official documents, letters of credit, certificates, weight certificate, inspection certificate, UCP 600, beneficiary
Documents: Official or Unofficial?
On occasion, a letter of credit will require presentation of an “Official Weight Certificate,” or some other “official” document. Could the definition of an official document provoke a debate? An equally intriguing question emerges, "What would constitute an 'unofficial' document?"
Requests for official documents often appear in letters of credit, which cover shipments of agriculture products. The letters of credit will ask for official weight certificates or official inspection certificates. What makes a document official? If issued by a government agency, would that fit the definition of official?
Uniform Customs and Practices ("UCP")
The UCP states that a bank can accept any document as long as it complies with the terms of the Letter of Credit and is not issued by the beneficiary, which seems to allow the bank a great deal of latitude.
It would appear, then, that the beneficiary can’t issue an official document. Does that mean a bank considers beneficiary’s documents, well, unofficial?
Where can we look to find the answer? Once again, we look to the UCP, “Terms such as ‘first class’, ‘well known’, ‘qualified’, ‘independent’, ‘official’, ‘competent’, or ‘local’ used to describe the issuer of a document allow any issuer except the beneficiary to issue that document" (Article 3).