Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly

Book Reviews

MARINE CARGO CLAIMS (4th edn). William Tetley, CM, QC. Editions Yvon Blais/Thomson-Carswell, Montreal (2008) 2 vols, ccccxxxii and 2608 pp, plus 199 pp Appendices and 51 pp Index. Hardback £209.
This is a very welcome fourth edition of a well-established work, first published in 1965 by a writer very well known in maritime circles. There has been a gap of 20 years since the last edition and an up-to-date version was surely needed (though much of the accumulating material has been available on Professor Tetley’s website).
The new edition comes in two volumes running in all to more than 3,000 pages; and a further volume on the Rotterdam Rules is projected. It therefore includes much new material, and also takes in the texts of relevant Conventions and Statutes, together with a “National Summaries Inventory”, which contains certain basic information about maritime law in particular jurisdictions. These summaries are about five pages long on average, and cover countries from Argentina to Venezuela. (Some of them contain slightly doubtful information about other jurisdictions, such as a statement in the Malaysian section that the House of Lords in The Starsin [2003] UKHL 12; [2003] 1 AC 715 “showed its unwillingness to apply The Eurymedon” [1975] AC 154. The opinion of Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough in the former case is actually based on some of the Eurymedon reasoning (reasoning against which, as counsel in The New York Star [1981] 1 WLR 138, he had argued strongly).)
The coverage is basically of cases and materials from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and France. As can be seen from the first words of Chapter 1, the emphasis is on the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules; the Hamburg Rules are mentioned, but usually tersely. The discussion of a civil law regime has a broadening effect, but it is of course of French law and related systems: for Germany one has to go to the “Inventory”. But within this limitation, the discussion of reasoning and (especially) drafting method in civil law countries is highly instructive for those trained in other practices.
The value of this book for a common lawyer is as a huge quarry of valuable case law and comment material, across several jurisdictions, including civil law countries. It does not go in for concise guidance and the reader has to exercise his own judgement. Presumably as a result of the way in which it was compiled, some topics come up several times and information is repeated in different forms, whether in the text or the footnotes, many of which are very substantial. An obvious example is that of fundamental breach and deviation, each of which has a separate but overlapping chapter at different points in the book, and which also comes up under particular topics, for example the time bar. The question of burden of proof has its own newly formulated chapter, but also comes up frequently elsewhere, for example in connection with the excepted perils (where a great deal of useful material is accumulated overall). There is even a chapter on the passing of property and risk under the contract of sale, which of course can be very relevant to cargo disputes.
The emphasis given to particular material is not always that which someone trained in the system in which it is used would deploy. For example, if the table of cases is correct, the Hong Kong Fir case [1962] 2 QB 26, concerning on the “macro” scale the reasoning applicable to discharge of


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