British Maritime Law Association Archives

Scope and Content

Papers and correspondence of the British Maritime Law Association (BMLA), dating largely from 1947-c1971, with a few related items dating back to 1921, and comprising adminstrative papers and correspondence of the BMLA and its papers on issues in maritime law; papers and correspondence relating to the Comit Maritime International (CMI) and to overseas maritime law associations in Europe and America; and papers and correspondence on international conferences concerning issues of maritime law, held in Europe, the USA, and elsewhere, including conference documents, amendments, proceedings, and papers of the British delegation. The papers relate to issues in maritime law including limitations of shipowners' liability; bills of lading (issued by the carrier to the shipper on delivery of goods for shipment); the Hague Rules (defining the rights and liabilities of a carrier, introduced in Brussels in 1921 and adopted first as clauses in bills of lading and after 1923 as the Brussels Convention on Limitation of Liability); the 'gold clause' concerning contradictions in international conventions regarding the extent of liability; carriage of nuclear material by sea and the liability of operators, including the OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Co-operation) convention; and issues relating to oil pollution in the wake of the Torrey Canyon incident (1967).

Administrative / Biographical History

The British Maritime Law Association was founded in 1908 to promote the study and advancement of British maritime and mercantile law; to promote, with foreign and other maritime law associations, proposals for the unification of maritime and mercantile law in the practice of different nations; to afford opportunities for members to discuss matters of national and international maritime law; to collect and circulate information regarding maritime and mercantile law; and to establish a collection of publications and documents of interest to members. Membership comprises representatives from shipowners, shippers, merchants, manufacturers, insurers, insurance brokers, tug owners, shipbuilders, port and harbour authorities, bankers, and other bodies interested in the objects of the Association. The Association also has individual members - employees of corporate or institutional members, barristers, or others without a corporate identity. The two principal functions of the Association are, firstly, to advise UK Government bodies responsible for maritime legislation or regulation and, secondly, to co-operate with its international parent body, the CMI (Comit Maritime International, or International Maritime Committee, composed of the maritime law associations of more than 30 nations), in research and drafting of international instruments for the harmonisation of maritime and mercantile law. The Association publishes documents pertaining to its interests, and organises an annual lecture, dinner, and other events. Its work is delegated to standing committees on particular topics, and to ad hoc sub-committees, appointed from time to time to report as necessary on topics not under consideration by a standing committee.

Access Information

Permission Required

The collection has not yet been catalogued and restrictions may apply. Please contact Special Collections for further information.

Acquisition Information

Presented by the British Maritime Law Association to University College London Manuscripts Room in 1983.

Other Finding Aids

Uncatalogued. A partial hard copy list is available. Please contact Special Collections for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

When the collection is opened, anyone wishing to publish anything based on the papers must be referred to the Association.