Hague Rules


A set of rules designed to resolve the problem of shipowners excluding themselves from all liability for loss or damage to cargo. The Hague Rules established a minimum mandatory liability for carriers. Under these rules the shipper bears the cost of loss or damage to goods if they cannot prove that the vessel was unseaworthy, improperly manned or unable to safely transport and preserve the cargo. The carrier can avoid liability for risks resulting from human errors if “reasonable care” can be proved and if the vessel was properly manned and deemed seaworthy. The Hague Rules were established at a conference of maritime nations in 1922 at The Hague, Netherlands and are observed by 90 per cent of countries although there are regional addenda. The US adopted the Hague Rules with some changes in 1936 when it passed the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act in 1936.

See Carriage of Goods by Sea Act.

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