Marine Cargo Claims 4 Ed. (MCC, 4 Ed., 2008) has now appeared on the maritime law scene, twenty years after the publication in 1988 of the third edition (MCC, 3 Ed., 1988). The whole context and content of international maritime carriage of goods law has changed in those twenty years. In particular:
- Marine Cargo Claims (MCC, 4 Ed., 2008) has gone from 1305 pages in one volume (in the 3rd Ed., 1988) to 3288 pages in two volumes in the 4th Ed., 2008 (MCC, 4 Ed., 2008).
- MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 reviews the major principles and rules applied historically and today by the common law and the civil law to carriage of goods by sea, providing a detailed summary of those fundamental concepts.
- MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 examines and compares cargo liability before loading, during carriage, and after discharge as seen in the Hague Rules (1924), the Hague/Visby Rules (1968/1979), the Hamburg Rules (1978), and the Multimodal Convention (1980).
- MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 presents basic civil law, common law and maritime law principles as applied to marine cargo claims especially in the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Canada, with copious references as well to the laws of other jurisdictions, including through carriage, combined carriage and transhipment.
- MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 examines and refers to past and recent case-law and writings of many of the world’s most influential authors on maritime transport law, as well as to much significant national legislation.
- MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 not only contains the new maritime and trade law of carriage of goods by sea (including responsibility before loading and after discharge), but also presents 190 pages of summaries of the law of 48 countries written by legal experts from those countries.
- MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 has more than twice as many pages than Marine Cargo Claims, 3 Ed., 1988.
- Conclusion: Readers of MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 will benefit immensely from this greatly expanded new edition of Marine Cargo Claims.
The three main challenges
The three main challenges facing the author were 1) researching, 2) understanding, and then 3) presenting the new legislation and case law of the past twenty years in order to bring the text up-to-date.
It is clear that the law is increasingly complicated, so that practitioners have often become specialists today in one branch of maritime law, rather than the whole field. MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 will be of great benefit to those specialists as well as to the general practitioner.
The audience for MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 has expanded significantly in twenty years and is reflected in Tetley’s website www.mcgill.ca/maritimelaw which receives daily visitors from 90 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North and South America. The website refers constantly to MCC, 4 Ed., 2008 so that the text and website work hand-in-hand.
The Future – the Rotterdam Rules
The Rotterdam Rules (The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea) were signed in Rotterdam on September 23, 2009. The Rotterdam Rules aimed to join various components of international carriage of goods by land and sea including multimodal carriage, negotiability, electronic commerce, freight, liens, right of control, transport documents, liability, delivery, on-carriage ashore etc. etc. into one international convention. The Rotterdam Rules are a valiant effort, but are exceedingly complicated, verbose and repetitive and are therefore difficult to understand by shippers, carriers, charterers, consignees, on-carriers etc. and to put into effect. The Rotterdam Rules also disregard a century and a half of international carriage of goods law drafting style, vocabulary, jurisprudence and internationally accepted definitions. The Rotterdam Rules were proposed by the United States of America, which has only the Hague Rules of 1924 in force (being US COGSA 1936), the United States not having adopted the Visby Rules, the Hamburg rules or the Multimodal Convention. The Rotterdam Rules thus only benefit the United States and even then are so out of step with modern practices already adopted internationally as set out above that they would not benefit even American shippers, carriers, freighforwarders, charterers and on-carriers.
The Rotterdam Rules will only enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of one year after the date of deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. It is doubtful that many of the world’s major shipping nations will ratify the Rotterdam Rules, and those that do will take advantage of the opting-out provisions, particularly in respect to volume contracts, jurisdiction and arbitration, which will result in very little application of the Rotterdam Rules even in respect to those countries, which have seemingly ratified them.
The final text of the Rotterdam Rules will be included in Volume 3 of Marine Cargo Claims 4 Ed., which volume is expected to be published in 2009/2010, with detailed commentaries by William Tetley and by leading authorities and authors from around the world.
N.B. Volumes 1 and 2 of Marine Cargo Claims, 4 Ed., 2008 will be published shortly in Chinese by Dalian Maritime University Press, China.
N.B. Marine Cargo Claims 4 Ed., 2008 (2 Vols., 3288 pages) was recently named co-winner (with Bradley Crawford Q.C. and his book "The Law of Banking and Payment in Canada") of the Canadian Bar Association "Walter S. Owen Book Prize" (totaling $10,000). The prize was for the best book in law in the English language during the past two years in Canada and was presented jointly to Bradley Crawford and William Tetley on November 27, 2009 at 17:00 at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, Canada. Click to view the Announcement .