Disputation: Yang Wang

Yang Wang, at the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, will defend her thesis:

Direct Actions and Their Justification: A Tentative Analysis on Direct Actions against Maritime Performing Parties under the Rotterdam Rules


Copyright: Yang Wang

Trial lecture - time and place

Adjudication committee

Chair of defence

Prodekan for forskning Alf Petter Høberg, University of Oslo



In respect of international contracts of carriage by sea (e.g., by containers), there is a diversity of laws regulating the relationship between claimants for cargo damage and third parties who are entrusted with the carriers’ tasks. The recent United Nations’ Convention on the subject (“the Rotterdam Rules”) renders such third parties (“maritime performing parties”) liable, subject to the carrier’s obligations, liabilities, defences and limits of liabilities under the Rules (Article 19 and Article 1, paragraphs 6 and 7). A cause of direct action against the maritime performing parties is thereby created.

The solution itself is not entirely novel, but by treating all the subcontractors (including the intermediate subcontractors) of the carrier on an equal footing as the carrier regardless of their role, brings the unification of laws in this area to the level that the pre-existing maritime conventions (including the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, and the Hamburg Rules) have never attempted.

The new development of the direct actions under the Rotterdam Rules calls for a thorough analysis on their effect and operation in resolving the problems they envisage, which in turn determines their desirability as a solution for the unification of law regarding said third parties.

In this thesis, Yang Wang assesses the direct actions formulated in Article 19 of the Rules for those purposes, examining the legislative provisions and the underlying policies behind them. Wang argues that the direct actions against maritime performing parties under the Rotterdam Rules have the advances of fostering enduring relationships between shippers and carriers, protecting the rights of the cargo claimants for compensation without creating additional costs for the maritime performing parties. The Rules also benefit the maritime performing parties by an increase of freight rates and a decrease of friction cost. She also argues that direct actions are capable of resolving the legislative problems of the use of exemption clauses for the benefit of third parties and that of the identity of carrier. Wang suggests that the uncertainty arising from the operations of the direct actions in practice is tolerable since the Rotterdam Rues and case law gradually will clarify matters.


Published Nov. 14, 2013 1:57 PM - Last modified Dec. 22, 2017 9:45 AM