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LAWS3156 Carriage of Goods by Sea 2 (Bills of Lading)

Module Overview

This module considers the bill of lading issued for the carriage of goods by sea. The three functions of the bill of lading as receipt, evidence of the contract of carriage and document of title, will be studied. Whether any of the international conventions such as the Hague, Hague-Visby or Hamburg Rules apply mandatorily to the bill of lading will be considered and if the Hague-Visby Rules do, the substantive rules as to liability, exceptions, limitation of liability and time bar. Issues such as the identity of the parties to the bill of lading and whether they have title to sue are explored. Through studying the module you will develop skills in the Identification of relevant bibliography and competently undertake self-directed research tasks with minimum guidance using the full range of learning resources. This module can count as one of the Maritime Option modules that students on the LLB Maritime Law need to select from.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To give you a thorough knowledge and understanding of the main principles of the law relating to Carriage of Goods by Sea under bills of lading and the commercial, insurance and political policies and values which underpin it, • To provide you with experience of analysing legal principles deriving from a variety of legal instruments, including international conventions, statutes, case law, journal articles and standard form bills of lading. • To enable you to develop your skills of legal analysis and problem solving in a contract-based commercial law subject with an international aspect.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • understand the main principles which govern the contractual obligations arising under bills of lading and how to pursue a cargo claim.
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 bills of ladlng,
  • Identify and explain the main commercial, insurance and political policies and values underpinning the law relating to carriage of goods by sea under bills of lading.
  • 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.
  • deploy legal arguments in writing.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • time Management;
  • work as an independent and self-critical learner, managing your own requirements for continuing personal and professional development;
  • display clarity and objectivity in written discussion demonstrating an awareness of issue of academic integrity


1 Introduction to bills of lading, the commercial background and their functions 2 Bill of Lading functions: receipt Typical bill of lading clauses: Weight and quantity Condition 3 Bill of Lading functions: Terms of contract 4 Bill of Lading functions: Document of title 5 Hague and Hague-Visby Rules: Application 6 Hague and Hague-Visby Rules: Liability scheme 7 Typical bill of lading clauses: Limitation of liability Time Bars Himalaya 8 Hamburg Rules 1978 and Rotterdam Rules 2009 9 Through and combined transport 10 Waybills 11 Charterparty bills Identity of parties Identity of terms

Special Features

This module is important for students wishing to work in firms specialising in maritime law. The Institute of Maritime Law runs a series of voluntary seminars on Wednesday afternoons given by brokers, insurers, judges, arbitrators, solicitors and others specialising in the maritime field to supplement and enhance the students understanding of the practical and commercial background to this subject. You are encouraged to attend these seminars and make use of knowledge gained from them in your studies.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You will be provided with a detailed reading list, 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 in advance from the written reading sheets. 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 significant 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 sessions100
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

S. Baughen (2015). Shipping Law. 

Eder, B. et al (2015). Scrutton on Charterparties. 

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

Y. Baatz et al (2009). The Rotterdam Rules: A Practical Annotation. 

W. Tetley (1988). Marine Cargo Claims. 

Y. Baatz et al. (2014). Maritime Law. 

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

G. Treitel and F. Reynolds (2012). Carver on Bills of Lading. 

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

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





MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite LAWS3145


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:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/recommended text as appropriate. The cost of a new, print copy of the main book in March 2016 is shown below. J Wilson, Carriage of Goods by Sea, 7th edition, 2010, £50.39.

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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