Common Carriers Act 1874

Published: 2019-10-30

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Common Carriers Act 1874

An Act for the more effectual protection of common carriers for hire against the loss of or injury to goods delivered to them for conveyance or custody

[Royal Assent 18 September 1874]

Be it enacted by His Excellency the Governor of Tasmania, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and House of Assembly, in Parliament assembled, as follows:

1.   Short title

This Act may be cited as the Common Carriers Act 1874 .
[Preamble Repealed by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]

2.   Interpretation

[Section 2 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears –
common carrier includes mail contractors, stage coach proprietors, railway companies, and carriers by railway or tramway;
office includes warehouse, booking-office, and receiving house;
railway company includes the manager of any railway or tramway constructed or carried on under the powers of any Act.

3.   Carriers not liable for loss in certain cases

[Section 3 Amended by 25 Geo V No. 78 ][Section 3 Amended by No. 55 of 1965, s. 5 ]No common carrier by land for hire shall be liable for the loss of or injury to any article or property consisting of –
(a) gold or silver coin of the Realm, or of any foreign state;
(b) gold or silver in a manufactured or unmanufactured state; gold or silver plate, or plated articles, precious stones, jewellery, trinkets;
(c) watches, clocks, or time-pieces of any description;
(d) bills of exchange, promissory notes, bank notes, or other securities for the payment of money, or stamps;
(e) maps, writings, title deeds, paintings, engravings, pictures;
(f) glass or china; or
(g) silks in a manufactured or unmanufactured state, and whether wrought up or not wrought up with other materials, furs, or lace –
or any of them contained in any parcel or package which shall have been delivered either to be carried for hire, or to accompany the person of any passenger in any mail or stage coach or other public conveyance, when the value of such article or property contained in such parcel or package exceeds the sum of $20, unless at the time of the delivery thereof at the office of such common carrier, or to his book-keeper, coachman, or other servant, for the purpose of being carried, or of accompanying the person of any passenger as aforesaid, the value and nature of such article or property have been declared by the person sending or delivering the same, and such increased charge as hereinafter mentioned, or engagement to pay the same, be accepted by the person receiving such parcel or package.

4.   Increased charges in certain cases

[Section 4 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ][Section 4 Amended by No. 55 of 1965, s. 5 ]
(1)  When any parcel or package containing any article above specified is so delivered, and its value and contents declared as aforesaid, and such value exceeds the sum of $20, such common carrier may demand and receive an increased rate of charge, to be notified by some notice affixed in legible characters in some public and conspicuous part of the office where such parcels or packages are received for the purpose of conveyance, stating the increased rates of charge required to be paid over and above the ordinary rate of carriage as a compensation for the greater risk and care to be taken for the safe conveyance of such valuable articles.
(2)  All persons sending or delivering parcels or packages containing such valuable articles as aforesaid at such office shall be bound by such notice, without further proof of the same having come to their knowledge.

5.   Carriers' receipts for increased charges

[Section 5 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]
(1)  When the value has been so declared and the increased rate of charge paid, or an engagement to pay the same has been accepted as hereinbefore mentioned, the person receiving such increased rate of charge or accepting such agreement shall, if thereto required, sign a receipt for the package or parcel acknowledging the same to have been insured, which receipt shall not be liable to any stamp duty.
(2)  If such receipt is not given when required, or such notice as aforesaid has not been affixed, the common carrier shall not have or be entitled to any benefit or advantage under this Act, but shall be liable and responsible as at the common law, and be liable to refund the increased rate of charge.

6.   Notices not to limit liability for other goods conveyed

[Section 6 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]No public notice or declaration shall limit or in anywise affect the liability at common law of any public common carriers for or in respect of any articles or goods to be carried and conveyed by them; but all common carriers shall be liable as at the common law to answer for the loss of or any injury to any articles and goods in respect whereof they may not be entitled to the benefit of this Act, any public notice or declaration by them made and given contrary thereto, or in otherwise limiting such liability, notwithstanding.

7.   Actions

[Section 7 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]For the purposes of this Act –
(a) every office used or appointed by any common carrier for the receipt of parcels to be conveyed as aforesaid shall be deemed to be the office of such common carrier;
(b) any one or more common carriers may be sued by his or their name or names only; and
(c) no action commenced to recover damages for loss of or injury to any parcel, package, or person shall abate for the want of joining any co-proprietor or co-partner in any mail, stage coach, or other public conveyance by land for hire as aforesaid.

8.   Contracts not affected

[Section 8 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]Nothing in this Act shall annul or in anywise affect any special contract between such common carrier and any other party for the conveyance of goods and merchandise.

9.   Extra charges recoverable

Where any parcel or package has been delivered at any such office, and the value and contents declared as aforesaid, and the increased rate of charges been paid, and such parcels or packages have been lost or damaged, the party entitled to recover damages in respect of such loss or damage shall also be entitled to recover back such increased charges so paid as aforesaid, in addition to the value of such parcel or package.

10.   Criminal acts not protected

[Section 10 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]Nothing in this Act shall protect any common carrier for hire from liability to answer for loss or injury to any goods or articles whatsoever arising from the criminal acts of any coachman, guard, book-keeper, porter, or other servant in his employ; or protect any such coachman, guard, book-keeper, porter, or other servant from liability for any loss or injury occasioned by his or their own personal neglect or misconduct.

11.   Liability for proved damages only

[Section 11 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]Such common carriers for hire shall not be concluded as to the value of any such parcel or package by the value so declared as aforesaid, but shall in all cases be entitled to require, from the party suing in respect of any loss or injury, proof of the actual value of the contents by the ordinary legal evidence; and such common carriers shall be liable to such damages only as shall be proved as aforesaid not exceeding the declared value, together with the increased charges as aforesaid.

12.   Power to pay money into Court

[Section 12 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]In all actions brought against any such common carrier for the loss of or injury to any goods delivered to be carried, whether the value of such goods has been declared or not, the defendant may pay money into Court in the same manner and with the same effect as money may be paid into Court in any other action.

13.   Railway company liable, notwithstanding notice to contrary

[Section 13 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]
(1)  Every railway company shall be liable for the loss of or for any injury done to any horses, cattle, or other animals, or to any articles, goods, or things in the receiving, forwarding, or delivering thereof occasioned by the neglect or default of such company or its servants, notwithstanding any notice, condition, or declaration made and given by such company contrary thereto, or in anywise limiting such liability, and every such notice, condition, or declaration is hereby declared to be null and void.
(2)  Nothing herein contained shall prevent the said companies from making such conditions with respect to the receiving, forwarding, and delivering of any of the said animals, articles, goods, or things as shall be adjudged by the Court or judge before whom any question relating thereto is tried to be just and reasonable.

14.   Railway company not liable beyond limited amount in certain cases

[Section 14 Amended by 25 Geo. V No. 78 ]
(1)  [Section 14 Subsection (1) amended by No. 55 of 1965, s. 5 ]The damages to be recovered from such railway company for the loss of or for any injury done to any horse, cattle, sheep, or pigs, shall not exceed for any –
(a) horse, $100;
(b) neat cattle, per head, $30; or
(c) sheep or pigs, per head, $4 –
unless the person sending or delivering the same to such company shall at the time of such delivery have declared them to be respectively of higher value than as abovementioned, in which case it shall be lawful for such company to demand and receive by way of compensation, for the increased risk and care thereby occasioned, a reasonable percentage upon the excess of the value so declared above the respective sums so limited as aforesaid, and which shall be paid in addition to the ordinary rate of charge.
(2)  Such percentage or increased rate of charge shall be notified in manner hereinbefore prescribed, and shall be binding upon such company in the manner hereinbefore mentioned.
(3)  Proof of the value of such animals, articles, goods, and things, and the amount of the injury done thereto, shall in all cases lie upon the person claiming compensation for such loss or injury.
(4)  No special contract between such company and any other parties respecting the receiving, forwarding, or delivering of any animals, articles, goods, or things as aforesaid shall be binding upon or affect any such party unless the same be signed by him or by the person delivering such animals, articles, goods, or things respectively for carriage.
(5)  Nothing in subsection (4) shall alter or affect the rights, privileges, or liabilities of any such company under this Act with respect to articles of the descriptions herein mentioned.