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The University of Southampton

LAWS6168 Carriage of Goods by Sea

Module Overview

The carriage of goods by sea was one of the very earliest forms of commercial activity. "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. The study involves an application to the specific activity of general principles of English law, principally being an application of the law of contract, tort and bailment. Legislation (and principles of its interpretation) will also be examined, including in particular the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971 (bringing into force in the UK the Hague-Visby Rules) and the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992. . It should be remembered that standard form contracts providing for English law and arbitration are used widely throughout the world, and so this is a subject with global reach.

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.
  • Relevant international rules, legislation such as the Hague-Visby Rules (as adopted in UK law), and the UK legistation 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, with reference to key legal principles, 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.
  • Identify key legal principles and apply to complex commercial problems in the shipping markets.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate arguments effectively.
  • Undertake independent research and access primary and secondary sources effectively.


This is a course on the English law of charterparties and bills of lading. It should be remembered that standard forms providing for English law and arbitration are used widely throughout the world, and so this is a subject with global reach . The topics covered include: • Distinction between charterparties and bills of lading; . Distinction between time and voyage charterparties; • Principles and terms underlying carriage by sea, and governing all carriage contracts; • Voyage and consecutive voyage charterparties, and contracts of affreightment; • Seaworthiness of the ship; • The use of the vessel; • Freight, laytime and demurrage; . Time charterparties; . Payment of hire; . Period of charter; . Employment, indemnity and safe ports; • 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; . Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods: One 2-hour class per week (three-weekly cycle of two 2-hour lectures and one 2-hour seminar) Teaching for this module is by lectures and tutorials. Lectures will introduce the main principles and structure of the subject. You are expected to provide the main input to the tutorials, where the main issues are discussed. The most important part of learning is your own independent study. This will, however, be closely guided, and firmly tied into the lectures, tutorials and assessment. Most of the discussion will revolve around the main legal decisions, and the arguments that have been advanced, and accepted or rejected in the cases. In tutorials you will have the opportunity to present arguments orally to a group of peers and defend your position under challenge. E-learning E-learning facilities are provided through Blackboard. Lectures will be recorded in case any part of a lecture is missed, and for revision. Computer-based quizzes will be used alongside the lectures and tutorials to help provide a direction for your study. Reading Recommended reading will be provided for each tutorial, and there will be recommended books, which will, however, form only the initial basis for study.

Independent Study256
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Rogers, Chuah and Dockray . Cases and Materials on the Carriage of Goods by Sea . 

Todd. Principles of Carriage of Goods by Sea . 

Wilson . Wilson on the Carriage of Goods by Sea . 



Mock Examination


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (48 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (48 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (48 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 them as appropriate. The main textbook was written for the student market and is not particularly expensive (under £50). All recommended sources, apart from the main book, are available to students free of charge, either on the Internet, or on Blackboard, or on the legal databases.

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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