Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2016] All ER (D) 87 (Nov)
Neutral Citation: [2016] EWCA Civ 1103
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Gloster, King LJJ and Flaux J

Representation John Russell QC and Benjamin Coffer (instructed by Clyde & Co LLP) for the claimants.
  Simon Bryan QC and David Semark (instructed by Mills & Co) for the defendants.
Judgment Dates: 10 November 2016


Shipping - Bills of lading - Care of cargo - Proceedings concerning shipment of coffee beans - Bills of lading containing Hague Rules - First to fifth claimants being consignees under bills of lading and sixth claimant being agent of cargo underwriters - Judge finding onus to be on defendant carriers to establish inherent vice or inevitability of damage and to disprove negligence - Carriers appealing - Whether, among other things, when cargo claimant establishing goods being received by carrier in good order and condition but delivered in damaged condition, sustainable cause of action for breach of carrier's obligation to redeliver goods in same order and condition as when shipped being established - If, sustainable cause of action being established, whether legal burden resting on carrier to prove on balance of probabilities damage having been caused by inherent vice or merely evidential burden to raise prima facie case of inherent vice - Whether requirements on carrier to establish prima facie case of inherent vice - Whether judge erring.

The Case

Shipping Bills of lading. The Mercantile Court, in allowing the appeal of the defendant carriers in part, considered the scope and operation of the Hague Rules (the Rules). The court held that, among other things, once the carrier had shown a prima facie case for the application of the exception of inherent vice in art IV r 2(m) of the Rules, the burden had then shifted to the cargo claimant to establish negligence on the part of the carrier, such as would negative the operation of the exception in the bill of lading for loss occasioned by perils of the sea.

Practice Areas

If you are a LexisLibrary subscriber you can read more about this case here.