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Consignee Must Give Notice of His Claim During Delivery of Goods or Within Three Days From Date of Delivery, Otherwise Carrier Is Not Liable

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In an action filed before the Dubai Courts, an insurance company under subrogation right brought an action against the owners and charterers of a vessel claiming that they had paid their clients the insured, an amount of Dhs 40,900 for damaged goods which were delivered in damaged condition at Rashid Port. The plaintiff claimed that the rolls of paper were shipped in a good condition whereas they were delivered damaged to the consignee. The Dubai Court of First Instance dismissed this action and the judgment was upheld by the Dubai Court of Appeal. The plaintiffs appealed further to the Court of Cassation; the Court of Cassation held that it is evident from the facts of this case and the documents that include the document issued from the Port Authority that the goods were delivered to the consignee and the consignee raised no objection against the delivery or the condition of the goods. Further the consignee had taken the goods and stored the same in their warehouse in Abu Dhabi and made no-claim within three days from the date of delivery. Pursuant to Article 281 of the UAE Maritime Code, the carrier is not liable and the burden of proof will be shifted to the consignee to prove that the damage had taken place before the delivery. The court held that taking delivery of the goods without giving notice to claim for the damage during the delivery if the damages were apparent, or three days following the delivery, if the damages were not apparent, will release the carrier from responsibility and will shift the burden of proof on the consignee to prove that the damage took place before delivery, unless, of course, a survey was carried out at the time of the delivery where the carrier or his representative and the consignee or his representative were present at the time when the survey was carried out. In view of the above, since the consignee failed to prove that the goods were damaged during transit, the action was dismissed.

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