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Bills of Lading Act 1855 – charterers having title to sue for damage to cargo irrespective of ownership of cargo

The Facts

Charterers sold kerosene to the Greek Government.

Three contracts were at issue – (1) the contract of sale, (2) the charter party and (3) the bills of lading.

The contract of sale, although resembling a C&F contract where ownership passes on delivery of the bill of lading, provided that delivery would take place at the charterers’/ sellers’ depot in Greece; also, risk in the cargo remained with charterers until delivery.

The voyage charter party was unexceptional and contained a London arbitration clause.

The bill of lading was between the shippers, acting on behalf of the charterers / sellers and the ship. The Greek Government was the consignee.

In a dispute relating to damage to the cargo, owners took the point that section 1 of the Bills of Lading Act 1855 had the effect that only the consignees had the right to sue.

The umpire, Richard Clyde, stated a special case for the court.


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Charter Party Casebook