This seminar will examine current issues in commercial maritime law, with a focus on the rules governing the carriage of goods by sea. Particular attention will be paid to the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (the Rotterdam Rules), a new multilateral treaty to modernize and unify international transport law. The U.N. Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) completed the final draft of the new convention in June 2008, the General Assembly adopted the convention in December 2008, the United States formally signed the convention on September 23, 2009, and the ratification process is now underway.
In the early weeks of the semester, students will be introduced to the commercial and legal background in this field, including a discussion of both domestic legislation (such as the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Harter Act) and the prior international regimes (such as the Hague, Hague-Visby, and Hamburg Rules). Subsequent sessions will consist largely of discussions of ongoing student research and student presentations of the results of their original research.
A traditional seminar paper will be required and the student will be assigned a letter grade based on the quality of the paper and his/her participation in class.
Although students who have completed the Admiralty course will have some advantage, prior study of Admiralty is not a prerequisite.