(22) From the Rhodian Sea Law, the law of general average was incorporated into Roman law (23) as reflected in the Justinian Digest.
(28) Article VIII of the Rolls of Oleron restated the Rhodian law of general average, restricting it to sacrifices made only when a vessel was in peril.
Most of the medieval sea codes of Europe that were adopted after the Rolls of Oleron copied and reflected the law of general average exemplified in the Rolls of Oleron, albeit with less vivacity.
The Emergence of General Average in Continental Law
The law of general average epitomised in the Rolls of Oleron was also received into French civil law (32) and it seems that the Rolls of Oleron was adopted as the official sea law of France by 1364.
(37) Thus, the Ordonnance extended the concept of general average to every extraordinary expense made both for the safety of the vessel and cargo and for the successful completion of the voyage.
Consequently, it is argued that the underlying basis for the concept of general average, as reflected in the Rhodian law up to its reception in English law, was as a result of the dictates of the perilous nature of international maritime trade.
Divergence in the Law of General Average: Common Safety vs.
As a consequence of the historical evolution of general average highlighted above, a divergence exists in the respective conceptions of general average under the English common law and continental law.
In contrast, the continental notion of general average encompasses both sacrifices made and expenses incurred in preserving the common maritime adventure from peril and further expenses incurred in ensuring the successful completion of the adventure.
The common benefit principle is preferable to the common safety principle as it underlines the very essence of a general average act, which is to ensure the safety of the vessel and the successful completion of the voyage.
Having laid the foundation of the historical origin and subsequent divergence on the notion of general average, it is appropriate at this point to provide a brief overview of general average to provide the relevant understanding of the principles of the concept that is the subject of this discourse.