Need for a revision of URC?


Every so often, the issue of revising the Uniform Rules for Collections (URC) is raised.

The URC were originally introduced in January 1979, under ICC Publication No. 322. The latest revision, Publication No. 522, came into effect on 1 January 1996.

As with all revisions of international rules, changes were introduced in order to keep abreast with commercial developments and practices. 

URC 522 is divided into 26 articles under 7 distinct sections:

  • General Provisions and Definitions - articles 1-3
  • Form and Structure of Collections - article 4
  • Form of Presentation - articles 5-8
  • Liabilities and Responsibilities - articles 9-15
  • Payment - articles 16-19
  • Interest, Charges and Expenses - articles 20-21
  • Other Provisions - articles 22-26

A good indicator as to whether or not these rules are still effective would be the number of queries raised to the ICC with respect to problems faced by practitioners. In fact, these are very few, and the number of formal Opinions covering URC are relatively low.

A quick review of existing Opinions reveals that most relate to the breach of URC articles by one of the parties, not an actual deficiency in the rules themselves. The fact that the rules themselves provide an answer to such issues is an indicator of robustness.  

We have both discussed this subject with a number of groups/individuals over the past 3-4 years and have received little support for a revision. URC 522 is considered sufficient to meet most existing needs.                                                                                                                   


Basically, there are no paramount issues that demand a revision nor provide the necessary rationale to enter into a rules revision which is likely to take 2-3 years and require the time of a large number of individuals / banks and the ICC. 

This is beside the costs that would be incurred by banks to update systems, paperwork, agreements and any applicable training, for what is a declining product volume wise.

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