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ULC Approves Three New Acts

  • 1.  ULC Approves Three New Acts

    Posted 07-15-2020 05:24 PM

    July 15, 2020 - Today the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) approved three new acts:

    Uniform Easement Relocation Act. An access easement gives the owner of one parcel of real estate the legal authority to travel across another person’s property. Think of a driveway that runs from a public road across one property to access another. In many, but not all, states, the owners of both properties must consent to relocate an easement.  When the owner of the burdened property asks to relocate an access easement to allow further development, an easement holder in a state that follows the mutual consent rule can withhold consent to prevent the development or demand a ransom payment before agreeing to the change. The Uniform Easement Relocation Act allows the burdened estate owner to obtain a court order to relocate an easement if the relocation does not materially impair the utility of the easement to the easement holder or the physical condition, use, or value of the benefited property. The burdened property owner must file a civil action, give other potentially affected real-property interest owners notice, and bear all the costs of relocation. These conditions build upon the rule contained in the Restatement (Third) of Property: Servitudes, whose approach to easement relocation has been fully or partially adopted in a number of states. The Uniform Easement Relocation Act excludes conservation easements and public-utility easements from its scope and contains a number of additional safeguards, not found in the Restatement, to protect the easement holder’s interest in the use and enjoyment of the easement during and after the relocation.

    Uniform Pretrial Release and Detention Act. Most states rely on cash bail as the mechanism to ensure that a defendant will appear in court. Individuals who cannot pay the bail set by the court are detained, placing a disproportionate burden on low-income defendants.  Recent studies indicate that approximately two-thirds of the 740,000 people held in local jails are awaiting trial, and at least 27% of all pretrial defendants were unable to afford bail.  The Uniform Pretrial Release and Detention Act (UPRDA) provides mechanisms for states to limit the use of pretrial detention.  The Act does not aim to eliminate all pretrial detention, nor to eliminate all uses of bail. UPRDA provisions address: (1) the use of citations in lieu of arrest for minor offenses; (2) a time limit on when a hearing must be conducted for an individual who is arrested; (3) appointment of counsel; (4) a pretrial risk determination by a court to individualize release or detention; (5) review of a defendant's financial condition so that inability to pay a fee does not lead to detention; and (6) an obligation on the court to consider restrictive conditional release as an alternative to detention.

    Uniform Public Expression Protection Act. The purpose of the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act is to provide a remedy for defendants involved in lawsuits called "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation," or "SLAPPs." SLAPPs are abusive civil lawsuits that may be brought against individuals, corporate entities, or government officials. The topics of these lawsuits range from education and zoning to politics and the environment. Though the claim of the lawsuit may be defamation, tortious interference, invasion of privacy, or something else, the real goal of a SLAPP lawsuit is to entangle the defendant in expensive litigation that stifles the defendant's ability to engage in constitutionally protected activities. The Uniform Public Expression Protection Act creates a clear process through which SLAPPs can be challenged and their merits fairly evaluated in an expedited manner. The Act protects individuals' rights to petition and speak freely on issues of public interest while, at the same time, protecting the rights of people and entities to file meritorious lawsuits for real injuries.

    The ULC, now in its 129th 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.

    The current drafts of all of these acts can be found at the ULC's website at Uniform Law Commission


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

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


    Katie Robinson
    Legislative Program Director
    Chicago IL