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Exemption clause – held operable despite theft of goods in transit by servant of carrier.

The facts

Two bales of terylene worsted suiting were carried for reward by road from Bradford to London subject to the written conditions of carriage of the Road Haulage Association Limited.

Clause 7 of the conditions provided “in the absence of a special contract between the contractor and the consignor/consignee the liability of the contractor in respect to of loss of or damage to the goods shall in no circumstances exceed the value of the goods, or where neither the consignor nor the consignee is the owner thereof, then the liability of such consignor/consignee to the owner (whichever the less), and shall in any case be limited as follows…”

The goods were carried first to a depot in London and from there transferred to another vehicle for carriage to the SS Valdinia berthed at the London docks.  The driver of the vehicle stole goods.

The driver had recently obtained employment through agents of the carrier under a false name and with a forged driver’s license.  The agent did not check his references.

The consignors claimed the full value of the goods from the carriers. 


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