Large picture of the ocean on the cover


Asia Taiheiyo chiiki ni okeru Rotterdam Rules (The Rotterdam Rules in the Asia-Pacific Region)


439 pages, A5 format, softcover




February 10, 2014



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Asia Taiheiyo chiiki ni okeru Rotterdam Rules

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On December 12, 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (the “Rotterdam Rules”), which had been negotiated at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) since 2002. The Convention intended to establish a uniform and modern legal regime by replacing earlier conventions relating to the international carriage of goods by sea, in particular, the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading (Brussels, 25 August 1924) ("the Hague Rules"), its Protocols ("the Hague-Visby Rules"), and the United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea (­­­­Hamburg, 31 March 1978) ("the Hamburg Rules"). The convention was open for signature at a ceremony which was held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on September 23, 2009. To date, 25 countries have signed the convention and four have ratified it.
The Rotterdam Rules comprise 96 articles that address various issues not covered by previous international conventions, including provisions concerning e-commerce, the rights and obligations of shippers, and "door-to-door” carriage that includes an international sea leg. They also provide special rules for “volume contracts” that are exceptions to mandatory regulations on the carrier’s liability.
I became involved in the preparation of the convention during its drafting stage in the Comité Maritime International. After the draft was submitted to UNCITRAL, I participated in the deliberation at UNCITRAL Working Group IV as a representative of the Japanese government. In this context, I hope to ensure the correct understanding of the convention in relevant industries and among legal experts in Japan and overseas. To that end, I published Rotterdam Rules: The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (Sweet & Maxwell) in 2010, (co-authored by Michael F. Sturley and G. J. van der Ziel). I also organized an international symposium on November 21 and 22, 2011, by inviting experts from countries involved in the convention. This book is the product of the symposium and includes all presentation and discussions that occurred during the two-day-long conference.
Section I consists of 19 chapters, written by experts on the convention, and is compiled into five thematic sections: (1) introduction to the Rotterdam Rules, (2) scope of application and responsibilities of the carriers, (3) various aspects of carriage regulated by the Rotterdam Rules other than the carrier’s liability, (4) responses from the industries relevant to the Rotterdam Rules, and (5) status of the Asia-Pacific countries regarding the Rotterdam Rules. In addition to explaining the articles of the convention, these chapters cover conflicting interests in the drafting process, how these issues were resolved, and the influences of the convention on existing transportation practices.
In Section II, the experts discuss interpretations of the convention using 14 hypothetical cases. These vivid discussions address changes to legal disputes between shippers and carriers compared with the current regime.

(Written by FUJITA Tomotaka, Professor, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics / 2018)

Related Info

ENGLISH version:
The Rotterdam Rules in the Asia-Pacific Region”  (published by SHOJIHOMU, Nov 2014)

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