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The University of Southampton

LAWS3054 Carriage of Goods by Sea

Module Overview

A shipowner will wish to use its ship to make as much profit as it can and will usually do so by chartering the ship either on a time charter or voyage charter basis. This course will consider the basic obligations which you would expect to find in any charterparty such as the shipowner's obligation of seaworthiness, the obligation not to deviate and the charterer's obligation to nominate a safe port, before turning to consider time charterparties and voyage charterparties, and their differences, in greater depth. The standard form contracts in common use will be studied, as will the international conventions, such as the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, which may be incorporated voluntarily in to those contracts. The principles of general commercial contract law, such as frustration, remedies for breach, remoteness of damage, and assessment of damages have often been developed in the area of carriage of goods by sea. They continue to be developed in this area partly as a result of the market crash in the autumn of 2008.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the main principles which govern the contractual obligations arising under charterparties and when they terminate including: - seaworthiness - deviation - duty to nominate a safe port - frustration - express cancellation clauses - legitimate last voyage - remedies for late or non payment of hire under time charterparties, offhire and set off - freight and allocation of risk for delays during loading and discharge under voyage charterparties;
  • the main principles which govern the obligations arising under bills of lading including: - the issue of a bill of lading and its statements - incorporation of charterparty terms - identifying the parties to the contract - title to sue - application of the international carriage conventions - the liability regime under the Hague, Hague-Visby, Hamburg and Rotterdam Rules.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse relevant legal materials, including international conventions, statutes, case law and standard form maritime contracts;
  • identify and explain the main commercial, insurance and political policies and values underpinning the law relating to carriage of goods by sea;
  • describe and assess existing areas of debate about what the law is and what it ought to be, both in the U.K. and internationally;
  • apply commercial law principles, with appropriate legal authorities, in the solution of complex practical problems;
  • draft legal advice based upon such problems;
  • appraise and criticise existing debates in U.K. and international maritime law, using appropriate legal research skills;
  • display clarity and objectivity in written discussion.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • apply time management;
  • identify relevant bibliography;
  • competently undertake research tasks with minimum guidance using the full range of learning resources;
  • be an independent and self-critical learner, managing your own requirements for continuing professional development;
  • deploy legal arguments in writing.


1 Introduction and Commercial background 2 Basic implied obligations in carriage of goods by sea: - Seaworthiness - Deviation - Safe ports - Frustration 3 Cancellation of charterparty 4 Time Charters - The description of the ship - The period of the charterparty: underlap and overlap - Off hire - Hire and withdrawal 5 Remedies for breach of charterparty 6 Voyage charters - Freight - The commencement of laytime - The calculation of laytime and demurrage - The distinction between demurrage and damages for detention - Liens for freight, demurrage and damages for detention and cesser clauses 7 Introduction to bills of lading, the commercial background and their functions 8 Bill of Lading functions: receipt -Typical bill of lading clauses: - Weight and quantity - Condition 9 Bill of Lading functions: Terms of contract 10 Bill of Lading functions: Document of title 11 Hague and Hague-Visby Rules: Liability scheme 12 Hague and Hague-Visby Rules: Application 13 Typical bill of lading clauses: - Limitation of liability - Time Bars 14 Typical bill of lading clauses: - Himalaya - Freight - Lien 15 Hamburg Rules 1978 and Rotterdam Rules 2009 16 Through and combined transport 17 Waybills 18 Charterparty bills - Identity of parties - Identity of terms 19 Charterers' orders

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You will be provided with detailed reading lists, containing references to textbooks, cases, Conventions, statutes and journal articles. There will also be problem questions to be used for discussion in class. You will also be provided with a volume of standard form carriage contracts, supplementing those in the recommended textbook by John Wilson, so that you can relate the law to current commercial practice. The module will be taught by weekly lectures. You will be expected to prepare the written reading sheets in advance. This preparation will require you to read and assimilate a considerable amount of material. In particular, you will be expected to understand legal principles deriving from international Conventions, statutes, case law, journal articles and standard form contracts. This will develop your ability to read cases, to get quickly to the important subject matter, to spot issues which are important but not decided, to extract principles, and to use and apply those principles in practical case studies. Your study of standard form contracts used internationally will expose you to the operation of these contracts almost as quasi-codes of law. You will consider not only what the law is, but what it ought to be.

Preparation for scheduled sessions210
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Coghlin, Baker and Kenny (2014). Time Charters. 

N. Gaskell, R. Asariotis and Y. Baatz (2000). Bills of Lading: Law and Contracts. 

Cooke, Young and Taylor (2014). Voyage Charters. 

D.Yates (1993). Contracts for the Carriage of Goods. 

Y. Baatz et al (2014). Maritime Law. 

Todd, P (2015). Principles of the Carriage of Goods by Sea. 

J. Wilson (2010). Carriage of Goods by Sea. 

W. Tetley (1988). Marine Cargo Claims. 

R.Aikens, R. Lord and M. Bools (2015). Bills of Lading. 

C. Debattista (2008). Bills of Lading in Export Trade. 

J. Schofield (2016). Laytime and Demurrage. 

Scrutton on Charterparties. 

S. Baughen (2015). Shipping Law. 

G. Treitel and F. Reynolds (2017). Carver on Bills of Lading. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 60%
Essay  (4000 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 40%
Written assessment 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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