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The University of Southampton

LAWS6076 Carriage of Goods by Sea

Module Overview

The carriage of goods by sea was one of the very earliest forms of commercial activity, as is shown by ancient examples of Greek and Roman art. "Carriage" remains to this day one of the most challenging and engaging areas of legal practice: the sums of money in dispute are frequently such that parties and their legal advisers are happy to extend fundamental principles of commercial law to their limit - and beyond.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the basic principles underlying time, voyage and bareboat charterparties;
  • the Hague-Visby Rules and the UK Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and analyse the main types of dispute which commonly arise between the shippers, receivers and carriers of goods carried by sea;
  • apply the fundamentals of English commercial law to the resolution of such disputes.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse complex commercial problems in the shipping markets;
  • communicate legal arguments orally and/or in writing.


For better or for worse – and for many historical and economic reasons – the English law of Carriage of Goods by Sea has travelled well, far out of proportion to the actual size of the British merchant fleet. The presence of Lloyds, of separate Admiralty and Commercial Courts, of an expert group of maritime arbitrators and of a specialist number of shipping solicitors and barristers’ chambers in London – all these attract to English law vast numbers of contracts of carriage, electing English law as the law of choice even where the termini of the voyage have nothing to do with England. Moreover, where disputes are dealt with in other jurisdictions, the main English works and precedents on charterparties and bills of lading are frequently referred to, even if only to depart from the English position. This course examines how the fundamentals of the English common law react to lively, fluctuating and imaginative shipping markets around the world. The topics covered include: • Fixing a charterparty; • The law governing a charterparty; • The description of the ship delivered; • The seaworthiness of the ship delivered; • The use of the vessel; • The payment of hire; • Freight, Laytime and Demurrage; • Concluding a contract of carriage in the liner and tramp trade; • The functions of Bills of Lading as a receipt, as a contract and as a document of title; • Cargo claims under the Hague-Visby Rules; • Special problems arising under Sea waybills.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Seminars, where students will be expected to read set secondary and primary sources in advance • Tutorials, which will give students the opportunity to resolve practical problems in small groups Learning activities include: • Reading and understanding relevant practitioner texts • Reading and analysing relevant primary sources, e.g. reported cases, relevant statutes and standard term contracts • Analysing and resolving practical problems

Independent Study250
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Eder and Foxton. Scrutton on Charterparties and Bills of Lading. 

Guenter and Reynolds. Carver on Bills of Lading. 

Wilson. Wilson on the Carriage of Goods by Sea. 

Wilford & Coghlin. Wilford & Coghlin on Time Charters. 

Cook. Cook on Voyage Charters. 

Gaskell, Asariotis and Baatz. Gaskell, Asariotis and Baatz on Bills of Lading. 



Set exercises - non-exam


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 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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