Mackay v. Scott Packing and Warehousing Co.

In Carriage of Goods by Sea on (Updated )

The Plaintiff in this case had entered into a contract with the Defendant moving company for the carriage of his personal possessions to England. A large number of articles became lost or damaged during transit. The Defendant accepted liability but argued that it was entitled to rely upon a limitation clause in its contract with the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff argued the limitation clause did not extend to cover the negligence of the Defendant and, in any event, it would be unconscionable or unreasonable to allow the Defendant to rely on the clause. Both the Trial Judge and the Court of Appeal rejected the Plaintiff’s argument. The clause in question limited the Defendant’s liability for any loss or damage " howsoever caused" . The Court of Appeal held that the phrase " howsoever caused" was wide enough to encompass negligence. The Court of Appeal further held that there was no unconscionability or inequality of bargaining power and it would not be unreasonable to enforce the clause.