A Comparative Analysis of the Approach to the Conformity of a Supporting Statement Calling for Payment Under Demand Guarantees

28 April 2023

The core requirement of a demand guarantee is to receive payment through the delivery of documents or a call for payment that meets the requirements of the demand guarantee. The call for payment may be accompanied by a declaration alleging a breach of the underlying agreement or a statement with full particulars of the breach. However, the extent to which the data in the supporting statement or statement of breach must comply with the guarantee requirements is not always entirely clear. Over the years, a strict standard of compliance of the statement with the terms of the guarantee has been employed. This has threatened the commercial use of demand guarantees due to demands for payment being rejected. This article draws upon the approach in resolving the problems related to the conformity of a statement accompanying the call for payment through an analysis of international instruments applicable to demand guarantees (the Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG758); the International Standby Practices (ISP98); the United Nations Convention on Independent Guarantees and Standby Letters of Credit (UNCITRAL Convention); the Supreme Court of the People's Republic of China Letter of Credit Rules (Chinese LC Rules); the Provisions of the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Disputes Over Independent Guarantees (Chinese IGP), the recently issued International Standard Demand Guarantees Practice (ISDGP) and international case law in an attempt to find the most feasible approach for South African law. A supporting statement accompanying a call for payment is conforming if it indicates the event triggering the guarantor's obligation to pay as specified in the demand guarantee. Furthermore, in ascertaining whether a supporting statement is compliant, a technical interpretation of the terms of the guarantee should be avoided in favour of one that advances the common intention and purpose of the guarantee.