An Act to amend the law relating to Bills of Lading.
WHEREAS by the custom of merchants a bill of lading of goods being transferable by endorsement, the property in the goods may thereby pass to the endorsee, but nevertheless all rights in respect of the contract contained in the bill of lading continue in the original shipper or owner, and it is expedient that such rights should pass with the property;
AND WHEREAS it frequently happens that the goods in respect of which bills of lading purport to be signed have not been laden on board, and it is proper that such bills of lading in the hands of a bona fide holder for value should not be questioned by the master or other person signing the same, on the ground of the goods not having been laden as aforesaid,
It is enacted as follows: -
Section 1. Rights under bills of lading to vest in consignee or endorsee
Every consignee of goods named in a bill of lading and every endorsee of a bill of lading to whom the property in the goods therein mentioned shall pass, upon or by reason of such consignment or endorsement shall have transferred to and vested in him all rights of suit, and be subject to the same liabilities in respect of such goods as if the contract contained in the bill of lading had been made with himself.
Section 2. Not to affect right of stoppage in transit or claims for freight
Nothing herein contained shall prejudice or affect any right of stoppage in transit, or any right to claim freight against the original shipper or owner, or any liability of the consignee or endorsee by reason or inconsequence of his being such consignee or end or see, or of his receipt of the goods by reason or inconsequence of such consignment or endorsement.
Section 3. Bill of lading in hands of consignee, etc. conclusive evidence of the shipment as against master etc
Every bill of lading in the hands of a consignee or endorsee for valuable consideration representing goods to have been shipped on board a vessel, shall be conclusive evidence of such shipment as against the master or other person signing the same, notwithstanding that such goods or some part thereof may not have been so shipped, unless such holder of the bill of lading shall have had actual notice at the time of receiving the same that the goods had not in fact been laden on board:
PROVIDED that the master or other person so signing may exonerate himself, in respect of such misrepresentation, by showing that it was caused without any default on his part, and wholly by the fraud of the shipper or of the holder, or some person under whom the holder claims.