International Maritime Conventions Volume II: Navigation, Securities, Limitation of Liability


International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to Maritime Liens and Mortgages, 1926


The decision to consider the preparation of a uniform law on maritime liens and hypothèques was taken during the CMI Conference held in Amsterdam in 1904. Initially, the proposal had been to draw up a convention on conflict of laws,1 although the view had been expressed that substantial uniformity would have been preferable,2 and some discussion had also taken place in respect of the recognition of a maritime lien in respect of claims for collision damage.3 The Bureau Permanent of the CMI was requested to appoint a commission with the task of preparing a preliminary draft of a treaty on ‘hypothèques et privilèges maritimes’, and a committee was instituted with the mandate to consider the problem and to report to the Bureau Permanent of the CMI.4 The Commission drew up a preliminary draft convention for submission to the subsequent CMI Conference to be held in Liverpool the following year. The document, called ‘Avant-projet de traité sur les hypothèques et les privilèges maritimes’, consisted of an outline of the provisions that were subsequently adopted by the 1926 Convention, namely: (a) a rule of private international law on the law applicable to hypothèques; (b) the priority of certain maritime liens over the hypothèques; (c) the enumeration of such maritime liens; (d) the ranking of such liens and of the hypothèque; and (e) the period of their validity. During the general discussion5 a question of terminology was raised by the English delegate T. G. Carver, who so stated6:

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