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Unit information: Carriage of Goods in 2018/19

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Unit name Carriage of Goods
Unit code LAWDM0006
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mrs. Campbell
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The English law on this subject is of international importance due to the widespread practice of adopting English law and jurisdiction in sales and carriage contracts. The unit studies the two main types of contract for the carriage of goods by sea. The unit considers the problems of identifying the relevant contracting parties in bills of lading contracts and the difficulties of suing in contract where the parties frequently have no express contract with the shipowners and have to rely on statutory or judicial implication of a contract. The application of the mandatory Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, to bill of lading contracts is also considered, as well as the ways in which the carrier's independent contractors can rely on them when sued non-contractually. In relation to charterparties, the unit considers how the problems posed by specialised clauses dealing with the effects of delay, damage to vessel and cargo and remedies in the event of non-performance by either party have been resolved. The unit also examines contracts of carriage by road and the applicable mandatory code.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit a student should be able to explain:

  • the process of identifying the relevant contracting parties in bills of lading and sea waybill contracts,
  • the identification of the contractual carrier,
  • the evidential effect of terms in the bill of lading,
  • the terms implied into contracts of carriage (the warranty of seaworthiness and the obligation not to deviate),
  • the application of the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules to contracts of carriage,
  • the liability of charterers and bills of lading holders in respect of freight,
  • the apportionment of loss due to delay by the laytime regime in voyage charters (including specialised clauses such as 'time lost', '
  • 'wibon',
  • 'reachable on arrival',
  • the off-hire regime in time charters,
  • the shipowner's remedies against charterers by way of lien and, in the case of time charters, by way of withdrawal,
  • the CMR regime for international contracts for the carriage of goods by road.

Students should be able to state the law accurately, to apply legal principles to problem case scenarios and to think critically about ways in which the law could be reformed. The unit is also intended to improve the benchmark skills of analysis and synthesis.

Teaching details

The contact hours for this unit will be 30 hours. This will usually take the format of: 8 lectures, 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions.

Assessment Details

Summative: a 2000 word essay (33%) will assess the candidate's ability to research a topic within the scope of this unit. The remaining Intended Learning Outcomes will be assessed in a 3 hour written examination (67%). Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

Reading and References

Latest editions of the following:

Baughen S., Shipping Law

Todd P., Principles of Carriage of Goods by Sea

Cases and articles as directed.