Protection of a Non-contractual Party under the Rotterdam Rules

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Title: Protection of a Non-contractual Party under the Rotterdam Rules
Author: Laukkio, Lotta
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Oikeustieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Helsingfors universitet, Juridiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2015
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Obligation law
Abstract: In 23 September 2009 the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, shortly the Rotterdam Rules, was signed. Its success is yet a mystery because only three states have ratified the Rules. This is mainly due to the growing liabilities of the carrier side and higher limitation of liability. The new definition maritime performing party has raised questions and criticism, too. The definition of a maritime performing party develops the third party protection to a wider scope than before. This article will enlighten the actual impact of the maritime performing party to the Finnish Maritime Code. How do the Rotterdam Rules change the position of a non-contractual third party? What changes will the rules on maritime performing party bring to Finnish maritime law as part of the Nordic maritime legislation? There are three existing conventions on carriage of goods by sea. The Hague Rules do not cover the issue of a sub-carrier at all but the Hague-Visby Rules added an article that allows agents and servants of the carrier to enjoy the benefits of the contract of carriage if the shipper claims damages directly from a sub-carrier. The Hamburg Rules took third party protection a bit further by including independent contractors to the sphere of the protection of third parties. The same result can be attained through a so called Himalaya clause that means a contract clause benefitting a third party. The Rotterdam Rules define a maritime performing party as any sub-carrier performing the carrier’s duties in port area or at sea. The definition expands the scope of the sub-carrier’s that can be covered and it would include sea carriers, stevedores, terminal operators, agents, lightering companies, freight forwarders, and all modes of inland carriers when used exclusively in the port area. The Finnish maritime code resembles the Hamburg Rules concerning the protection of third parties; a shipper can bring a direct action against a third party that is protected with the carrier’s defences and limits of liability. Under the Finnish maritime code the third parties can be sea carriers and stevedores. If the Rotterdam Rules were implemented in Finland, the coverage of the maritime code would be clearer and wider.

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