Uniform Law Commission
111 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 1010, Chicago, IL 60602
312/450-6600, Fax 312/450-6601, www.uniformlaws.org
Contact: Katie Robinson, ULC Deputy Legislative Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release:
ABA APPROVES TWO UNIFORM ACTS
New Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act Approved
February 6, 2012 – Two new uniform acts have been approved by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates at its Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 1-7, 2012. The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act and the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act, approved today by the ABA’s House of Delegates, were drafted and approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) in 2011.
The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) addresses many of the concerns posed by the publication of state primary legal material online. UELMA provides a technology-neutral, outcomes-based approach to ensuring that online state legal material deemed official will be preserved and will be permanently available to the public in unaltered form. It furthers states policies of accountability and transparency in providing legal information to the public.
The Act applies to electronic legal material that has been designated official. Four categories of basic state legal material are specifically named in the Act, including the state constitution, state session laws, codified laws, and agency regulations which have the effect of law. The state has discretion to include any other publications it desires.
The Act requires that official electronic legal material be:
- Authenticated, by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered;
- Preserved, either in electronic or print form; and
- Accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis.
The UELMA does not require specific technologies, leaving the choice of technology for authentication and preservation up to the states.
The Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act (UCOTVA) regulates the titling of boats and other vessels that are principally used on an adopting state’s waters and that are of at least 16 feet in length, as well as all vessels propelled by an engine of at least ten horsepower.
The UCOTVA removes or avoids ambiguities found in many state titling laws regarding the effect of the title, the consequence of a failure to title, or the effect of errors on the title, thereby facilitating transfers of ownership of a vessel.
The UCOTVA deters and impedes the theft of vessels by making information about the ownership of vessels available to both government officials and those interested in acquiring an interest in a vessel.
The UCOTVA accommodates existing financing arrangements for vessels and provides certain consumer protections when purchasing a vessel through the Act’s branding initiative. Additionally, the UCOTAV integrates seamlessly with the Uniform Commercial Code.
Each of these acts was approved by the ULC in 2011 and is available for introduction and adoption by all the states. Information on each of these acts is available at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.
The Uniform Law Commission, now in its 120th year, provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law. The organization comprises more than 300 lawyers, judges, and law professors, appointed by the states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to research, draft and promote enactment of uniform state laws in areas of state law where uniformity is desirable and practical. Since its inception in 1892, the group has promulgated more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, and the Uniform Partnership Act.