Liabilities

Under Common Law, prior to the Bills of Lading Act 1855, when a bill of lading was issued and passed to the consignee or receiver of cargo with the explicit intention of passing the property in the goods, it did not in fact transfer the rights and liabilities under the contract of carriage to the consignee or receiver of the cargo. In practical terms this would obviously cause great difficulty as the consignee or receiver would have no contractual recourse against the carrier if the goods were damaged or delayed. The Bills of Lading Act 1855 changed this situation. There were three sections under the Act, in Section 1 it stated that when property in the goods passes upon or by reason of an endorsement, the contractual rights of suit and contractual liabilities are transferred to the endoresee.  It is important to note that under the old Act, when property does not pass there is no such transfer. Remember always that a B/L may only be transferred to another party if it is made “to order” and in order that the property in goods may pass by assignment of the bill of lading, the following conditions must be satisfied: The bill of lading must be transferable on the face of it. The goods must be in transit. The bill of lading must have been put in circulation by a person who had a good title to the goods. There must have been an intention to transfer the property.