We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By continuing to use the website, you consent to our use of cookies. Close

II.5.10 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE UNIFICATION OF CERTAIN RULES RELATING TO BILLS OF LADING. SIGNED AT BRUSSELS, AUGUST 25, 1924

The Ratification of Maritime Conventions

Chapter I.5.10

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE UNIFICATION OF CERTAIN RULES OF LAW RELATING TO BILLS OF LADING, 1924

ADOPTED: Done at Brussels, 25 August 1924
REFERENCE: HAGUE RULES 1924
ENTERED INTO FORCE: 2 June 1931
DEPOSITARY: Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
SECRETARY: Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

IMPLEMENTATION

SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION AND ACCESSION

Article XI

After an interval of not more than two years from the day on which the Convention is signed, the Belgian Government shall place itself in communication with the governments of the High Contracting Parties which have declared themselves prepared to ratify the Convention, with a view to deciding whether it shall be put into force. The ratifications shall be deposited at Brussels at a date to be fixed by agreement among the said governments. The first deposit of ratifications shall be recorded in a procews-verbal signed by the representatives of the powers which take part therein and by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The subsequent deposits of ratifications shall be made by means of a written notification, addressed to the Belgian Government and accompanied by the instrument of ratification.

A duly certified copy of the procews-verbal relating to the first deposit of ratifications, of the notifications referred to in the previous paragraph, and also of the instruments of ratification accompanying them, shall be immediately sent by the Belgian Government through the diplomatic channel to the powers who have signed this Convention or who have acceded to it. In cases contemplated in the preceding paragraph the said Government shall inform them at the same time of the date on which it received the notification.

Article XII

Non-signatory States may accede to the present Convention whether or not they have been represented at the International Conference at Brussels.

A State which desires to accede shall notify its intention in writing to the Belgian Government, forwarding to it the document of accession, which shall be deposited in the archives of the said Government.

The Belgian Government shall immediately forward to all the States which have signed or acceded to the Convention a duly certified copy of the notification and of the act of accession, mentioning the date on which it received the notification.

ENTRY INTO FORCE

Article XIV

The present Convention shall take effect, in the case of the States which have taken part in the first deposit of ratifications, one year after the date of the process-verbal recording such deposit. As respects the States which ratify subsequently or which accede, and also in cases in which the Convention is subsequently put into effect in accordance with Article XIII, it shall take effect six months after the notifications specified in paragraph 2 of article XI, and paragraph 2 of article XII, have been received by the Belgian Government.

DENUNCIATION

Article XV

In the event of one of the Contracting States wishing to denounce the present Convention, the denunciation shall be notified in writing to the Belgian Government, which shall immediately communicate a duly certified copy of the notification to all the other States informing them of the date on which it was received.

The denunciation shall only operate in respect of the State which made the notification, and on the expiry of one year after notification has reached the Belgian Government.

AMENDMENTS

Article XVI

Any one of the Contracting States shall have the right to call for a fresh conference with a view to considering possible amendments.

A State which would exercise this right should notify its intention to the other States through the Belgian Government, which would make arrangements for convening the Conference.

TERRITORIAL APPLICATION

Article XIII

The High Contracting Parties may at any time of signature, ratification, or accession declare that their acceptance of the present Convention does not include any or all of the self-governing dominions, or of the colonies, overseas possessions, protectorates, or territories under their sovereignty or authority, and they may subsequently accede separately on behalf of any self-governing dominion, colony, overseas possession, protectorate, or territory excluded in their declaration. They may also denounce the Convention separately in accordance with its provisions in respect of any self-governing dominion, or any colony, overseas possession, protectorate, or territory under their sovereignty or authority.

DECLARATIONS AND RESERVATIONS

Australia

“ . . . now therefore, i sir william joseph slim, the Governor-General in and over the Commonwealth of Australia acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council and in the exercise of all powers me thereunto enabling do by these presents accede in the name and on behalf of Her Majesty in respect of the Commonwealth of Australia and Norfolk Island to the Convention aforesaid subject to the following reservations, namely:

(a) The Commonwealth of Australia reserves the right to exclude from the operation of legislation passed to give effect to the Convention the carriage of goods by sea which is not carriage in the course of trade or commerce with other countries or among the States of Australia.

(b) The Commonwealth of Australia reserves the right to apply Article VI of the Convention in so far as the national coasting trade is concerned to all classes of goods without taking account of the restriction set out in the last paragraph of that Article.”

Belgium

[IML translation] Upon the deposit of the instrument of ratification of His Majesty the King of Belgium, the Belgian Foreign Ministry declared that in accordance with the provisions of article XIII of the Convention the ratification only applies to Belgium, that is to say, it excludes the mandate territories of the Belgian Congo and Rwanda-Urundi.

Brussels, 2 June 1930

Belgian Foreign Ministry

(s) Paul Hymans

Cameroon

[IML translation] The Belgian Government asked the Government of Cameroon to clarify its position with respect of this Convention, the Government of Cameroon responded in a Note verbale dated 20 January 1983 (ref. no 00404/Dipl. SAT.15) that the United Republic of Cameroon is not a party to the said Convention.

Cuba

[IML translation] The Government of Cuba reserves the right not to apply the terms of the Convention to the transport of goods in the navigation of the national coasting trade.

Denmark

[IML translation] “ . . . as far as Denmark is concerned this accession is made with a reservation that the other Contracting States do not raise any objection to the limitation of the application of the provisions of the Convention in the following manner:

1. The Danish law of navigation, of 2 May 1957, will continue to permit that in the cases of national coasting trade, bills of lading and other similar documents are drawn up in conformity with Danish law, without the application of the provisions of the Convention relating to the relationship between the carrier and the holder of the document in the way they (the carrier and the holder) are determined by those documents.

2. It will consider equivalent to national coasting trade as mentioned in paragraph 1, the maritime transport between Denmark and other nordic states with analogous provisions on navigation if and when a provision is drawn up in this way by virtue of the last paragraph of article 122 of the Danish law of Navigation.

3. The provisions of the International Conventions relating to the Transport of Passengers and their Luggage and to the Transport of Goods by Rail, signed at Rome, 23 November 1933, will not be affected by this Convention.”

Egypt

[IML translation] “ . . . We have decided to accede to the said Convention and we promise to do everything in our power to implement it. The Government of Egypt is, all the same, of the opinion, that the Convention as a whole does not apply to the national coasting trade. Consequently, the Government of Egypt reserves the right to regulate the national coasting trade in its own legislation. This being said . . .”

Fiji

[IML translation] Accession effected by Great Britain, in conformity with article XIII, on 22 August 1972 a letter was received at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Trade and Co-operation and Development from Mr. K. T. T. Mara, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Fiji, notifying that as far as this Convention was concerned, the government of Fiji would undertake the rights and obligations previously underwritten by the United Kingdom from the date of Fijian independence, that is to say, 10 October 1970.

German Democratic Republic

[IML translation] On 20 January 1958, the Belgian Government received a letter from the Government of the German Democratic Republic declaring the re-application of the Convention for the German Democratic Republic.

On 15 February 1974, the Belgian Government received a letter from the Government of the German Democratic Republic declaring re-application to the Convention for the German Democratic Republic with effect from 27 July, 1958.

Germany, Federal Republic of

[IML translation] This Convention entered into force as from 1 November, 1953 between, on the one hand, the Federal Republic of Germany and, on the other hand, the Allied Powers with the exception of Hungary, Poland and Romania. The Convention was extended to Berlin with effect from 1 November 1953

On 29 January 1976 a note verbale was received, dated 23 January 1976, from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, declaring that as far as relations between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany are concerned, the declaration of the latter dated 31 January 1974, will not have retroactive effect beyond 21 June 1973.

Ireland

“ . . . subject to the following declarations and reservations:

1. In relation to the carriage of goods by sea in ships carrying goods from any port in Ireland to any other port in Ireland or to a port in the United Kingdom, Ireland will apply Article VI of the Convention as though the Article referred to goods of any class instead of to particular goods, and as though the proviso in the third paragraph of the said Article were omitted;

2. Ireland does not accept the provisions of the first paragraph of Article IX of the Convention.”

Ivory Coast

[IML translation] “The Government of the Republic of Ivory Coast, in acceding to this Convention provides that:

1. In the application of article XI of the Convention relating to the value of monetary units, the limit of liability is equal to the counter-value in Francs CFA in relation to one pound in gold or to two pounds paper sterling, according to the rate of exchange prevailing on the day of the arrival of the ship at the port of discharge.

2. The Government reserves the right to legislate by special provisions in its national law the system of limitation of liability applicable to maritime transport between two ports of the Republic of Ivory Coast.”

Japan

[IML translation] “ . . . Subject to the reservations made to S.E, the Foreign Minister of Belgium, relating to this treaty and to my letter of 25 August 1925”

Upon signing the International Convention relating to the Unification of Certain Rules of Bills of Lading, the undersigned, Plenipotentiary of Japan, made the following reservations:

(a) article IV: Japan does not accept the provisions of (a) to paragraph 2 of article IV until further notice.

(b) Japan considers that the Convention as a whole does not apply to national coasting trade, consequently, there was no need to include it in the Protocol. All the same, if this is not so, Japan reserves the right to regulate freely the national coasting trade in its own legislation.

M. Adatci

Brussels, 25 August 1925

. . . The Government of Japan declares:

1. That it reserves the application of the first paragraph of Article XI of the Convention.

2. That it maintains the reservation (b) formulated in the annexed note of the letter of the Japanese ambassador addressed to the Minister of foreign Affairs, dated the 25th August 1925, relating to the right to regulate freely national coasting trade in its own legislation.

3. It withdraws the reservation (a) of the said note relating to the provisions of (a) to paragraph 2 of Article IV of the Convention.

Kuwait

[Translation]: “ . . . subject to the following reservation: The maximum amount for liability for any loss or damage to or in connection with goods referred to in Article IV paragraph 5, to be raised to £250 instead of £100.”

[IML translation] France and Norway objected to this reservation. Norway’s objection was registered on 12 April 1979 by the Belgian Government.

By a note dated 30 March 1971, received by the Belgian Government on 30 April 1971, the government of Kuwait declared that the amount of “250” should be replaced by “Kuwaiti Dinars 250”.

Nauru

Accession was by the Australia Commonwealth in the name of the United Kingdom for Nauru, according to article XIII, with the following reservations:

(a) the right to exclude from the operation of legislation passed to give effect to the Convention the carriage of goods by sea which is not carriage in the course of trade or commerce with other countries or among the territory of Nauru;

(b) the right to apply Article VI of the Convention in so far as the national coasting trade is concerned to all classes of goods without taking account of the restriction set out in the last paragraph of that Article.”

Netherlands

[IML translation] . . . Desiring to make use of the opportunity of accession open to non-signatory states in article XII of the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules relating to Bills of Lading and the Protocol of signature, adopted at Brussels, 25 August 1924. We have decided to accede definitely to the said Convention and Protocol of signature for the Kingdom in Europe and promise to do everything in our power to implement it, at the same time reserving the right, as provided,

1. To prescribe that in the cases referred to in article IV paragraph 2 (c) to (p) of the Convention, the holder of a bill of lading shall be entitled to establish responsibility for loss or damage arising from the personal fault of the carrier or the fault of his servants which are not covered by paragraph (a) of article IV.

2. To apply article VI, in so far as the national coasting trade is concerned to all classes of goods without taking into account the restrictions set out in the last paragraph of that article.

With reservations:

  • 1. the Government of the Netherlands does not accede to the first paragraph of article IX of the Convention
  • 2. that the law of the Netherlands could limit the possibilities to provide contrary evidence to dispute a bill of lading.

Norway

[IML translation] The accession of Norway to the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules relating to Bills of Lading, signed Brussels, 25th of August 1924, as well as the Protocol of signature and the Annex, is made with a reservation that the other Contracting States do not raise any objection to the limitation of the application of the provisions of the Convention in the following manner:

1. The Norwegian law of navigation will continue to permit that in the cases of national coasting trade, bills of lading and other similar documents are drawn up in conformity with Norwegian law, without the application of the provisions of the Convention relating to the relationship between the carrier and the holder of the document in the way they (the carrier and the holder) are determined by those documents.

2. It will consider equivalent to national coasting trade as mentioned in paragraph 1, the maritime transport between Norway and other nordic states with analogous provisions on navigation, if and when a provision is drawn up in this way by virtue of the last paragraph of article 122 of the Norwegian law of Navigation.

3. The provisions of the International Conventions relating to the Transport of Passengers and their Luggage and to the Transport of Goods by Rail, signed at Rome, 23 November 1933, will not be affected by this Convention.

Papua New Guinea

Accession was by the Australia Commonwealth in the name of the United Kingdom for Papua and New Guinea, according to article XIII, with the following reservations:

“(a) the right to exclude from the operation of legislation passed to give effect to the Convention the carriage of goods by sea which is not carriage in the course of trade or commerce with other countries or among the territories of Papua and New-Guinea;

(b) the right to apply Article VI of the Convention in so far as the national coasting trade is concerned to all classes of goods without taking account of the restriction set out in the last paragraph of that Article.”

Singapore

[IML translation] Accession effected by Great Britain for the Straits Settlements (of which Singapore is a part), in conformity with the provisions of article XIII.

On 18 June 1974, a note verbale was received at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Overseas trade and Co-operation and Development from the Foreign Ministry of Singapore dated 31 May 1974, declaring that the Republic of Singapore considered herself to be linked to this Convention with effect from her accession to independence, namely 19 August 1965.

Switzerland

[IML translation] In accordance with paragraph 2 of the Protocol of signature, the Federal authorities reserve the right to give effect to this International act by including in Swiss legislation in a form appropriate to that legislation the rules adopted under this Convention.

Tanganyika

“The Government of Tanganyika has requested the Government of Belgium to circulate the following remarks concerning Tanganyika’s relation to the International Convention for the unification of certain rules of Law, relating to Bills of Lading, done at Brussels, August 25th, 1924.

Tanganyika acceded to the Convention by Instrument dated November 6th, 1962. As the Convention had been applied to the territory of Tanganyika prior to its independence, Tanganyika was given the opportunity to declare that it considered the Convention in force as to its territory from the date of independence, rather than having to wait the normal six-month period provided for in article 11 of the Convention. While Tanganyika availed itself of this opportunity of having the Convention in force from the day of its independence by virtue of the Instrument of November 16, 1962, this in no way should be considered as indicating that Tanganyika considered itself bound by the United Kingdom accession to the Convention which had applied to the territory of Tanganyika prior to independence. It is the position of Tanganyika that it has adhered to the Convention of its own volition and did not inherit, or consider itself in any way bound, by the obligations of the Government of the United Kingdom vis-à-vis the Convention.”

United Kingdom

“ . . . i declare that His Britannic Majesty’s Government adopt the last reservation in the additional Protocol of the Bills of Lading Convention.

i further declare that my signature applies only to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I reserve the right of each of the British Dominions, Colonies, Overseas Possessions and Protectorates, and of each of the territories over which His Britannic Majesty exercises a mandate to accede to this Convention under Article XIII.

(s.) George Grahame,

His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador at Brussels.”

“ . . . In accordance with Article XIII of the above named Convention, I declare that the acceptance of the Convention given by His Britannic Majesty in the instrument of ratification deposited this day extends only to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and does not apply to any of His Majesty’s Colonies or Protectorates, or territories under suzerainty or mandate.

(s.) Granville,

His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador at Brussels.”

United States of America

“ . . . and whereas, the Senate of the United States of America by their resolution of April 1 (legislative day March 13), 1935 (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein) did advise and consent to the ratification of the said convention and protocol of signature thereto, with the understanding, to be made a part of such ratification, that, notwithstanding the provisions of Article IV, Section 5, and the first paragraph of Article IX of the convention, neither the carrier nor the ship shall in any event be or become liable within the jurisdiction of the United States of America for any loss or damage to or in connection with goods in an amount exceeding $500.00, lawful money of the United States of America, per package or unit unless the nature and value of such goods have been declared by the shipper before shipment and inserted in the bill of lading.

and whereas, the Senate of the United States of America by their resolution of May 6, 1937 (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein), did add to and make a part of their aforesaid resolution of April 1, 1935, the following understanding:

That should any conflict arise between the provisions of the Convention and the provisions of the Act of April 16, 1936 known as the ‘Carriage of Goods by Sea Act’, the provisions of said Act shall prevail:

now, therefore, be it known that I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said convention and protocol of signature, do hereby, in pursuance of the aforesaid advice and consent of the Senate, ratify and confirm the same and every article and clause thereof, subject to the two understandings hereinabove recited and made part of this ratification.

in testimony whereof . . . ”

The rest of this document is only available to i-law.com online subscribers.

If you are already a subscriber, please enter your details below to log in.

Enter your email address to log in as a user on your corporate account.
Remember me on this computer

Not yet an i-law subscriber?

Devices

Request a trial Find out more

Unable to display the content
Unable to display the content
Unable to display the content
Unable to display the content