When Karl Llewellyn directed the creation of the Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.), he naturally wanted to implement his jurisprudential ideas. He succeeded in giving the U.C.C. at least five important features inspired by Legal Realism. In particular, as a result of his influence, the U.C.C.: (1) favored open-ended standards over firm rules; (2) avoided formalities; (3) required and facilitated the "purposive interpretation" of its provisions; (4) did not attempt to provide an exclusive statement of the law, but instead directed courts to supplement its rules with general legal and equitable principles; and (5) provided a range of remedies that principally served to make injured parties whole. In recent years, the U.C.C. has undergone considerable expansion and revision. Article 2A on leases of goods and Article 4A on funds transfers have been added. Articles 2A, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 have been extensively revised. Moreover, drafts of new versions of Articles 1, 2, and 2A are currently in the works. This article contends that these substantial additions and revisions have done more than merely alter and augment the legal rules in the U.C.C. They have had the additional effect of diminishing Llewellyn's jurisprudential contributions. The modern drafters and revisers of the U.C.C. have not strived to retain the five legislative features identified above. Indeed, in some instances, they specifically have rejected them and the philosophy behind them.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 381; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 381
Gregory E. Maggs, Karl Llewellyn's Fading Imprint on the Jurisprudence of the Uniform Commercial Code, 71 U. Colo. L. Rev. 541 (2000).