A Successful Substantivist Carve-Out?: The Athens Convention as Uniform International Law
NUS - Centre for Maritime Law Working Paper 18/06
29 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2018 Last revised: 2 Aug 2018
Date Written: July 31, 2018
This paper examines the Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea 1974 and its 2002 Protocol through a private international law lens, to evaluate the extent to which it functions as a successful ‘substantivist carve-out’ achieving international legal uniformity, and to determine the degree to which conflicts problems still bedevil passenger claims brought under the Athens regime. The paper concludes that the Athens regime is not a particularly successful uniform international law instrument, largely because of uncertainties surrounding its scope of application and operation as a mandatory exclusive code, the ability to easily circumvent its jurisdiction framework and shop for a more favourable forum, a lack of clarity regarding coverage of ‘personal injury’, and a messy and complicated relationship with global limitation of liability regimes. The Athens regime would undoubtedly be more effective if it enjoyed more widespread uptake amongst maritime jurisdictions. However, for a range of economic and political reasons, that seems unlikely for the foreseeable future.
Keywords: Carriage of passengers by sea, transnational litigation, Athens Convention, uniform law
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