Hague Rules, Hague-Visby Rules and Hamburg Rules
RULES GOVERNING SHIPMENT BY SEA:
HAGUE RULES, HAGUE-VISBY RULES AND HAMBURG RULES
The nature of the Hague-Visby Rules was discussed by the House of Lords in The Hollandia  AC 565 (HL). The plaintiffs (shippers) shipped a piece of road-finishing machinery on board a Dutch vessel, ‘The Morviken’, belonging to the defendant carriers to Bonaire in the Dutch West Indies. The bill of lading issued in England limited the carriers liability to Dutch Florins 1,250 ($250) which was less than the 10,000 Francs per package prescribed under Article IV rule (5)(a) of the Hague-Visby Rules. The 10,000 Francs is an increase from the 100pound fixed under the Hague Rules. In addition, the bill of lading carried an express clause submitting the
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However, under the Hague-Visby Rules, the adoption of a jurisdiction and a law totally unconnected with the contract of carriage to govern the bill of lading is still possible. But if such a choice is made so as to avoid the application of the Hague-Visby Rules, then that choice is considered null and void. In addition, the Hague Rules required explicit incorporation, while the Hague-Visby Rules are automatically incorporated into the contract of affreightment. Where a contract of affreightment recorded in a bill of lading is of carriage of goods by sea from a port in another state, the Hague-Visby Rules apply, provided that the bill of lading was issued by a contracting state, or the goods were shipped from a port in a contracting state. A contracting state is one which has adopted the Rules, by making them a part of the law of that state. F none of these conditions are found, the parties are free, if they so wish, to expressly adopt the Hague-Visby Rules, in the bill of lading. The contract of carriage must be evidenced in a bill of lading, as a precondition for the application of the Rules.
The Hague-Visby Rules, however, go further than the Hague Rules in another aspect. Unlike the Hague Rules, the Hague-Visby Rules apply contracts for the carriage of goods by sea evidenced not only by a bill of lading but also by any receipt which is a non-negotiable document marked as such if the contract contained in or