Book Review

Citation(2019) 31 SAcLJ 363
Published date01 December 2019
Publication year2019
Date01 December 2019

1 This book is the third edition of one that was in its first two editions called The Law in Singapore on Carriage of Goods by Sea. The work was initially published in 1986 under that title, and was partly based on Professor Tan Lee Meng's pioneering database of cases from the Straits Settlements, Malaya, Singapore and Malaysia, together with leading English cases. At the time of its first publication Singapore only had the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading, and Protocol of Signature1 (“Hague Rules”). By the second edition of 1994 Singapore had adopted the Protocol to Amend the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading2 (“Visby Protocol”). It had also adopted the new rules for transfer of bills of lading contracts embodied in the UK Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992.3 The Singapore Act was more appropriately named Bills of Lading Act,4 a title which those responsible for the Act had indeed intended in the UK in 1992, only to be defeated by “official channels” which imposed the completely inappropriate title we have now. Further, in 1995 the technique for the operation of the Visby Protocol was changed in Singapore, giving the revised rules the “force of law” as in the UK Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 19715 and thereby dealing with the problem raised by the legendary Vita Food case of 1939;6 and that is the major change drawn attention to in the preface of this third edition. During these years case law has been moving and developing in Singapore as well as elsewhere; and Professor Tan has moved to the Bench, and recently back to the Faculty from the Bench, thus partly returning to his original home.

2 This third edition has the more general, if rather bare, title, Law on Carriage of Goods by Sea, and no longer purports to be directed only to the law in Singapore. Most of the main authorities cited are, as in fact they always were, English; but the Singapore judiciary has in recent

years generated many more local cases of value and/or interest in this area than formerly, and these appear prominently throughout, both leading cases and cases of less significance. Older cases, and cases from Malaysia and elsewhere in the area are still included too. Thus, the book can now be read as a useful introduction to the common law of carriage by sea outside the US in general, though an English reader at least needs to remember that in it the phrase...

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