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The earliest work comprising a collection of cases and exposition of the law exclusively relating to Charterparties and Bills of Lading, was Mr. Lawes” “Practical Treatise on Charter-parties of Affreightment, Bills of Lading and Stoppage in Transitu, with an appendix of precedents.” This work, which was published in 1813, is nowentirely out of date and is almost unknown.

Since then not only have very many important changes taken place in practice, but the law affecting contracts of affreightment has changed in many material respects, until a long current of decisions has settled many of the difficult and doubtful questions which naturally arise from the insertion into Charter-parties of intricate and complicated clauses, and which the tendency of modern ingenuity seems rather to increase than diminish.

When we consider the vast maritime and commercial interests which at the present time are affected by contracts of affreightment in the nature of Charter-parties, it is not easy even to venture an estimate of their importance, or of the influence which these documents have in the conclusion of commercial contracts throughout the world, which could never be effected ir, their absence.

The forms of Charter-parties which are necessarily prepared to meet the requirements of the various trades in which they are used, differ from each other so greatly that it is seldom that any two Charter-parties are met

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•with in which the terms and conditions are precisely the same. When the several cases are closely examined, it will be found that the apparent conflict of authorities on .the construction of Charter-parties, arises more from the variety of terms employed by the parties themselves in forming their contracts, than from the difference of ppiņion of the judges who interpret them. Bearing these facts in mind, it has

been my endeavour in preparing the present treatise to place before the

profession and the commercial public, in as concise and • practical a form as possible, the law as it ha3 been

expounded by the Courts in relation to such of the clauses and stipulations in the Charter-parties, as have come before them for decision.

The Bill for the consolidation of enactments relating to Merchant Shipping now before Parliament, which I have had the advantage of secing, a copy baving been forwarded to me by the Government of Bombay for my opinion, proposes the repeal of several of the Statutes referred to in these pages, but as they will be re-enacted without


material alteration, the principles governing the cases in respect of which portions of these Statutes have been cited, will not be affected.

Throughout this work and more especially in the preparation of the Table of Cases and Index, I have received material assistance. from my sơn, Sidney P. Leggett, of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-Law.

E. L.

20th July 1894.

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