• Current through October 23, 2012

An unauthorized alteration or filling in of a blank in a bill of lading leaves the bill enforceable according to its original tenor.

(Dec. 30, 1963, 77 Stat. 725, Pub. L. 88-243, § 1.)



Prior Uniform Statutory Provision

Section 16, Uniform Bills of Lading Act.


Generally revised and simplified; explicit treatment of the situation where a blank in an executed document is filled without authority.

Purposes of Changes

An unauthorized alteration whether made with or without fraudulent intent does not relieve the issuer of his liability on the document as originally executed. Uniform Warehouse Receipts Act 13 excused the issuer from any liability to a fraudulent alterer, other than the liability to deliver the goods according to the terms of the original document. It is difficult to conceive what liability the draftsman intended to excuse. Uniform Bills of Lading Act 16 contains no such excuse provision, and is followed in this respect in the present section. Uniform Bills of Lading Act 16 characterizes an unauthorized alteration as "void" but apparently nothing more was intended than that the alteration did not change the obligation of the issuer. This is sufficiently covered by the terms of this Section. Moreover cases are conceivable in which an alteration would not be "void"; for example, an alteration made by common consent of a transferor and transferee of a document might evidence an enforceable contract between them. The same rule is made applicable to the filling in of blanks, a matter on which the prior Acts were silent.

Definitional Cross References

"Bill of lading". Section 1-201.

"Issuer". Section 7-102.

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 28:7-306.

1973 Ed., § 28:7-306.