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CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA

When carriers became powerful in the 19th century they included limitation of liability rules in their bills of lading. These rules resulted in hardship for shippers. In the USA this problem led to the adoption by Congress of the Harter Act of 1892 which sets out the liability of carriers for the care of their cargoes and imposed restrictions on the use of limitation of liability clauses in bills of lading. The Harter Act 1892 was used in 1924 as a model for the drafting of the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading which is popularly known as the Hague Rules. These rules describe the liability of ocean carriers for damage to, or loss of, goods on the seas. In the USA, the Convention was implemented by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act of 1936. In 1924, the Australian Parliament enacted the Sea Carriage of Goods Act which introduced the Hague Rules into Australian law.1 For the next 67 years2 these Rules governed international sea carriage of goods from Australia to overseas destinations.3