The most important document is the bill of lading, recognised by the law merchant as the symbol of the goods described in it1. In addition, and in order to guard against the risk of non-delivery by the shipowner, the cif contract requires the seller to take out a policy of marine insurance2 on which the buyer may sue. Thus, a person who holds both the bill of lading and a marine insurance policy on the goods is for business purposes in as good a position as if the goods were actually in his possession, subject only to the shipowner's lien.
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