Uniform Acts and Model Acts
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws was created in 1892. The National Conference is composed of more than 300 Uniform Law Commissioners. The Commissioners are lawyers who are appointed from each state. The Commissioners draft uniform or model legislation that addresses problems that are common to all states. The National Conference finances its activities through funds appropriated by state legislatures. The goal of the National Conference is to encourage the adoption of laws that are consistent throughout the states. The work of the National Conference is ongoing.
A uniform act is a proposed law on a specific subject that is adopted by the National Conference. The goal is to have state legislatures adopt the uniform act without changing it, so that the law on that specific subject will be uniform throughout the states. The National Conference has adopted over 250 uniform acts covering commercial law, family law, real estate, estates, probate, and trusts. The most widely known uniform act adopted by the National Conference is the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). All 50 states have adopted the UCC in whole or in part. As a result, commercial law is largely uniform throughout the U.S.
A model act also is a proposed law on a specific subject that is adopted by the National Conference. A model act differs from a uniform act because the purpose of the model act is to provide a guideline for state legislatures in adopting legislation on a particular subject. Model acts have no legal effect unless they are adopted by a state legislature. Two of the most significant model acts adopted by the National Conference are the Model Penal Code and the Model Business Corporation Act.
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