Bills of Lading as Documents of Title-Chinese Law and Policy

Tianyi Jiang, Zhen Jing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In modern maritime commerce, the bill of lading is usually regarded as a document of title.This is also the case under Chinese law. However, unlike other jurisdictions such as the UK and the US, the exact effects of the bill of lading as a document of title have never been clarified in China due to the silence of Chinese law in this regard. In consequence of that, various explanations on the notion “bill of lading as document of title” have been developed.Unfortunately, none of them is fully compatible with the existing Chinese law and the reality of trade. To understand the notion “bill of lading as document of title” precisely, this article revisits English law and American law from which Chinese law borrows the notion and uncovers that the definition of the notion in national law may be influenced by the following factors: the legislative intent of the national law on the usage of the bill of lading, the freedom of contract in transfer of property rights in goods, and the domestic law on doctrine of good faith purchase. This article then analyses these factors in the context of Chinese law and policy,seeking to find a proper way to clarify the notion “bill of lading as document of title” and localise such a notion to suit Chinese legal and economic background.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-553
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Business Law
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


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