In an international convention in Brussels on 25 August 1924, major trading nations accepted Hague Rules. Most of the participating nations introduced legislation to give effect to the Hague Rules. For example, in England Hague Rules were incorporated into the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1924.
After a few decades later, changes in the patterns of world trade, especially the introduction of containerization, created dissatisfaction with the limitations of the Hague Rules. In 1968, Hague Rules were amended by The Brussels Protocol of 1968 and became known as the Hague-Visby Rules. Majority of the world’s maritime nations ratified the Hague-Visby Rules. In England, effect of Hague-Visby Rules was given by The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971.
The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971 repeals The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1924 in its entirety. Hague-Visby Rules apply to all contracts of carriage which are evidenced by a Bill of Lading (B/L) or a similar document of title where:
- Port of shipment is a port within the United Kingdom
- Bill of Lading (B/L) is issued in the United Kingdom
Hague-Visby Rules also apply to other such contracts of carriage evidenced by a Bill of Lading (B/L) if expressly incorporated. Hence, even if the port of shipment is from a country which has not incorporated the Hague-Visby Rules into its legislation, Hague-Visby Rules is applicable when expressly incorporated in the Bill of Lading (B/L).