Most countries have adopted codified laws on Bills of Exchange. The legal codes in such countries have created laws that follow the rules agreed at the Geneva Conventions in order to standardise the control of Bills of Exchange. The United Kingdom Bills of Exchange Act 1882 is the basis for rules governing Bills of Exchange in Ireland, U.K. and Commonwealth countries that were part of the British Empire. These countries follow a common law framework to create and modify statutes.

In relation to the most fundamental aspects of a Bill of Exchange the two sets of rules are similar in that both identify the following:

•    A Bill of Exchange is an unconditional order to pay a specific amount of money.
•    The Bill of Exchange must state a particular time of payment.
•    The Bill of Exchange must contain the name of the person who is to pay.

There are, however, certain differences between the Bills of Exchange Act (1882) and the Geneva Convention. In particular the United Kingdom Act sets out fewer formal requirements for example:

•    The term "Bill of Exchange", which is an integral part of the physical Bill according to the Geneva Convention, need not be written on the Bill.
•    Bills can be made payable to 'bearer'.
•    The place and date of issue are also not obligatory parts of the Bill.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is at present trying to harmonise laws through the "United Nations Convention on International Bills of Exchange and International Promissory notes".

Also see:

•    Definitions of a Bill of Exchange

•    The function of the Bill of Exchange in International Trade

•     Financing options with Bills of Exchange

•     Advantages of Bills of Exchange

•     Go to Bill of Exchange Online Now