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02 September 2014
In a recent decision the Supreme Court dealt with matters of judicial conflict arising in connection with the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR).(1)
According to Article 1(1) of the CMR, the CMR applies to contracts for the carriage of goods for reward by road in vehicles when the place designated as the pick-up point and the place designated for delivery (as specified in the contract) are situated in two different countries, of which at least one is a contracting country.
In the case in question the CMR applied to the cross-border carriage of goods because both Denmark and Italy are contracting states. The Rome I Regulation (593/2008 on) also applied subsidiarily to the parties' contract on the carriage of goods.
As international uniform law, the CMR enjoys priority insofar as it governs a matter itself or provides a conflict rule (Article 25 of the Rome I Regulation). Questions not addressed by the CMR that cannot be solved through interpretation, and for which no specific set of laws is prescribed, fall under the law that must be applied according to the law of conflicts. If the CMR does not apply, the conflict rules of Article 5(1) of the Rome I Regulation apply to a contract for the carriage of goods.
In this case the parties expressed no choice of law and Austria – where the defendant shipping company had its headquarters registered – was not the pick-up point (Denmark), the drop-off point (Italy) or the seat of the dispatcher's headquarters. Thus, according to Article 5(1) of the Rome I Regulation, the law of the state designated by both parties as the drop-off point (ie, Italy) was to be applied; therefore, the court found that Italian law must be applied.
The CMR enjoys priority over the Rome I Regulation, insofar as it addresses an issue itself or provides a conflict rule.
For further information on this topic please contact Klaus Oblin at Oblin Melichar by telephone (+43 1 505 37 05), fax (+43 1 505 37 05 10) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Oblin Melichar website can be accessed at www.oblin.at.
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