Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly


Anthony Diamond QC

This is a revised and updated edition of an article by the author entitled “The next sea carriage Convention?”. 1 The original article contained a preliminary discussion of the draft Convention as of February 2008, based on the text approved by the UNCITRAL Working Group on Transport Law on 24 January 2008. That draft was later presented to the annual session of the UNCITRAL Commission (New York,16 June to 3 July, 2008) for final negotiations and approval, in the course of which the text was amended. The approved draft was then adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 11 December 2008. This revised article contains a commentary on the official text of 11 December 2008, with a reconsidered and, in some respects, more detailed discussion of some of the legal and other issues raised by it.


Background 2

In the context of English maritime law the Hague Rules of 1924 as amended by the Protocol of 1968 (“the Hague-Visby Rules”) have come to be regarded as the central code defining the basic rights and obligations of the parties to a contract for the carriage of goods by sea. In an international context, however, those Rules have long seemed ripe for reform and probably replacement. The reasons for this are various and include: (i) the effect of containerisation, including the use of contracts of combined (later called multimodal) transport; (ii) the narrow scope of the Hague-Visby Rules, which apply to contracts covered by a bill of lading or any similar document of title and only for the



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