International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading [Hague Rules]

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Brussels, Belgium
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 02/06/1931

Category

Transport and telecommunications

Sub category

Maritime transport

Groups

MISC

What is it about?

Also known as the Hague Rules, this instrument applies to contracts for the carriage of goods by sea that are evidenced by a bill of lading or a similar document of title. It covers the period of time when the goods are located on the ship to the time they are discharged from it. It establishes the responsibilities and liabilities of the carrier on international carriage of goods by sea.

Why is it relevant?

This Convention is the main international treaty establishing the responsibilities and liabilities of the carrier on international carriage of goods by sea. The United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Hamburg 31/03/1978), also known as the Hamburg Rules, was intentionally drafted to unify the rules on maritime transport. Nevertheless, the Hamburg Rules did not have substantial adhesion, creating a dual regime of law concerning the carriage of goods by sea, led both by the Hamburg Rules and the Hague Rules, resulting in an on-going disunification of the international maritime law.

Additional Information

The 1968 Brussels Protocol, popularly known as the Hague-Visby Rules added and replaced many articles of this Convention. According to this Protocol, the limit of liability for loss or damage amounts to 666.67 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) per package, approximately 970.00 USD, or 2 SDRs per kilogram, approximately 1.32 USD per pound, whichever is higher. However, there is no liability limit if the carrier’s conduct shows intent to cause such loss or damage, or was reckless, knowing that such loss or damage would probably result. Ratification of this Protocol has the effect of accession to the Brussels Convention. The major differences between the Hamburg Rules and the Hague Rules, amended by the 1968 Brussels Protocol are the following: Hamburg Rules: Hague Rules, amended by the 1968 Brussels Protocol: . Applies to all contracts for the carriage of goods by sea between two States, except for charter parties. . Applies to contracts for the carriage of goods by sea that are evidenced by a bill of lading. . Liability limit for loss or damage: 835 SDRs (approx. 1,210.00 USD) or 2.5 SDRs per kilogram (approx. 1.65 USD per pound), whichever is higher . Liability for loss of damage: 666.67 SDRs per package (approx. 970.00 USD) or 2 SDRs per kilogram (approx. 1.32 per pound), whichever is higher.

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