Without recourse is a legal
phrase used by an endorser of a negotiable instrument to signify that if the
payment of the instrument is denied or refused, the endorser will not be held
The negotiable instruments involved with this
definition typically refer to business or personal checks or promissory notes.
An individual who endorses such an instrument will attach the phrase
“without recourse” to specifically decline the responsibility of
payment. Through the incorporation of this phrase, the endorser declines
responsibility by virtue of the endorsement and becomes merely the assignor of
the title to the negotiable instrument.
The without recourse clause is governed by the
broader laws associated with the distribution of Commercial paper, which is
codified through the Uniform Commercial Code of the United States Federal
Government. As a result, a without recourse attachment will be honored by all
courts assuming basic requirements are met.