Unrestricted freedom of contract allows parties with a dominant market position to impose their terms and conditions on parties in a weaker position. Before the First World War, shipowners occupied this position of dominance. They used this position to impose on shippers bills of lading containing very widely drafted exclusion clauses. After the First World War, the international community recognised the need to redress this imbalance. The result was the Brussels Convention of 1924, which gave birth to the Hague Rules.