Bank of Baroda v Vysya Bank Limited: ChD 1994

An Indian buyer had agreed to purchase a consignment of Latvian steel through its London office. The buyer instructed Vysya to issue a credit in favour of the seller beneficiary. The credit was confirmed by the Bank of Baroda’s London office. The seller presented the documents stipulated under the credit to Bank of Baroda and was paid. The Bank of Baroda then sent the documents to Vysya in India claiming reimbursement. Vysya refused to pay and Baroda issued proceedings in England seeking reimbursement. Baroda sought leave to issue the writ and serve it out of the jurisdiction on the grounds, inter alia, that its contract with Vysya was governed by English law.
Held: Dealing with that question under Article 4 of the Rome Convention, under a contract between an issuing bank and a confirming bank the performance which is characteristic of the contract is the addition by the confirming bank of its confirmation of the credit and its honouring of the obligations thereby accepted in relation to the beneficiary. That being so, if the presumption in Article 4(2) were applied, the contract between the issuing bank and the confirming bank would be governed by English law being the law of the place of business through which the Bank of Baroda was to effect its performance. ‘In the present case the application of art. 4(2) would lead to an irregular and subjective position where the governing law of a letter of credit would vary according to whether one was looking at the position of the confirming or the issuing bank. It is of great importance to both beneficiaries and banks concerned in the issue and operation of international letters of credit that there should be clarity and simplicity in such matters. Article 4(5) provides the answer. The Rome Convention was not intended to confuse legal relationships or to disrupt normal expectations in the way which is implicit in Vysya’s submissions’.


Mance J


[1994] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 87

Cited by:

CitedPt Pan Indonesia Bank Ltd Tbk v Marconi Communications International Ltd CA 27-Apr-2005
The parties disputed the jurisdiction of the English courts over a letter of credit. It foresaw payment here and in sterling, made by the English bank as against the appropriate documents. Authority had been given for service out of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Banking, Jurisdiction

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.224967