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Newsletter > September 2003

ROAD CARRIER THAT DOES NOT ISSUE BILL OF LADING CANNOT LIMIT LIABILITY

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has made it quite clear that if a carrier fails to comply with the law requiring it to issue a bill of lading it will not be entitled to avail itself of the limitation of liability provisions of the regulations. In Paine Machine Tool Inc. v. Can-Am West Carriers Inc. (2003), 2003 BCCA 50 (B.C.C.A.) the Court of Appeal held that regulations setting out the requirement of the issuance of a bill of lading and its contents should be adhered to unless it is proved that the parties agreed to other terms for their contract, either expressly, by course of dealings or industry practice. “The regulations impose on the carrier the burden of issuing a bill of lading showing specified facts and containing other information concerning the shipment…the purpose of the obligation imposed on the carrier is to clearly establish the liabilities and obligations of the parties prior to shipment. It would be inappropriate for the appellant to be allowed to rely on the benefits of the conditions contained in the Regulations when it failed to comply with the obligations they impose.” The carrier was not entitled to limit liability.

Rui Fernandes

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