||Informa Law from Routledge
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When the first edition of this book was published in 1990, international trade seemed to be in a crisis, and there was a sense that things had to change. New forms of trade, and associated documentation, were being forced on the trading parties and the banks, with which the law had not developed adequately to cope. In particular, the contractual relationships with carriers, being based on law that had originated nearly 150 years earlier, were outdated and inadequate. Now we are almost 20 years on. There has, of course, been much development of the law since then, and two further revisions of the UCP, the latest just last year. From a legal viewpoint, probably the most important single change is that carriage contract issues have been largely resolved by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992. This has had a knock-on effect on the usefulness of newer forms of documentation, making it possible for waybills in particular to be used far more securely than before. The problems are not the same now as they were in 1990. Today, it may be that the documentary credit itself is in crisis, as it seems to be declining in popularity, as against other forms of payment. This may reflect no more than that it is best suited to a particular type of market, the type of market for which it originally developed, and has not adapted well to some of the different types of market that exist today. Maybe it cannot adapt. Maybe there is also a case for saying that different forms of finance suit different types of trade, and that there is little point in using documentary credits in trades for which thev are not well suited.