General average


General average

The law of general average is a legal principle of maritime law according to which all parties in a sea venture proportionally share any losses resulting from a voluntary sacrifice of part of the ship or cargo to save the whole in an emergency. In the exigencies of hazards faced at sea, crewmembers often have precious little time in which to determine precisely whose cargo they are jettisoning. Thus, to avoid quarrelling that could waste valuable time, there arose the equitable practice whereby all the merchants whose cargo was on board would be called on to contribute a portion, based upon a share or percentage, to the merchant or merchants whose goods had been tossed overboard to avert imminent peril. While general average traces its origins in ancient maritime law, still it remains part of the admiralty law of most countries.

The first codification of general average was the York Antwerp Rules of 1890. American companies accepted it in 1949. General average requires three elements which are clearly stated by Mr. Justice Grier in Barnard v. Adams:

:"1st. A common danger: a danger in which vessel, cargo and crew all participate; a danger imminent and apparently 'inevitable,' except by voluntarily incurring the loss of a portion of the whole to save the remainder."

:"2nd. There must be a voluntary jettison, jactus, or casting away, of some portion of the joint concern for the purpose of avoiding this imminent peril, periculi imminentis evitandi causa, or, in other words, a transfer of the peril from the whole to a particular portion of the whole."

:"3rd. This attempt to avoid the imminent common peril must be successful".

See also:
*Rose, Francis D. (2005). "General Average : Law & Practice 2nd Edition"

External links

* [http://www.marlegal.com/mlgen.html General average]
* [http://www.wkwebster.com/general/generalav0.htm General average]
* [http://cargolaw.com/2008nightmare_msc_sabrina.html#GA MSC Sabrina grounds in St. Lawrence River, Canada]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • General average — Average Av er*age, n. [OF. average, LL. averagium, prob. fr. OF. aver, F. avoir, property, horses, cattle, etc.; prop. infin., to have, from L. habere to have. Cf. F. av[ e]rage small cattle, and avarie (perh. of different origin) damage to ship… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • General average — General Gen er*al, a. [F. g[ e]n[ e]ral, fr. L. generalis. See {Genus}.] 1. Relating to a genus or kind; pertaining to a whole class or order; as, a general law of animal or vegetable economy. [1913 Webster] 2. Comprehending many species or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • general average — that part of the law merchant that provides that a loss incurred to save a vessel or cargo is distributed between all those benefiting thereby as parties to the maritime adventure. This encourages the jettisoning of cargo for the safety of all.… …   Law dictionary

  • general average — Provision in maritime law where all shippers on a given voyage would reimburse the ship line in the event of vessel sinking or catastrophic damage. It also provides for the reimbursement to those shippers whose cargo was thrown overboard in order …   Financial and business terms

  • general average — A contribution by all the parties in a sea adventure to make good the loss sustained by one of their number on account of sacrifices voluntary made of part of the ship or cargo to save the residue and the lives of those on board from an impending …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • general average — Gross Gross, a. [Compar. {Grosser}; superl. {Grossest}.] [F. gros, L. grossus, perh. fr. L. crassus thick, dense, fat, E. crass, cf. Skr. grathita tied together, wound up, hardened. Cf. {Engross}, {Grocer}, {Grogram}.] 1. Great; large; bulky;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • general average — noun : a loss that arises from the voluntary sacrifice of part of a ship or cargo to save the residue of the ship or cargo or from extraordinary expenses incurred in protecting the interests involved under pressure of a common risk and that is… …   Useful english dictionary

  • general average — Insurance. any damage or loss to a ship or its cargo voluntarily sustained, as freight jettisoned in a storm, by all parties to a voyage (distinguished from particular average). Abbr.: G.A. [1690 1700] * * * …   Universalium

  • general average — GA See average …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • general average — noun Law the apportionment of financial liability for the loss arising from the jettisoning of a ship s cargo by dividing the costs among all those whose property was preserved by the action …   English new terms dictionary


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