2016 Drafting Season is Over

The 2016 drafting committee season is now over. On December 2nd and 3rd, I attended the meetings of our Uniform Commercial Code Committee and of the Permanent Editorial Board for the Uniform Commercial Code in Philadelphia.

philly-sunset
Sunset over Philadelphia

These Committees continue to shepherd the signature work of the Conference, the Uniform Commercial Code. Under the leadership of Commissioner Carl Bjerre of Oregon, work continues on the identification and republication of an “Official Text” of the Code. The Committees also reviewed the present status of the articles of the Code to assess whether the time for modernization or revision has arrived. Have you ever considered whether we need to continue UCC Articles 10 and 11, the transitional articles? Well, your Committees have. (And so far the answer is still, “yes.”)

We also reviewed the status of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s effort to draft a federal statute for a national mortgage registry and of our complementary efforts to modernize UCC Articles 1, 3 and 9 to provide for electronic residential mortgage notes and for a state law based residential mortgage note registry.

On Saturday December 3rd, the last meeting of the season, the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trust and Estate Acts occurred in Chicago. Since the Conference does not yet own a Star Trek-style transporter machine, I did not attempt to make that meeting. (A transporter machine for the ULC heads my Christmas wish list!).

Speaking of meetings and travel, your leadership team, Executive Committee Chair Anita Ramasastry, Vice-President Melissa Hortman, Treasurer Tom Buiteweg, Secretary Dan Robbins, Division Chairs H. Lane Kneedler, Cam Ward, Bill Barrett, Nora Winkelman, Pam Bertani, and John McGarvey, together with Liza Karsai and members of the ULC staff, covered 10 different drafting or editorial board meetings, in Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Louisville during the second half of this year. They helped to coordinate the work of our many committees. Thanks to all of them and to the Committee chairs, reporters and members for advancing our work.

Your leadership team is now preparing the last details (primarily budgetary) before the Scope and Program and Executive Committees meet in January in Point Clear, Alabama at the ULC’s midyear meeting. Then it is on to our spring drafting committee meetings and the 2017 Annual Meeting in San Diego, July 14 through 20, 2017. Although it is snowing as I write, I can almost feel the warm Southern California sun!

Rich

Richard T. Cassidy, President, Uniform Law Commission

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2016 Drafting Season is Over

Report from the Annual Meeting of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada

Becky and I are just home from Fredericton, New Brunswick. Together with International Legal Developments Committee Chair Bob Stein, we represented the Uniform Law Commission at the Annual Meeting of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.

ULCC 2016 Meeting 1
Sunset over the St. John’s River

Our Canadian colleagues are a hospitable bunch, and they made us feel right at home. They do work that is very similar to ours, but they do it in a different way. As befits the smaller population of their country, they are a considerably smaller group than we are. For the bulk of their meeting, they are divided into two groups, a Civil Section and a Criminal Section. This makes particular sense for them, as in Canada, Criminal Law is essentially federal in nature. Most of the work of the Criminal section is considering adopting resolutions recommending changes in criminal law to the Canadian federal government.

Both sections seem to work extensively from white papers prepared by very small working groups.

Even on the Civil Side, things look very different. Like us they are drafting uniform and model acts. The Civil Section considers and adopts resolutions on policy principles that professional drafters convert into statutory language for consideration by the provincial and territorial parliaments.

And, of course, all this work is taking place in two languages. One truly feels an international flavor when the headphones come out for simultaneous translation.

In both Sections, debate seemed sedate by our standards, even when disagreements were sharp. Perhaps we could learn something from that.

Although the methods of work are quite different, I was struck by the fact that both organizations grapple with many of the same legal issues and underlying human problems. Let me give you a few examples.  On Monday, the Civil Section discussed the Uniform Access to Digital Assets by Fiduciaries Ac. The next day, the Civil Section spent considerable time on Domestic Arbitration. Then I went to the Criminal Section, which was discussing treatment courts, (which they call wellness courts) targeted at first nations’ peoples. They went on to discuss the extent to which persons convicted of violating their criminal laws against the distribution of intimate images should be required to register as sex offenders.

All these topics no doubt sound familiar to you, as we have done, or are doing, work on the same problems.

Back in the Civil Section, the members finished work ironing out the coordination of French and English texts on a project that we completed jointly, the Uniform Recognition of Substitute Decision Making Documents Act.

I addressed a joint session of both sections, and reported in some detail on the current status of our work.

Both organizations obviously value the relationship. The nature of our next cooperative effort is not yet clear, but I feel confident that a new chapter of our long history of collaboration and cooperation is just around the corner.

Rich

Richard T. Cassidy, President, Uniform Law Commission

ULCC 2016 Meeting 2
ULCC members at their annual East vs. West Softball Challenge
ULCC 2016 Meeting 3
Former ULCC President Luc Labonte presents the softball trophy to the captain of the victorious West team.
Report from the Annual Meeting of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada

Another way to stay involved

Are you interested in following the work of a Committee even though you can’t commit to Committee service?  Commissioners may be added to the roster for any committee to receive notice of any conference calls and meetings and to receive drafts and memos that are under the committee’s consideration.  While you won’t have a vote (and unfortunately, we won’t be able to reimburse you if you travel to any meetings), your input may be really helpful.  This also is a great way for Commissioners who don’t have the time to volunteer for full committee service to participate in areas in which they have particular expertise.  A list of current committees can be found on the ULC website at www.uniformlaws.org.  Please contact the Chicago office if you’d like to be added to the roster of any current committee.

Rich

Richard T. Cassidy, ULC President

Another way to stay involved

Report from the ABA Midyear Meeting

Six uniform acts were approved by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates as “appropriate Acts for those states desiring to adopt the specific substantive law suggested therein.” The acts were approved at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting in San Diego, California, February 3-8, 2016. All of the acts were approved by the ULC in 2015.

The six acts that were approved by the ABA/HOD were the:

  • Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act (further information can be found here);
  • Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act (further information can be found here);
  • Uniform Home Foreclosure Procedures Act (further information can be found here);
  • Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Domestic-Violence Protection Orders Act (further information can be found here);
  • Revised Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (further information can be found here); and
  • Uniform Trust Decanting Act (further information can be found here).

Special thanks to Commissioner Bob Stein, our ABA Delegate, Commissioner Tom Bolt, Chair of our Committee on Liaison with the American Bar Association, and Ben Orzeske, ULC Chief Counsel, who all attended the meeting and worked to ensure our successful efforts through the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates.

Rich

Richard T. Cassidy, President, ULC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report from the ABA Midyear Meeting

Report from the ULC Midyear Meeting

Members of the ULC Scope and Program and Executive Committees participated in the 2016 ULC Midyear Meeting, conducted at Amelia Island, Florida.

At the meeting, two new drafting committees, three new study committees and a new monitoring committee, were authorized.

Acting on the recommendations of the Standing Committee on the Uniform Commercial Code and the Permanent Editorial Board for the Uniform Commercial Code, Scope and Program recommended, and the Executive Committee authorized, the appointment of a drafting committee to develop amendments to Article 3 of the UCC with conforming amendments to Articles 1 and 9, to provide the substantive commercial law rules required to support a national electronic registry for mortgage notes. The American Law Institute, the ULC’s partner in drafting the UCC, has also agreed to proceed with this drafting project.

The work of this drafting committee will need to be very closely coordinated with the work of the existing drafting committee on Electronic Registry for Residential Mortgage Notes. I am exploring whether the drafting should have separate, overlapping or identical membership. We also need to coordinate our effort with our UCC partner, the American Law Institute.

The second drafting committee, approved conditionally, is intended to harmonize the law of Caribbean Nations and the U.S. on the Enforcement of Child Custody and Support Orders. The conditions of the approval are that a sufficient number of Caribbean nations demonstrate commitment to the project and that external funding be identified to support the project.

The new study committees all have technology connections. They include a committee to study the feasibility of state legislation on identity management in electronic commerce, one to study the need and feasibility of state legislation relating to event data recorders in cars, and a committee to study legislation concerning the trust management of donated funds to individuals and families, in particular through crowd funding.

A new monitoring committee was authorized to cover the subject of Criminal Justice reform. This Committee will be charged with staying aware of efforts to improve and reform state criminal justice systems and where appropriate, recommend model or uniform law projects.

Other action includes expanding the charge of the Drafting Committee on Wage Garnishment to extend the protections of the Act to include earnings deposited in bank accounts.

The Executive Committee referred proposed technical corrections and crowdfunding provisions from the federal JOBS (Jumpstart our Business Startups) Act to the Reporter or Chair of the Uniform Securities Act to consider whether to recommend amendment of the Act to the Executive Committee under Section 4.3(b)(3) of the Constitution.

Rich

Richard T. Cassidy, President, ULC

 

Report from the ULC Midyear Meeting

Thanks for All You Do

This past weekend we ran our final drafting committee meetings of calendar year 2015 at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. There is still some work left in this year, including important Editorial Board meetings in December, but we have had a great ULC fall season and our projects seem to be on track for a productive Annual Meeting in Stowe.

The Palmer House was already decked out for the holidays, and the table at our Saturday luncheon meeting for committee and division chairs (which included the leadership of the Joint Editorial Boards for Trust and Estate Acts and International Law as well as the International Legal Developments Committee) looked like a Thanksgiving feast, although it featured chicken not turkey.

So this year, at our actual Thanksgiving celebration, my wife Becky and I will add our ULC family – Commissioners and staff alike – to our list of the blessings of this year for which we are grateful.

Thanks to each of you for all you have done and are doing to make the ULC a successful and important force to improve the law.

Rich

Richard T. Cassidy, President, ULC

Thanks for All You Do

The ULC’s Broad Reach

As I traveled home from this past weekend’s committee meetings in suburban Washington, DC, I was struck by the broad reach of the work of the drafting committee meetings that had just finished.

The Criminal Records Accuracy is dealing with issues that directly affect the 70 to 100 million Americans who have some kind of a criminal record, as well as the entire law enforcement community, and indirectly, all Americans, as we all have an interest in a fair and effective criminal justice system.

The Drafting Committee on a Wage Garnishment Act is working to create a fair and efficient wage withholding system for debt collection, affecting the interests of many millions of American debtors, their employers and creditors.

The Drafting Committee on Divided Trusteeship might sound like a project that affects only the wealthy and the institutions that manage their money. Certainly, the effective management of trusts involves a great deal of capital. But that’s not the whole picture. Even many people with very modest assets may benefit from trusts, as is exemplified by interest in our draft by members of the special needs trust community.

And that’s just the briefest description of the scope of the issues dealt with on a single drafting committee weekend. We are just about half-way through our fall drafting committee season and our pending projects have already touched upon the needs of residents in Indian Country through the Drafting Committee to Amend the Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act and the Drafting Committee on a Tribal Probate Code, the interests of consumers, businesses and state governments through the work of the Drafting Committee to Revise the Unclaimed Property Act, the interests of digital entrepreneurs, consumers and regulators through the work of our Drafting Committee on the Regulation of Virtual Currencies Act and those of children, disabled seniors and others, and their caregivers through the Drafting Committee on the Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act.

Of course, the breadth of the ULC’s efforts is far greater – from the Revised Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, to Social Media Privacy, to the Regulation of Drones — if we look to completed Uniform Acts, those in progress and those that are under study. You can see more at uniformlaws.org

Many people think of the ULC as a commercial law organization and commercial law has been a critical focus of our activity. But we are much, much more.

Rich Cassidy, President, ULC

The ULC’s Broad Reach