Blockchain-based bills of lading

Legal responses to blockchain-based bills of lading - an Australian perspective

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Shipping companies have been introducing blockchain-based bills of lading for their businesses. However, the legal status of these remains unclear since the laws relating to carriage documents were developed between the 18th and the 19th centuries. The International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading, Brussels, 25th August 1924 (The "Hague Rules"), along with its protocols in 1968 and 1979 (The "Hague-Visby Rules") were developed during the period when no one would envisage even the development of desktop computers. While the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, 11 December 2008 (The "Rotterdam Rules) contains some provisions on the electronic transport records but this international convention is unlikely to come into force. Earlier in 2021, the English Law Commission launched a consultation with an aim to formulate a statute on electronic trade documents. In Australia, the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1991 (Cth) contains an "Amended Hague Rules" as the Schedule in which a term "sea carriage document" has been defined to encompass electronic bills of lading. Same is true for the Sea-Carriage Documents Act of different States and Territories in Australia where there are provisions on "electronic and computerised sea-carriage documents". However, to what extent these statutory provisions are applicable to blockchain-based bills of lading remain doubtful. The purpose of this research is to offer critiques of the current legal regimes on carriage documents and identify why they are insufficient to accommodate the use of the blockchain-based bills of lading. It will then seek to reformulate a suitable legal regime regulating the use of these documents in view to propose a new statutory regime.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Poomintr Sooksripaisarnkit


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Graduated with an LLB or LLM degree from a recognised university, preferably with a distinction or with First Class Honours
  • Had academic publishing experiences

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Prior working experiences in shipping industry would be advantageous

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Poomintr Sooksripaisarnkit to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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