Carriage of goods by sea—charterparties
Produced in partnership with Quentin Tannock of 4 Pump Court and James Watthey of 4 Pump Court

The following Commercial practice note produced in partnership with Quentin Tannock of 4 Pump Court and James Watthey of 4 Pump Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Carriage of goods by sea—charterparties
  • Standard terms
  • Exclusion clauses
  • Charterparties and bills of lading
  • Types of charterparties
  • Time charters
  • Delivery of the vessel
  • Clause paramount
  • Hague-Visby Rules
  • Safe and unsafe ports
  • More...

Carriage of goods by sea—charterparties

This Practice Note explains the law relating to charterparties in the context of an arrangement for the carriage of goods by sea. It explains the key features of voyage charters, time charters, bareboat charters and slot charters and the damages for breach of charter in relation to each type. Brief notes in relation to current legal issues in relation to charterparties are provided in conclusion.

A significant volume of goods are transported every day by sea, engaging the terms of a significant number of charterparties. This activity, combined with the inherent risks of transport by sea, contributes towards the occurrence of legal disputes in this dynamic area of law.

A charterparty (or ‘charter’) is a contractual document setting out the terms on which a shipowner will allow a use of their vessel by persons requiring a ship for a specific time or voyage.

Charterparties are:

  1. usually for the capacity of an entire ship, although directly sub-chartering a portion of a ship is also possible (slot-charters)

  2. often negotiated and concluded through brokers

  3. typically taken out by commodity trading businesses or by businesses specialising in sub-chartering

  4. frequently concluded on the basis of standard terms

  5. in general, not subject to statutory regulation (see, however, the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 (LR(FC)A 1943), which by LR(FC)A 1943, s 2(5)(a) applies to demise and time charterparties but

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