The creation in 1918 of the Conference of Commissioners on Uniformity of Legislation in Canada was due to some extent to the notable example afforded in the United States by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. This body of American lawyers has been in exist-ance since 1892. Its best known and most important achievement is the preparation of a Uniform Negotiable Instruments Act, which has been adopted in over fifty states and territories, but it has also prepared many other model statutes which have been widely adopted.
In 1902-3, at the request of the Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Professor Samuel Williston, of the Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, prepared a draft of an act for codifying the law relating to the sale of goods. This draft was based on the Sale of Goods Act, 1893, but differed from it in various respects. It was printed in the summer of 1903 and it was sent, with a request for criticism, to teachers of the law of sales and to other experts on the subject. Some criticisms were received, and with the light of these criticisms and his own further reflections the the draftsman prepared a number of amendments and submitted them to the Conference in 1904. The draft was then gone over carefully, section by section, by the Conference, and doubtful points and changes in wording were discussed and voted upon. The draft was then re-committed to the draftsman with instructions to incorporate in the draft the changes adopted by the Conference and to submit a revised draft in 1905.
In accordance with these instructions another draft was presented to the Conference in 1905. This draft included for the first time a number of sections on the transfer of property by means of negotiable documents, and on account of these sections it was thought best once more to re-commit the draft. In 1906 a revised draft was finally adopted by the Conference and recommended for enactment by the various state legislatures under the name of the Uniform Sales Act.
The Uniform Sales Act has been enacted to the following extent:
1907. Conecticut, New Jersey;
1908. Massachusetts, Mississippi (with slight modifications), Ohio, Rhode Island;
1911. New York, Wisconsin; 1913. Arizona, Michigan, Alaska; 1915. Illinois. Nevada, Pennsylvania;
1917. Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming;
1919. Idaho, Iowa, Oregon, Tennessee.
In the course of the book attention is drawn to the more important differences between the provisions of the Uniform Sales Act and those of the Sale of Goods Act. There are no provisions in the Sale of Goods Act corresponding with the sections of the Uniform Sales Act (ss. 27-40), relating to negoti able documents of title.