Barzelex v. The "EBN Al Waleed"

In Carriage of Goods by Sea on (Updated )

This was an appeal from the Federal Court Trial Division. The bill of lading contained a general paramount clause incorporating the Hague Rules as enacted in the country of shipment. The country of shipment was Turkey. However, Turkey had enacted the Hague Rules twice into its legislation. Initially, the Rules were enacted through ratification of the convention. This enactment gave a limitation of 100 pounds sterling gold value (approximately $12,500) per package or unit. Later the Rules were enacted as part of Turkey’s Commercial Code. This enactment, as amended, gave a limitation of 100,000 Turkish Lire (approximately $2.31) per package or unit. At issue in the case was which of these limitations applied. The Plaintiff argued and led expert evidence that the enactment in the Commercial Code applied only to internal shipments. The Trial Judge found as a fact however that under Turkish law the Commercial Code applied to international shipments as well as internal shipments. The Plaintiff then argued that a $2.31 limitation per package or unit was unconscionable and should not be enforced. The Trial Judge held that it was the result of a contractual provision which the Plaintiff could have avoided by declaring a value for the goods. The Plaintiff appealed. The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal saying they were not satisfied the Trial Judge had erred and that on the evidence before him it was open to him to make the findings he did.