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Bill Of Lading

Legal Definition and Related Resources of Bill Of Lading

Meaning of Bill Of Lading

A memorandum or acknowledgment in writing , signed by the carrier , acknowledging the receipt of goods therein described, to be transported on the terms therein expressed to the place of destination , and there to be delivered to the consignee or parties therein designated. To be valid it must be signed by the carrier. See Missouri K. & T. Ry. Co. v Patrick, 88 S. W. 330. It is both a receipt for goods by a carrier and a contract to transport the goods as stipulated. Jefferson Chemical Co. v M.I. T. Grena, 292 F.Supp. 500 (D. C. Tex.) A bill of lading does not stand for or represent a contract between the buyer and seller . Nor is it a negotiable instrument and the doctrines favoring an innocent holder for value of negotiable paper do not wholly apply . See The St. Johns N.F., (CA2), 272 F. 673. It stands as a substitute , and represents the goods described therein and although not a negotiable instrument in the full sense, the transfer of the bill passes to the transferee the transferor ‘s title to the goods described. St. Louis & S.F.R. Co. v Mounts, 144 P. 1036, 44 Okl. 359. However, if a person without authority from the owner ships the goods to another and takes the bill of lading in his own name, he cannot, by assigning the bill to a third person divest the owner of his title to the property . See Saltus v Everett, N. Y., 20 Wend. 267, 32 Am. Dec. 541.

Bill Of Lading Alternative Definition

The written evidence of a contract for the carriage and delivery of goods sent by sea for a certain freight. Loughborough, J., 1 H. Bl. 359. A formal acknowledgment of the receipt of goods, and an engagement to deliver them to the consignee 1 Rawle (Pa.) 203. A written acknowledgment, signed by the master, that he has received the goods therein described from the shipper, to be transported on the terms therein expressed to the prescribed destination, and there to be delivered to the consignee or parties therein designated 14 Wall. (U.S.) 579. The term is commonly applied, as well, to similar acknowledgments by carriers by land. A bill of lading partakes of the nature of both a receipt and a contract. 30 Ala. 608; 13 Ind. 519. So much of it as is a mere receipt for goods may be contradicted or varied by parol (34 Me. 554; 74 Mass. 281), but so much of it as is a contract is governed by the rules applying to other contracts in writing (26 Ala. 487; 4 Ohio, 334; 61 Mo. App. 204). ”

Financial Definition of Bill Of Lading

A contract between the exporter and a transportation company in which the latter agrees to transport the goods under specified conditions which limit its liability. It is the exporter’s receipt for the goods as well as proof that goods have been or will be received.

Related Entries of Bill Of Lading in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Bill Of Lading in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Bill Of Lading in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Bill Of Lading in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

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What does Bill Of Lading mean in American Law?

The definition of Bill Of Lading in the law of the United States, as defined by the lexicographer Arthur Leff in his legal dictionary is:

A receipt given by a carrier for goods put into its possession, together with its promise to ship and deliver them, and other contractual provisions. A “clean bill of lading” is one without special conditions or instructions written in the margin. A “straight bill of lading” is one naming a particular consignee; only he can claim the goods. A bill may have negotiability, however; if made out “to bearer” or “to X or order,” or otherwise recognized as negotiable by the customs of international trade (see U.C.C. § 7-104), it may be transferred by endorsement and any holder has the right to claim the goods. (A negotiable bill of lading is sometimes called an “order bill.”) Negotiable bills of lading make it possible to transfer the right to goods without delivering the goods themselves, which is useful in general and especially in connection with a documentary sale. See also bills in a set; foul bill [of lading]; overseas bill of lading; through bill [of lading]. And cf. warehouse receipt.


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See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Consignment; Shipping Law.
  • Bill of lading in Law Enforcement

    Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of bill of lading.


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Police Officer
    • Law Enforcement Agency

    Further Reading

    Definition of Bill of Lading

    In the context of international law, the legal resource A Dictionary of Law, provides a definition of Bill of Lading : A document acknowledging the shipment of a consignor’s goods for carriage by sea (Compare sea waybill). It is used primarily when the ship is carrying goods belonging to a number of consignors (a general ship). In this case, each consignor receives a bill issued (normally by the master of the ship) on behalf of either the shipowner or a charterer under a *charterparty. The bill serves three functions: it is a receipt for the goods; it summarizes the terms of the contract of carriage; and it acts as a document of title to the goods. A bill of lading is also issued by a shipowner to a charterer who is using the ship for the carriage of his own goods. In this case, the terms of the contract of carriage are in the charterparty and the bill serves only as a receipt and a document of title. During transit, ownership of the goods may be transferred by delivering the bill to another if it is drawn to bearer or by endorsing it if it is drawn to order. It is not, however, a *negotiable instrument. The responsibilities, liabilities, rights, and immunities attaching to carriers under bills of lading are stated in the Hague Rules. These were drawn up by the International Law Association meeting at The Hague in 1921 and adopted by an International Conference on Maritime Law held at Brussels in 1922. They were given effect in the UK by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1924 and so became known in the UK as the Hague Rules of 1924. They were amended at Brussels in 1968, effect being given to the amendments by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971. The Rules, which are set out in a schedule to the Act, apply to carriage under a bill of lading from any port in Great Britain or Northern Ireland to any other port and also to carriage between any of the states by which they have been adopted. Every bill issued in Great Britain or Northern Ireland to which the Rules apply must state that fact expressly (the clause giving effect to this requirement is customarily referred to as the paramount clause). The Hague Rules were completely rewritten in 1978 in a new treaty known as the Hamburg Rules, which drastically alter the privileged position of a sea carrier as compared to other carriers, but they have not yet been generally adopted.

    Bill of Lading


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