J 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 ‘Rafaela S’. The goods were shipped from Durban aboard the ‘Rosemary,’ as evidenced by a document entitled ‘Bill of Lading’ dated 18 December 1989, which was issued by the demise charterers at Durban. The bill of lading evidenced a contract for the carriage of the cargo to Felixstowe and for on-carriage to be subsequently arranged to the final destination at Boston. The Bill of Lading named the buyers as consignees The machinery was damaged in the course of their carriage.
Held: The document was a bill of lading. The contract of carriage fell within the terms of article I(b) of the Hague Rules and of the Hague-Visby Rules. Appeal dismissed.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Steyn, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood
Times 21-Feb-2005, [2005] UKHL 11, [2005] 2 All ER 86
House of Lords, Bailii
Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971, Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1924
England and Wales
Appeal fromJ 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 . .
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 . .
CitedEl Greco (Australia) Pty Ltd v Mediterranean Shipping Co SA 10-Aug-2004
(Federal Court of Australia) ADMIRALTY AND MARITIME LAW – carriage of goods by sea – Hague-Visby Rules – Australian COGSA Art 3 Rules 3, 4 and 8 – method for assessing value of cargo – where no ‘commodity exchange price’ or ‘current market price’ – . .
CitedHomburg Houtimport BV v Agrosin Private Ltd (the ‘Starsin’) HL 13-Mar-2003
Cargo owners sought damages for their cargo which had been damaged aboard the ship. The contract had been endorsed with additional terms. That variation may have changed the contract from a charterer’s to a shipowner’s bill.
Held: The specific . .
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 . .
CitedLickbarrow v Mason 2-Jul-1794
The attornment of a bill of lading is transferrable and therefore the indorsement and delivery of the bill of lading is capable of transferring the endorser’s right to the possession of the goods to the endorsee. . .
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 . .
CitedJ 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. . .
CitedFothergill v Monarch Airlines Ltd HL 10-Jul-1980
The plaintiff, on arriving at the airport found that his luggage had been lost. The defendant denied liability saying he had not notified his claim within the requisite period.
Held: Elementary justice requires that the rules by which the . .
CitedGlyn Mills Currie and Co v The East and West India Dock Company CA 1880
. .
CitedThrige v United Shipping Company Limited 1923
. .
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 . .
CitedVoss v APL Co Pte Limited 2002
(Court of Appeal of Singapore) The court asked whether a straight bill had to be produced by the consignee to obtain delivery.
Held: It had. The main characteristics of a bill of lading were its negotiability and its recognition as a document . .
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 . .
CitedHansson v Hamel and Horley Ltd HL 1922
Appeal dismissed . .
CitedHansson v Hamel and Horley Ltd 1921
The court explained the role of a contract of carriage: ‘What is meant by the expression ‘Contract of Affreightment’? In my opinion, to satisfy the requirements with reference to contract of affreightment, the seller must bring into existence a . .
CitedPyrene Co Ltd v Scindia Navigation Co Ltd QBD 1954
The fob contract has become a flexible instrument and it does not necessarily follow that the buyer is an original party to the contract of carriage. The effect of article III, r. 2 of the Hague-Visby Rules was not to override freedom of contract to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Transport, Arbitration

Updated: 19 January 2022; Ref: scu.222768