Third party protection under the Hague/Hague-Visby Rules
This chapter details the bilateral approach of the Hague/Hague-Visby Rules that showed a preference for a two-party approach with only a few references to third party.
Reviewing the Harter Act and Hague/Hague-Visby Rules, it is clear that the aim of both is to protect their parties (carrier and shipper). In this bilateral approach, the protection of third parties (if any exists) is construed in relation to the protection of the main parties and the vicarious liability of the parties for them as well as the commercial convenience.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century – when, for the first time, the transport industry felt the need to allocate loss and protect parties involved in the carriage of goods by sea – there were only two parties involved and all legislative efforts were focussed on them. When the Harter Act and Hague Rules were written there was no representative of third parties at the table of negotiations. As a result, neither the Harter Act nor the Hague Rules have made any significant difference to the protection of third parties. In the intervening years, the industry and the world more broadly have changed dramatically.