Uniform Law Commission Wraps Up 124th Annual Meeting

(July 15, 2015) -

Uniform Law Commission
111 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 1010, Chicago IL 60602
312/450-6600, www.uniformlaws.org

Contact:  Katie Robinson, ULC Communications Officer, krobinson@uniformlaws.org

For Immediate Release:

Seven New Acts Approved

July 15, 2015 — At its 124th Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) approved seven new acts, including a new Revision to the Uniform Athlete Agents Act as well as a new Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.

The Uniform Athlete Agents Act was adopted in 2000, and has been enacted in 42 states. The Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act makes numerous changes to the act, including expanding the definition of “athlete agent” and “student athlete;” providing for reciprocal registration between states; adding new requirements to the signing of an agency contract; and expanding notification requirements.

The Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Protection Orders on Domestic Violence Act provides for the enforcement of domestic violence protection orders issued by Canadian courts. Reflecting the friendship between the United States and Canada, citizens move freely between the two countries, freedom that in certain limited circumstances can work against victims of domestic violence. Canada has granted recognition to protection orders of the United States and other countries in the Uniform Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act. By this act, enacting states accord similar recognition to protection orders from Canada.

“Decanting” is the term used to describe the distribution of assets from one trust into a second trust, like wine is decanted from the bottle to another vessel.  Decanting can be a useful strategy for changing the outdated terms of an otherwise irrevocable trust, but can also be abused to defeat the settlor’s intent.  The Uniform Trust Decanting Act provides a method of reforming an irrevocable trust document.   The act also limits decanting when it would defeat a charitable or tax-related purpose of the settlor.

The Revised Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is an updated version of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, which was first promulgated in 1972 and last amended in 1974.  The act includes new articles covering the disposition of tenant property, lease termination in case of domestic violence or sexual assault, and security deposits.  The revised act also includes an appendix for states that only want to enact the updated provisions.

The recent wave of residential foreclosure actions revealed flaws in the foreclosure system, particularly in states where court systems were overwhelmed.   The Uniform Home Foreclosure Procedures Act provides a balanced set of rules and procedures to standardize and streamline the foreclosure process.  The act protects homeowners by requiring adequate notice and documentation before a foreclosure action can proceed.  The act protects lenders by precluding contrary municipal ordinances and expediting foreclosure of abandoned properties.  Finally, the act includes rules for pre-foreclosure resolutions and negotiated transfers to encourage non-judicial solutions.

Receivership is an equitable remedy allowing a court to oversee the orderly management and disposition of property subject to a lawsuit.  Although the remedy is not new, there is no standard set of receivership rules and the courts of different states have applied widely varying standards.  This Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act applies to receiverships involving commercial real estate, and provides a standard set of rules for courts to apply.  It will result in greater predictability for litigants, lenders, and other parties doing business with a company subject to receivership.

The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act was also approved.  The revised act clarifies the application of federal privacy laws and gives legal effect to an account holder's instructions for the disposition of digital assets.  While the 2014 UFADAA provided fiduciaries with default access to all digital information, the revised act protects the contents of electronic communications from disclosure without the user's consent.  Fiduciaries can still access other digital assets unless prohibited by the user. 

Other drafts which were debated at the ULC annual meeting, but which were not scheduled for final approval, include the Family Law Arbitration Act, the Series of Unincorporated Business Entities Act, the Wage Garnishment Act, the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, and the Social Media Privacy Act.

The current drafts of all of these acts can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.

The ULC, now in its 124th year, comprises more than 350 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors, and lawyer-legislators from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Commissioners are appointed by their states to draft and promote enactment of uniform laws that are designed to solve problems common to all the states.

After receiving the ULC’s seal of approval, a uniform act is officially promulgated for consideration by the states, and legislatures are urged to adopt it.  Since its inception in 1892, the ULC has been responsible for more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Partnership Act, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.