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Colonial Cases

Cohen v. Attorney General, 1932

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Cohen v. Attorney General

Court of Appeal, Palestine
Source: The Palestine Post, 4 December 1932




FRIDAY, December 2


Before the Senior Puisne Judge; Frumkin and Khayat J.J.

Important Decision regarding responsibility of Post Office.

   The Court dismissed the appeal brought by Mordecai Cohen against a decision of the District Court, Jaffa, which held that in a case of loss of a postal packet, the proper person who can claim damages is the sender and not the addressee.

   On Petach Tikvah there are two men of the same name.  One of them, the appellant in this case, was in the habit of receiving registered letters from a certain place in Poland.  One such registered letter addressed for Mordecai Cohen, Petach Tikvah, was duly delivered by the Post Office against a signed receipt.  The appellant alleged that the letter was meant for him, was not delivered to him and that the signature on the receipt was not his.  Handwriting experts testified that the handwriting on the receipt was the same as that of the appellant.

   The District Court, Jaffa, dismissed the claim on the ground that under the International Postal Convention, compensation was payable by the Post Office in case of loss only to the sender of the letter and not to the addressee.  The Court took judicial notice of the Convention and held that the contract made by the Post Office was with the sender as he was the person who had paid for the postage.  Consequently, the proper person in this case to claim damages, if any, was not the appellant. Moreover, the Postal Authorities of this country were liable only to the Postal Authorities of the country from where the letter originated as they were their agents.  Therefore the Court dismissed the action.

   The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the District Court and dismissed the appeal.

   Mr. Eliash represented the appellant; Mr. Kantrovitch the Attorney General.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School