This book centres on the sea carrier's liability for loss of or damage to goods under convention based regimes. The Hague, Hauge-Visby and Hamburg Rules have become the main reason for lack of uniformity in the field of the carriage of goods by sea today with their different texts and legislative styles. Preface; The book deals with the carrier's liability for breach of contract of sea carriage of goods under the convention-based regimes: the Hague Rules, the Hague-Visby Rules and the Hamburg Rules. Dr. Karan has undertaken an ambitious and brave task in joining an ongoing debate on whether the maritime transport industry needs all the 3 conventions on the same subject: the legal regime relating to carriage of goods. The book is divided into four broad Parts and a Conclusion. Part I deals with the preliminaries by setting out the basis for the carriers' liability under Roman Law, Common Law, Civil Law and Convention regimes. Part II is devoted to conditions applicable to the contract of carriage under the same regimes following the pattern set out Part I. Part III deals with exclusions and exemptions of the carriers' liability.
Finally, Part IV deals with limitation of damages and liabilities by the carrier. The book concludes with exhaustive concluding remarks. The book starts on the premises that the unification, clarification and simplification of domestic legislation regulating carriage of goods by sea have always been the aim of shippers who wish to ascertain and minimize their contractual liability and insurance risks in such contracts. The book argues that it is for those reasons that the three international conventions (Hague Rules, Hague-Visby and the Hamburg Rules) were enacted. However, with differing textual approaches and legislative styles these conventions have themselves become the main obstacle to uniformity in international sea carriage today, with different countries applying different regimes. The book then examines and explains the necessity for, and the needed, amendments to the Conventions in comparison with the other carriage conventions (by Air, Road, Rail and Multi-modal Transport).
This particular approach to, and the explanations and examinations of, the subject is not only unique but also puts the Rules in perspective and makes it easy for, especially practitioners, to better appreciate. Furthermore it also leaves it easier for undergraduates, post-graduates, and advanced researchers and scholars who might wish to pursue further research to do so. Secondly, the book identifies, evaluates, and compares the carrier's liabilities under the three conventions and determines the conditions of such liabilities and exemptions. In particular the author does not shy away from asking and answering questions as to whether the conventions lead to certainty in the international sea carriage regime and, if so, whether they have kept up to date with economic, political and technological developments in the field. The main arguments that the book highlights is the Anglo-American or Common Law approach versus the Continental or Civil law approach which has dodged this area of the law and made difficult attempts to unify the Conventions. This argument has been made in the past but not as strongly as in this instance.
The book concludes that there are no substantial differences in practice between the Hague and Hamburg liability regimes except for what the book refers to as "the archaic nautical fault and fire exemptions", and that the latter, which contain all the Visiby amendments and the SDR Protocols, were more clearly drafted with the needs of modern trade in mind and have brought the regime into line with other modern transport Conventions. Having examined all the strengths and weaknesses of the three conventions, the author comes down on the side of the Hamburg Rules, as the preferred and more international and forward-looking convention on carriage by sea. In committing himself to one side, the author has not avoided the central debate on the subject, if anything he has aided it. Having so nailed its flag to the mast, the book also cautions that the Hamburg Rules themselves, to a certain extent, need some clarification and amendments to be more acceptable and accommodating.
As an example in this respect, attention is drawn to Articles 5 and 6, which require the carrier to prove that the "exempted occurrence" causing the loss and to the exercise of care expected from a prudent carrier to avoid the occurrence and its consequences, which amend the burden of proving the fault of the carrier, his servants or agents in favor of the cargo interest, and change the limitation measures and unit of accounts. Other strengths of the book are the wide search and literature coverage: apart from the traditional inclusion of Annexes of the three Conventions including the latest ratification status; application of the rules or domestic statutes, and monetary limits to the carriers' liability in various countries; there is extensive provision of abbreviations used and extensive citing of authoritative sources; and wide provisions of exhaustive bibliography of conventions, reports, statutes, authors and cases. Another bonus is the inclusion of materials on the author's native country: Turkish maritime law.
This is particularly interesting as the Turkish maritime law is itself based on a modified Germanic and Civil Law Codes; there is also mention of current reforms in that country in a bid to join the European Community. Other strengths of the book are the comparative approach to Continental Civil (Belgium, France, Germany and Greece) and Common Law (UK, Australia), including the Anglo-American (US and Canada) tradition as well as the Scandinavian and Far Eastern (e.g. China) jurisdictions. In producing this book the author has made efficient use of his: legal and academic training; association with the International Chamber of Commerce; experiences with the International Maritime Organisation; and skills as one of the advisors of his government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on maritime and aviation matters. The author is to be congratulated on the admirable grasp he displays of the wealth of materials at his disposal. Although not necessarily original, the concept is intriguing, the approach is balanced and persuasive, and the study as a whole provides valuable contribution to an understanding of the problems facing the truncated maritime law convention regime at the present day.
In advocating a streamlined policy towards sea carriage conventions Dr. Karan makes a forceful and persuasive case which gains additional strength when advanced during a period of widespread concerns. The book will be a valuable addition to knowledge and scholarship in maritime law generally and the convention-based regimes of sea carriage in particular. It will no doubt benefit practitioners, lawyers, shippers, policy makers, lawmakers, as well as law and business studies' students and the more advanced scholars and researchers.