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Law Notes Shipping and International Trade Notes

Loss Of Or Damage To Goods Notes

Updated Loss Of Or Damage To Goods Notes

Shipping and International Trade Notes

Shipping and International Trade

Approximately 359 pages

Shipping and International Trade Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford. These notes cover all the major LLB aspects and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London). These notes were formed directly from a reading of the cases and main texts and are vigorous, concise and very well written. Everything is conveniently split up by topic as you can se...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Shipping and International Trade Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:



  • The problem of the loss or deterioration of the goods in transit must be analysed partly in terms of the obligations of the parties as to quality, packing, shipment, etc.; and partly in terms of risk.

    • Therefore the cases for this week consider the obligations of the seller/buyer as to the goods, and also when risk passes



When does risk generally pass?

FOB Contract

  • On shipment

    • (Ingliss v Stock)

    • Also Cunningham v Munro

CIF Contract

  • On or as from shipment

    • The Julia

    • As from -> there might be a sale of goods while goods are afloat

    • Thus as from indicates that risk is deemed to have passed when shipment occurred -> it’s retrospective in that sense

  • What does “on shipment” mean?

    • At the ship’s rail

  • This rule is crude but certain

    • Both parties know exactly when to get insurance

    • It’s crude but also clear -> that’s the attraction of the rule

  • Are there better alternatives?

    • What about linking risk to control -> if you have control of the goods, you can manage the risk better

    • Possibility for reform is discussed in your seminar notes (see your Benjamin readings)

General rule

  • General rule in S20(1) SGA is that risk passes with property

    • But there is significant departure from this rule in both FOB and CIF contexts

Important exceptions to the general rule

  • 1) There is an important exception in S20(2) SGA

    • “where delivery has been delayed through the fault of either buyer or seller the goods are at the risk of the party at fault as regards any loss which might not have occurred but for such fault”

    • Delivery = shipment (S32(1))

    • DN: unclear what “fault” means – but I think “fault” means breach

      • You could take a broader view of fault, but then the problem is where does fault end then

  • S20(2) is possibly important in a FOB context

    • In a standard FOB contract, if there is a delay in shipment, it’ll be because the buyer has failed to arrange for a suitable vessel to pick up the goods within the shipment period

      • So in that case, the risk would shift to the buyer even before shipment

      • But in that case, the buyer is already in breach of their contract with the seller to arrange a suitable seller

      • So they’ll already be liable to the seller for any loss arising from the breach

  • However, it is irrelevant in a CIF context

    • If shipment is delayed, likely to be due to the seller

    • You’ve got a straightforward breach of S13!

      • Implied term that goods will match description

      • So you could sue for damages, OR straight up reject the goods (if they’ve deteriorated)

  • 2) S32(2) (reasonable CoC)

    • Essentially, risk stays with seller if he fails to make a reasonable CoC

  • Usually irrelevant in a strict FOB case, because there usually the buyer makes the CoC

    • It could be relevant in an extended services FOB, where the seller is involved in arranging the CoC

  • What about CIF? (or extended services)

    • Not really relevant – the seller is already obligated to make the CoC

    • But need to show that the failure to make a reasonable contract CAUSED the loss

      • But this is unclear – no case law

    • One possibility is that it reverses the burden of proof

      • i.e. seller needs to show that the loss was NOT caused by failure to make reasonable CoC

    • So it might strengthen the hand of the buyer

  • The provisions of s.32(2) apply even where there is no contractual obligation on the seller to make a contract of carriage—where he is merely “authorised” but not “required” to send the goods to the buyer

  • What is a reasonable contract appears to depend on what is usual in the trade in question.

    • Benjamin’s: In one case the seller had the option of sending the goods either at carrier’s or owner’s (i.e. buyer’s) risk; and it was held that he had not made a reasonable contract by choosing the latter method

  • 3) S32(3) (notice of insurance)

    • Could be impt in a FOB contract because the buyer has to take out insurance

    • So they might need such information

    • But OTOH they might not need such information from the seller, because they’re the ones making the shipping arrangement -> so they already know everything they need to know to make the insurance arrangement!

    • So this would only be relevant where the SELLER is responsible for making shipping arrangements but the BUYER is responsible for taking out insurance

  • In a CIF context it’s usually not going to matter, the SELLER has to arrange the insurance and contract of carriage ANYWAY

    • So if it were a C and F contract, then maybe!

  • See your seminar notes (Benjamin’s) for case law on this

  • 4) Cunningham v Munro Exception

    • Lord Hewart: “there may also be circumstances where, although the purchaser may be entitled to reject when the goods are being placed over the ship's rail, yet the vendor may be entitled to recover damages in respect of the deterioration of the goods”

    • Where the buyer informs the seller that the ship will be arriving on a particular day, and the seller brings the perishable cargo down to the docks, but the ship only arrives later, after the goods have deteriorated. Even if the ship arrives within the shipment period (and thus the buyer is not in breach), there can still be a cause of action

      • Indeed, Benjamin’s has argued that this would, for instance, clearly include storage charges as well as deterioration owing to ineffective shipping instructions given by the buyer, even where there is no breach

      • “If the time of shipment is at the buyer’s option, he may at one point in the shipment period give shipping instructions which are ineffective; and if as a result of such instructions the seller suffers loss he can no doubt recover damages, e.g. in respect of storage charges or deterioration of the goods before shipment. But such abortive shipping instructions do not put the buyer finally in breach, it being still open to him to give effective shipping instructions during the remainder of the shipment period; and the market may fluctuate during this time”

    • Benjamin’s explains this as a...

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