J I MacWilliam Co Inc v Mediterranean Shipping Company S A, “The Rafaela S”: CA 16 Apr 2003

Machinery was damaged whilst in transit, on the second of two legs. The contract described itself as a through bill of lading, but the port of discharge was not the final destination.
Held: The contract was a straight bill of lading. A straight bill of lading requires delivery of the goods to the named consignee and no other. The first carrier acted only as an agent in arranging the on-carriage by the second carrier. A straight bill of lading is a ‘bill of lading or any similar document of title’ within the Act.


Lord Justice Rix Lord Justice Peter Gibson Mr Justice Jacob


[2003] EWCA Civ 556, Times 05-May-2003, Gazette 03-Jul-2003, [2004] QB 702, [2003] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 113




Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971


England and Wales


CitedSanders v Maclean CA 1883
‘The law as to the indorsement of bills of lading is as clear as in my opinion the practice of all European merchants is thoroughly understood. A cargo at sea is incapable of physical delivery, and a bill of lading by the law merchant is universally . .
Appeal fromJ I MacWilliam Co Inc v Mediterranean Shipping Co Sa ComC 17-Apr-2002
A straight bill of lading did not fall within section 1(4) of the 1971 Act and article I (b) of the Rules. . .
CitedStafford Allen and Sons Ltd v Pacific Steam Navigation Company 1956
A first carrier’s bill of lading provided for shipment at Nicaragua, discharge and transshipment at Cristobal by a named ‘on carrier’ and a final destination in London. Clause 11, dealt with the circumstances of transshipment, to the effect that the . .
CitedThe Anders Maersk 1986
(Hong Kong High Court) A bill of lading stated that the port of shipment was Baltimore and the port of discharge was Shanghai. The bill gave a right of transshipment, which was exercised at Hong Kong. It was described as a through bill of lading. It . .
CitedParsons Corporation and others v C V Scheepvaartonderneming ‘The Happy Ranger’ CA 17-May-2002
There was a contact for the carriage by sea of three reactors. The contract applied the Hage-Visby rules.
Held: The contract applied the rules as they would apply in the country of shipment if they were applied mandatorily. The contact should . .
CitedC P Henderson and Co v The Comptoir D’Escompte de Paris PC 1873
The court considered a bill of lading in the usual form, save that the words ‘or order or assigns’ are omitted. The court was prepared to assume that such a bill was not a negotiable instrument. It was argued that, notwithstanding the omission of . .
CitedThe Ship ‘Marlborough Hill’ v Alex Cowan and Sons Limited PC 1921
The question was whether a document, describing itself as a bill of lading but written in the form of a receipt of goods for (rather than of) shipment, was a bill of lading for the purposes of the Act, which set out the jurisdiction of the admiralty . .
CitedThrige v United Shipping Company Ltd CA 1924
The plaintiff sold machinery to a purchaser in England. The terms of sale were cash against documents. Thrige took a straight bill of lading which named the Victoria Company as the consignee without any reference to ‘or order or assigns’. The goods . .
CitedHugh Mack and Co Ltd v Burns and Laird Lines Ltd 1944
The shipment was of men’s clothing carried pursuant to a consignment note and receipt stamped ‘Non-negotiable’. The consignment note named consignees in Scotland and stated: ‘Please receive for forwarding per Burns and Laird Lines’ steamers the . .
CitedGardano and Giampieri v Greek Petroleum George Mamidakis and Co 1961
The shipment was made under a candf sale contract, a straight bill of lading, pursuant to a charterparty between the defendant and the claimant shipowner, Gardano. The bill named the Greek Ministry as consignee. The shipowner argued, relying on the . .
CitedKum and Another v Wah Tat Bank Ltd HL 1971
‘Negotiable’, when used in relation to a bill of lading, means simply transferable. A negotiable bill of lading is not negotiable in the strict sense; it cannot, as can be done by the negotiation of a bill of exchange, give to the transferee a . .
CitedThe Captain Gregos CA 1990
A cargo of oil had been carried under bills of lading incorporating the Hague-Visby Rules. There was an alleged theft of part of the cargo, and the question was whether article III rule 6 of the rules barred the claim on the ground that it had not . .
CitedThe Sormovskiy 3068 QBD 1994
It makes commercial sense to have a simple rule that in the absence of an express term of the contract the master must only deliver the cargo to the holder of the bill of lading who presents it to him. In that way both the shipowners and the persons . .
CitedThe Stettin 1889
A bill of lading was issued by the owners of a German flag vessel and covered carriage from London to Stettin. It was made out to a named consignee ‘or to his or their assigns’ who was the agent for Julius Manasse in Breslau, and was instructed by . .
DistinguishedThe Chitral 2000
The PNSC bill of lading named the consignee of goods carried on the defendant’s vessel. Goods were damaged during the voyage. The bill of lading was otherwise in conventional form, but the box in which the consignee was to be named said ‘If order . .

Cited by:

Appealed toJ I MacWilliam Co Inc v Mediterranean Shipping Co Sa ComC 17-Apr-2002
A straight bill of lading did not fall within section 1(4) of the 1971 Act and article I (b) of the Rules. . .
Appeal fromJ I MacWilliam Company Inc v Mediterranean Shipping Company SA; The ‘Rafaela S’ HL 16-Feb-2005
A US company bought a printing machine and ancillary equipment on CIF terms from an English company. The sellers consigned the goods to the buyers. The carriers were a container liner operator and the demise charterers of the vessels ‘Rosemary’ and . .
CitedAl-Hasan, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Feb-2005
Prisoners were disciplined after refusing to be squat searched, saying that the procedure was humiliating and that there were no reasonable grounds to suspect them of any offence against prison discipline. The officer who had been involved in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Transport, Arbitration

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.181376