Bills of Lading

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The transfer of contractual rights

The transfer of contractual rights

9.1 As discussed in the previous chapter, one of the prime functions of a bill of lading is as a contract or evidence of a contract, and most claims under bills of lading are contractual ones. This chapter considers how claims in contract may be brought by or against parties other than an original party to the contract.1 This usually occurs as a result of a transfer of contractual rights.2 Almost without exception the party seeking to transfer rights is the party interested in the cargo, which could be the shipper or any subsequent buyer, rather than the carrier. The transferability of rights of suit against the carrier has been one of the fundamental attributes of a bill of lading for 150 years.

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