Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971

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The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971 is a United Kingdom Act of Parliament.[1] It incorporates the Hague-Visby Rules into English Law; and the Rules are to be found as the Schedule to the Act. The Act does not use the term "Hague-Visby Rules" as such; instead, the Rules are referred to in that Act as the "Hague Rules As Amended".

Under Article X, the Rules apply if ("a) the bill of lading is issued in a contracting State, or (b) the carriage is from a port in a contracting State, or (c) the contract (of carriage) provides that(the) Rules ... are to govern the contract". If the Rules apply, the entire text of Rules is incorporated into the contract of carriage, and any attempt to exclude the Rules is void under Article III (8).

Section 3 of the Act provides that there is no strict (or absolute) duty to provide a seaworthy ship.[2] Under the Rules, the carrier must merely exercise due diligence, before and at the start of the voyage, to provide a seaworthy ship.

The Hague-Visby Rules were amended by a protocol in 1979, but not all signatories to the Rules have adopted the amendments.[3]

Additional UK provisions[edit]

Although Article I(c) of the Rules exempts live animals and deck cargo, section 1(7) of the Act restores both items into the category of "goods"covered by the law of carriage of goods by sea.

Also, although Article III(4) declares a bill of lading to be a mere prima facie evidence of the receipt by the carrier of the goods", section 4 of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992 upgrades a bill of lading to be "conclusive evidence of receipt".

See also[edit]


  1. "Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971". 
  2. CoGSA 1971 s.3: "There shall not be implied in any contract for the carriage of goods by sea to which the Rules apply by virtue of this Act any absolute undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship"
  3. The Jackson Parton Miscellany - 2nd edition, 2012 - (no ISBN) -