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CHAPTER 2 The York-Antwerp Rules – a Vehicle for Uniformity

York Antwerp Rules

Page 8


The York-Antwerp Rules – a Vehicle for Uniformity

The York-Antwerp Rules – a Vehicle for Uniformity

2.01 The York-Antwerp Rules occupy a unique position in international maritime law. Unlike the Hague Rules, which regulate the law on the carriage of goods by sea, and the various Conventions relating to the limitation of shipowners’ liability (to name but two examples), they depend not upon Convention, still less upon statute, but upon their voluntary acceptance by the maritime community. Although in a certain number of instances,1 they have been imported into domestic legislation, the all but universal application of the York-Antwerp Rules in cases of general average has come about by their being incorporated by reference into bills of lading, contracts of affreightment and marine insurance policies. Yet in spite of the purely consensual nature of their application, they have succeeded where other attempts to achieve international uniformity have failed. As was said by Professor Knut Selmer, a by no means sympathetic critic: “It may safely be said that general average is the field of maritime law where the international unification effort has succeeded to the greatest degree.”2

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