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Vicarious liability for the carrier by river?

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A case-study of a litigation during the years 1566–1574 between merchants from Oudenaarde and the Corporation of Free Shippers in Ghent shows that the corporation's liability for damage caused by one of its members was controversial. Although art. 20 of the ordinance of 14 February 1541 appeared to phrase the corporation's vicarious or subsidiary liability in general terms, the corporation's counsel, assisted by consultancies from a.o. E. Leoninus and J. Wamesius, successfully argued that in the light of the ordinance's rationale, which limited the free shippers' privileges in the aftermath of Charles V's punishment of Ghent in 1540, the corporation's liability had correspondingly to be construed restrictively, viz. only with regard to cargo shipped in Ghent under its control.

Affiliations: 1: Brussels–Leiden–Louvain-la-Neuve

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