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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Cohen v Ritchie (1830) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 924; [1830] NSWSupC 49

bill of lading, parol evidence rule, shipping, damaged goods

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Banco hearing, 1 July 1830

Source: Dowling, Select Cases, Vol. 2, Archives Office of New South Wales, 2/3462

[p. 344]

[Where the Master of a Vessel signed bills of lading of a Cargo "with the words" Shipped in good order",  Held that he could not by parol evidence contradict this acknowledgment in an action for the price of goods damages during the voyage from London to N.S.W.]

July 1st 1830

Cohen v Ritchie

This was an action of assumsit to recover a compensation in damages for injury to goods shipped on board the Defendants Vessel called "The Clansman", to be delivered in Sydney.  1st Count was in assumsit to deliver certain Crates (of earthen ware) in good order and condition, and breach that they were injured through the negligence of the Captain  2nd Count that from the same negligence the goods were wholly lost plea the general Issue at the trial before Stephen J in the 1st Term this year it appeared in evidence that the Plaintiffs principal in London had shipped certain Crates on board the Clansman bound for this port the Captain signed the usual set of bills "of lading",Shipped in good order "so many Crates "Contents unknown".

The Crates arrived in Sydney, and when landed on the Wharf were in a broken and damaged state.  The question was whether the goods [p. 345] were damaged in consequence of being put into crates of insufficient quality and strength to carry them in safety or from the negligence of the Master in their Stowage.  The Judge allowed evidence to be given that the goods had been packed in old Crates and were unfit to carry the goods on the voyage, notwithstanding that the Captain had signed  bill of lading acknowledging that they had been "shipped" in good order".  An objection was taken on the part of the Defendant that the Action ought to have been brought in the name of the Consignor and not in the name of the Plaintiff as the Consignee.  Another objection was, that the Bill of lading produced (being one of the set made out in London) ought to have been stamped.

The Judge gave no opinion on the latter points and in consequence of the evidence given to show that the goods had not been shipped in good order the defendant had a verdict.

[p. 346]  A motion was now made by Wentworth for a new trial on the ground that the evidence had been improperly received Wardel was heard ContrĂ¢ and the Court was of opinion that parol evidence was inadmissible to contradict the bill of lading.

See Abbot on Shipping 216. 3 B & A 277.  Chitty Com Law 401.  Clegg v Levy 3 Camp  Davis v Reynolds 1 Stark.  Moses v Hopper 2 Bos & Peel

Rule Granted

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University