Non negotiable document. The Hague-Visby Rules and Hague Rules are concerned with contracts of carriage evidenced by bills of lading which are “documents of title”.
However, Art. VI of the Rules permits carriers and shippers to enter into any agreement with any terms and conditions provided that no “bill of lading” is issued and that the terms of the agreement are contained in a non-negotiable receipt, marked as such. This Article applies to non commercial shipments, for example, personal effects or any cargo which justifies a special agreement as to the carriage by sea.
The Hamburg Rules apply to all contracts of carriage of goods by sea and do not restrict these to bills of lading and negotiable, documents of title.
The non negotiable document is not a document of title. It is therefore called a “bill of lading” but may be called a “waybill”.
Although the Hague-Visby Rules do not apply to waybills the United Kingdom Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971, which implements the Rules, provides in section 1 (6)(b) that the Rules will have the force of law in relation to:
“any receipt which is a non-negotiable document marked as such if the contract contained in or evidenced by it is a contract for the carriage of goods by sea which expressly provides that the Rules are to govern the contracts as if the receipt were a bill of lading but subject … to any necessary modifications and in particular with the omission in Article III of the Rules of the second sentence of paragraph 4 and of paragraph 7.”
This would include waybills, which have a paramount clause incorporating the Hague-Visby Rules. Such a waybill may not be conclusive evidence of the goods as described in the hands of a third party consignee or indorsee (Art. III, r. 4, second sentence) and cannot be exchanged for a “shipped bill of lading”, (Art. III, r. 7).