San Diego International Law Journal

Document Type

Lead Article


This Article seeks to illumine the legal nature of the letter of credit instrument, and catalogue the various sources of law and rules that can govern it; and, by doing so, render a service to those who must quickly come to grips with letter of credit law. The Article is in two parts. The first part examines the legal nature of the letter of credit by looking at its definition, operation, and history and by comparing it with negotiable instruments and contracts. The second part considers the rules, customs, and regulations governing letters of credit and introduces the two fundamental principles of the law of letters of credit, the principle of independence and the principle of strict compliance, which in slightly varying form are applied to credits in all legal systems.