The York-Antwerp Rules (YARs) govern general average cases by reason of being incorporated into contracts of carriage. First instigated by an international conference in York in 1864, their objective is to promote international uniformity in dealing with general average and to make the process involved commercially effecitve. The Rules are updated periodically under the auspices of Comite Maritime International (CMI), which is made up of national Maritime Law Associations.
When the YARs were last updated in 2004 at Vancouver there was, for the first time, a lack of consensus between the main commercial stakeholders regarding many of the changes, with shipowning interests also taking the view that the proposed changes were premature, given that the 1994 rules were only a decade old. The 2004 YARs were therefore incorporated in relatively few contracts of carriage.