- Cargo claims — Carrier's obligations — Carrier's rights and immunities — Limitation of liability
This chapter discusses domestic legislation on cargo liability. In English law, common carriers, such as masters of general ships, were carriers who exercised a public employment, offering carriage to all persons wishing to use the services offered, whether for the carriage of goods (or of passengers). The general principle, as in Roman law, was that the carrier was liable as an ‘insurer’ of the goods, absolutely responsible for delivering the goods at the destination in like order and condition. Unlike public carriers, private carriers undertake the carriage of goods but do not hold themselves out as exercising a public employment. Usually, the carrier’s obligations arise from his contractual agreement to carry the goods of the shipper and, where for reward, private carriers are bailees and have the ordinary responsibilities of a bailee of the goods. The chapter then looks at the Harter Act of 1893 and legislation in other Commonwealth countries, including the Shipping and Seamen Act 1903 in New Zealand, the Sea-Carriage of Goods Act in Australia, and Canada’s Water-Carriage of Goods Act in 1910.
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