.

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