Dairy Containers Ltd v Tasman Orient Line Cv: PC 20 May 2004

PC (New Zealand) The appeal concerned the correct interpretation of a damage limitation clause in a contract for the carriage of goods by sea.
Held: Clause 6(B)(b)(i) must be construed in the context of the contract as a whole. The general rule is that if a party, otherwise liable, is to exclude or limit his liability or to rely on an exemption, he must do so in clear words. The deemed limitation provision to ‘pounds 100 Sterling, lawful money of the United Kingdom per package or unit’, gives effect to article IV rule 5 as if it were unqualified by article IX. The express limitation stated by the parties in clause 6(B)(b)(i) had the purpose of altering the limitation aspect of the Hague Rules and that effect had to be given to that contractual purpose.
Lord Bingham of Cornhill summed up the general principles of construction of written agreements: ‘The contract should be given the meaning it would convey to a reasonable person having all the background knowledge which is reasonably available to the person or class of persons to whom the document is addressed.’

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Lord Carswell, Dame Sian Elias
[2004] UKPC 22, [2004] 2 All ER (Comm) 667, [2005] 1 WLR 215
PC, Bailii, PC
Hague Rules
England and Wales
CitedHomburg Houtimport BV v Agrosin Private Ltd (the ‘Starsin’) HL 13-Mar-2003
Cargo owners sought damages for their cargo which had been damaged aboard the ship. The contract had been endorsed with additional terms. That variation may have changed the contract from a charterer’s to a shipowner’s bill.
Held: The specific . .
CitedThe ‘Rosa S’ 1988
THe effect of article IX is to make plain that what article IV rule 5 refers to is the gold value of the pound sterling not its nominal or paper value. ‘Fortunately for carriers this result is not disastrous, as most nations where Hague Rules are . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Transport

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.198085