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Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, as amended

Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, as enacted


Paramount Clause
Last updated: 21-Jun-2015

In The Agios Lazaros [1976] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 47 per Lord Denning MR:

It seems to me that when the 'paramount clause' is incorporated, without any words of qualification, it means that all the Hague Rules are incorporated. If the parties intend only to incorporate part of the rules (for example, art. IV), or only so far as compulsorily applicable, they say so. In the absence of any such qualification, it seems to me that a 'clause paramount' is a clause which incorporates all the Hague Rules. I mean, of course, the accepted Hague Rules and not the Hague-Visby Rules which are of later date.

Per Thomas J in The Bukhta Russkaya [1997] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 744 at p.746:

There appear to be some very minor variations in the wording of several of the clauses that have been put before me. However each of the clauses described as "the general paramount clause" has the following essential terms: (1) if the Hague Rules are enacted in the country of shipment, then they apply as enacted; (2) if the Hague Rules are not enacted in the country of shipment, the corresponding legislation of the country of destination applies or, if there is no such legislation, the terms of the Convention containing the Hague Rules apply; (3) if the Hague-Visby Rules are compulsorily applicable to the trade in question, then the legislation enacting those rules applies.

Thus, on the evidence before me I am satisfied that shipping men would have understood "the general paramount clause" to have referred to a clause with the essential features which I have spelt out. Applying the terms of that clause to the circumstances of this case, it is clear on what is common ground as to the applicable legislation at the ports of shipment and destination, that the Hague Rules apply.


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