TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Sep 26, 2008

Journal Issue Date: Oct 2008

Journal Name: October 2008 - Vol. 44, No. 10

Uniform Law Commission approves seven new acts:

As they've done each summer since 1892, uniform law commissioners gathered for a full week to discuss - and debate line by line, word by word - legislative proposals drafted by their colleagues during the year. The commissioners draft proposals for uniform laws on issues where disparity between the states is a problem.

This year, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), meeting at its 117th annual meeting in Big Sky, Montana, approved seven new acts dealing with issues ranging from an update of the law on family support to new revisions to a uniform act that provides rules on condominiums and other types of planned communities.

Tennessee Commissioners Charles A. Trost, George H. Buxton III and Jess O. Hale Jr. were joined by more than 200 lawyers, judges, law professors, legislators and government attorneys appointed in their respective jurisdictions to serve as uniform law commissioners. With Gov. Phil Bredesen's appointment of Effie Bean this year to replace Ross Clark, Tennessee now has four commissioners.

The seven acts just approved and available for state enactment are:

  • The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), the law in every state, was amended to modify the current version of UIFSA's international provisions to comport with the obligations of the United States under the 2007 Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance, which was signed by the president in 2008. The amendments give greater enforcement of U.S. orders abroad; also, foreign orders will be recognized and enforced like orders of other American states.
  • The Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA) was amended in order to update the 1994 UCIOA, which provides provisions for creating, managing and terminating condominium, planned community and other types of real estate cooperatives.
  • A Uniform Common Interest Ownership Bill of Rights Act is also available as a separate act.
  • The Revised Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act (RUUNAA) is the product of a joint project between the ULC, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada and the Mexican Center on Uniform Laws. The RUUNAA, a revision of the UUNAA of 1996, governs all unincorporated nonprofit associations (UNAs) that are formed or operate in a state that adopts the act. There are hundreds of thousands of UNAs in the United States, including educational, scientific and literary clubs, sporting organizations, political organizations, neighborhood associations and the like.
  • The Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act will permit, in state court proceedings, unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury to be executed by witnesses located outside the United States in lieu of affidavits, verifications, or other sworn court filings. Obtaining an affidavit abroad can be a costly and time-consuming process, making a uniform state law on this subject extremely useful in transnational litigation.
  • Amendments to the Uniform Probate Code and the Uniform Principal and Income Act were also approved.

Information on all of these acts, including the approved text of each act, can be found at www.nccusl.org.

Since its inception, 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. In 2008 Tennessee enacted ULC revisions to Articles 1 and 7 of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Uniform Depositions and Discovery Act.

No single state has the resources necessary to duplicate this meticulous, careful, nonpartisan effort. Working together with pooled resources through the ULC, Tennessee joins with every other state to produce the impressive body of laws known as the "Uniform State Laws."

Submitted by Jess O. Hale Jr., a senior legislative attorney with the Office of Legal Services for the Tennessee General Assembly. The article does not represent the views of the General Assembly. To read Hale's full report, go to www.tba.org/journal_links.