The carriage of goods by sea starts off with a contract of carriage, an essentially simple and straightforward contract between two parties, the shipper and the carrier. Very often, however, a bill of lading is issued and a third party appears on the scene: the holder of the bill of lading. The holder was not involved in the making of the contract of carriage, but does have rights, and possibly obligations, against the carrier at destination. The question then is how the third-party holder of the bill acquires those rights and obligations.
Analysing the different theories that have been proposed to explain the position of the third party holder, this book makes a distinction between contractual theories and non-contractual theories to explain the holder's position. Contractual theories build on the initial contract of carriage and apply contract law mechanisms while non-contractual theories construe the position of the third-party holder independently.
Following the analysis and appraisal of the different theories, this book makes the case that the position of the third-party holder of the bill of lading is not obvious or self-evident; and submits that a statutory approach to the position of the holder of the bill of lading has advantages and would be preferable.
Table of Contents
2. The functions of the bill of lading.
3. Contractual theories.
4. Non-contractual theories.
5. Bill of lading clauses.
6. Towards a statutory conception of the bill of lading.
Frank Stevens is Assistant Professor in the Law School at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is also admitted to the Antwerp Bar.