Carriage of Goods

Carriage of Goods

Goods have to often be transported considerable distance, whether at the instance of seller por buyer and a carrier is often employed to effect that transport. In essence, it is being hired to carry goods safely from A to B in own vehicle.  3 forms of common carriage; Land, Sea and Air.

LAND – A carrier will either be private or a common carrier. Construed as making a continuing offer to carry open to acceptance by anyone i.e. service available to public see. Barr & Sons v Caledonian Railway (1890)

Most carriers expressly contract out of common carrier status – relationship is then regulated by contract. Deemed to make a continuing offer to carry which can be accepted by anyone. If refuse to carry = damages (unless refusal justified). Bound by any advertised rates. Strict liability for loss/damage to goods various exceptions to strict liability exist such as;

  • No capacity in vehicle; – Spillers & Bakers v GWR [1911]
  • Goods not delivered in time for loading; – Garton v Bristol & Exeter Ry Co (1861)
  • Carriage of goods dangerous; – Barnfield v Goole & Sheffield Transport Co [1910]

If no advertised rate, must charge reasonable rate. Carrier strictly liable for damage to goods (AKA edictal liability). Except: Act of God; Act of Queen’s enemies Inherent vice of goods; Fault of consignor But, liability will still arise if carrier contributed to loss. Strict liability, Carriers Act 1830 s1, no common carrier shall be liable for loss or injury to parcels containing certain articles exceeding £10.

Exclusion of liability Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 applies to all contracts of carriage -for Scotland – s15 (2) (c) carriage contracts. Contract term will have no effect insofar as it excludes liability: if it was not fair and reasonable to incorporate the term in the contract, s16 (1) (b). Any limitation clauses are construed contra Proferentem. Graham v Shore Porters Society 1979 SLT 119

AIR – Amended by 1995 Hauge Protocol and 1975 Montreal Convention 1999. The convention contemplates that the consignor deliver a document known as an air waybill – which is a record of cargo receipt. It should be signed by all parties.  Article 18 –The carrier is liable for damage sustained in the event of the destruction or loss of or damage to, cargo. Condition – that the event which caused the damage took place during the carriage by air. Again series of exemptions in art 18. Not liable if Act of war, inherent defects, act of public authority.

SEA – Under strict liability at common law, same as road Wood v Burns 1839. Hague-Visby Rules; If the loss or damage is not apparent, the notice must be given within three days of the delivery of the goods. The notice in writing need not be given if the state of the goods has, at the time of their receipt, been the subject of joint survey or inspection.  Art 4 Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be liable for loss or damage arising or resulting from unseaworthiness unless caused by want of due diligence on the part of the carrier to make the ship seaworthy and to secure that the ship is properly manned, equipped and supplied

Unforeseen challenges… Ebola virus – the legal challenges 129 September 2014By Edward Hicks