The two most recent international conventions governing the carriage of goods by sea—the Hamburg Rules and the Rotterdam Rules—include provisions that limit the enforcement of arbitration clauses in international commercial transactions. This chapter examines the arbitration provisions of those two recent conventions, explaining the theory behind their unusual approach. Although the arbitration provisions may seem illogical when considered in isolation, when examined in context they form a sensible part of a larger regime. Critics may question the policy choices that have been made in crafting those regimes, but those choices were largely driven by commercial considerations as affected stakeholders agreed on a compromise solution to a practical problem. In the end, the arbitration provisions are a sensible way to give effect to those policy choices.
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