Albacruz (Cargo Owners) v Albazero ‘The Albazero’: HL 1977

The House was asked as to the extent to which a consignor can claim damages against a carrier in circumstances where the consignor did not retain either property or risk. To the general principle that a person cannot recover substantial damages for breach of contract where he himself has suffered no loss by reason of the breach, there is an exception applicable to contracts of carriage: ‘that the consignor may recover substantial damages against the shipowner if there is privity of contract between him and the carrier for the carriage of goods; although, if the goods are not his property or at his risk, he will be accountable to the true owner for the proceeds of his judgment.’
Lord Diplock rationalised the rule in Lambert to fit into the pattern of English law by treating it: ‘as an application of the principle, accepted also in relation to policies of insurance upon goods, that in a commercial contract concerning goods where it is in the contemplation of the parties that the proprietary interests in the goods may be transferred from one owner to another after the contract has been entered into and before the breach which causes loss or damage to the goods, an original party to the contract, if such be the intention of them both, is to be treated in law as having entered into the contract for the benefit of all persons who have or may acquire an interest in the goods before they are lost or damaged, and is entitled to recover by way of damages for breach of contract the actual loss sustained by those for whose benefit the contract is entered into.’
He explained the common law approach underlying section 32 in terms of bailment: ‘The question who stood in relation of bailor to carrier and so was entitled to sue him for the full value of the goods lost or the full amount of the damage could only arise where the consignor and consignee were different persons. In such a case the presumption was that the bailor was the person named as consignee and that in delivering possession of the goods to the carrier the consignor was acting and purporting to act as agent only for a designated principal – the consignee.’
Lord Brandon, Lord Diplock
[1977] AC 774, [1976] 3 All ER 129
Sale of Goods Act 1979 32
England and Wales
CitedDawes v Peck 1799
Where there is a named consignee on a bill of lading it may be inferred that the contracting party is the consignee not the shipper. . .

Cited by:
CitedBorealis Ab v Stargas Limited and Others and Bergesen Dy A/S Berge Sisar Dorealis Ab v Stargas Limited and Others HL 27-Mar-2001
The ship came to port, and samples of the cargo proved contaminated. The carrier asserted that the consignee was to be deemed to have demanded delivery, and had so assumed the risk. The court found that the mere taking of samples was not such a . .
CitedAlfred Mcalpine Construction Limited v Panatown Limited HL 17-Feb-2000
A main contractor who was building not on his own land, would only be free to claim damages from a sub-contractor for defects in the building where the actual owner of the land would not also have had a remedy. Here, the land owner was able to sue . .
CitedLinden Gardens Trust Ltd v Lenesta Sludge Disposals Ltd and Others; St. Martins Property Corporation Ltd v Sir Robert McAlpine HL 8-Dec-1993
A contractor had done defective work in breach of a building contract with the developer but the loss was suffered by a third party who had by then purchased the development. The developer recovered the loss suffered by the purchaser.
Held: . .
CitedDarlington Borough Council v Wiltshier Northern Ltd and Others CA 29-Jun-1994
The council owned land on which it wanted to build a recreational centre. Construction contracts were entered into not by the council but by a finance company, the building contractors being the respondents Wiltshier Northern Ltd. The finance . .
CitedStora Enso Oyj v Port of Dundee OHCS 8-Mar-2006
Two consignments were destroyed by a fire in the defendaers warehouse. The defender asserted that the pursuer had no title to the goods because under the ‘CIP’ contract, title had passed already to the consignee.
Held: The 1979 Act provided . .
CitedScottish and Newcastle International Limited v Othon Ghalanos Ltd HL 20-Feb-2008
The defendant challenged a decision that the English court had jurisdiction to hear a claim in contract saying that the appropriate court was in Cyprus. The cargo was taken by ship from Liverpool to Limassol. An English court would only have . .
CitedDevenish Nutrition Ltd v Sanofi-Aventis Sa (France) and others CA 14-Oct-2008
The defendant had been involved in price fixing arrangements, and the claimant sought damages for breach of its proprietary rights. The claimant appealed refusal of an award an account of profits for what was akin to a breach of statutory duty.
CitedHelmsley Acceptances Ltd v Hampton CA 11-Mar-2010
The claimant lender sought damages from an allegedly negligent valuation by the defendant. It had syndicated its loan, and the defendant now argued that it could only claim for that part of the loan for which it retained ownership.
Held: The . .
CitedLowick Rose Llp v Swynson Ltd and Another SC 11-Apr-2017
Losses arose from the misvaluation of a company before its purchase. The respondent had funded the purchase, relying upon a valuation by the predecessor of the appellant firm of accountants. Further advances had been made when the true situation was . .
CitedSS (Sri Lanka), Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for The Home Department CA 15-Jun-2018
The court was asked whether, in cases heard by the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) where the credibility of the appellant is in issue, there is a rule that a delay of more than three months between the hearing of oral evidence . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 May 2021; Ref: scu.194553