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The Hollandia Notes

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This is an extract of our The Hollandia document, which we sell as part of our Conflict of Laws BCL Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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THE HOLLANDIA (1982) FACTS My Lords, on March 21, 1978, some nine months after the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971 ("the Act of 1971") came into force, the respondents ("the shippers") shipped from the port of Leith a large machine weighing 9906 kilograms upon a vessel, Haico Holwerda, belonging to the appellants, the Royal Netherlands Steamship Co. ("the carriers"), for carriage to Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles. The shippers claim that the machine was damaged during the course of discharge from the carrying vessel at Bonaire as a result of the negligence of the servants of the carrying vessel which for the ocean leg of the voyage was in fact a ship under the Norwegian flag, the Morviken, of which the carriers were charterers. On February 26, 1980, the shippers commenced an action in rem in the High Court against the Hollandia, a sister ship of the Haico Holwerda, belonging to the carriers. The Hollandia was within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court though she was not in fact arrested because, as so often happens, the carriers' solicitors agreed to accept service of the writ without prejudice to their right to move the Admiralty Court for a stay of all further proceedings. The clause relied upon was condition 2 which was in the following terms: Paragraph 1: "Law of application and jurisdiction. The law of the Netherlands in which the Hague Rules, as adopted by the Brussels Convention of August 25, 1924, are incorporated with the exception of article 9 - shall apply to this contract. The maximum liability per package is D.fl. 1,250. For goods loaded or discharged at a Belgian port, the rules of article 91 of chapter 2 of the Belgian Commercial Code shall apply. Paragraph 3: "All actions under the present contract of carriage shall be brought before the Court of Amsterdam and no other court shall have jurisdiction with regard to any such action unless the carrier appeals to another jurisdiction or voluntarily submits himself thereto." Legal Regime applicable in Netherlands: My Lords, as is apparent from the first paragraph of the clause, the Netherlands at the time of the issue of the bill of lading were parties to the Brussels Convention of 1924, commonly known as the Hague Rules, which were scheduled to the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1924 ("the Act of 1924"); but the Netherlands had not by then ratified the Brussels Protocol of 1968 amending the Hague Rules, commonly known as the Hague-Visby Rules, which are scheduled to the Act of 1971.

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