Issues with the The Hague-Visby and Hamburg Rules

1477 WordsJan 27, 20186 Pages
The Hague-Visby and Hamburg rules were two different attempts at presenting a common commercial code for the carriage of goods by sea. A contract of carriage of goods by sea is between the shipper and the ship owner, also known as the carrier. The terms of this contract were usually evidenced by a document known as the bill of lading. In common law, the carrier was strictly liable for the transport of the cargo to its port of destination and to the designated person. The carrier could however disclaim this strict liability by inserting suitable clauses into the contract of carriage. This led to the carrier possessing an unfair level of bargaining power. Initially, the increased use of exemption clauses was largely due to the significant rise in ocean traffic in the 19th century. This was in turn affected by the rise of the laissez faire philosophy in regards to commercial law, at least as far as the English courts were concerned. The general view in English courts was as long as each party kept to the terms of their agreement, there was little need to intervene in the contract between parties. Consequently this attitude favoured those in a better bargaining position. The Hague rules were signed in August 1924, establishing a minimum standard of liability. However these rules enveloped problems over the course of time due to litigation and developments in shipping technology. This resulted in the drafting of the Brussels Protocol which revised the Hague Rules in 1968. The

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