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Present: Ennis and Porter JJ.
PETER v. COMPAGNIE DES MESSAGERIES MARITIMES
322—D. C. Colombo, 637.
Bill of- lading;—Goods to be delivered to “ a M—A ordre "
A'finn in France consigned to plaintiff in Colombo goods by aship belonging : to . defendant company. The bill of lading showedthat the goods- were to be delivered a M.—a' ordre." Ihe bankto. which' the' bill was. sent endorsed the. same and gave, it to theplaintiff. The defendant, company refused delivery of the goods,alleging that they had “no order from the shipper. ' '
Held, that the plaintiff -was entitled to the delivery of the goods..,-The bill of lading~waB one for delivery of the goods to the orderof an unnamed consignee, and not one for delivery of the goodsto the order -of the consignor. It .did not require endorsement, butcould be transferred by mere delivery. .. .
HE plaintiff sued the defendant for the'recovery of .a sum ofRs. 376.48 being the, value of certain goods.which the plaintiff
alleged the defendant wrongfully refused to deliver to him, and fora sum of Rs. 56.40 by way of damages for: tile said alleged wrongfulrefusal.
The goods had been consigned to Colombo on the' defendantcompany*8 -line of steamers by the firm- of Marie Brizard and Rogerof Bordeaux. .
The – defendant company denied that the. refusal on their part todeliver the goods to plaintiff was wrongful, inasmuch as the bill oflading presented- by- the plaintiff .to’ defendant company was notproperly endorsed..
The District Judge entered judgment for plaintiff;
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The bill of lading was as follows:—1922.
A-Far Vapear de Bordeaux a La Paltice.Peter v.
Bordeaux le 22nd October, 1020. dc^*M^ntri
Out ete rentes de M lies Maritiersdc Maria Brizard -and Boger pour P*11*** Mari-etre chargees sur le Vapeur francais Dr. Pierre Benoit. Captaine, X on tttneesur le snivant, etre transporteee a Colombo et delivrecs a M a ■ odrc, ' Ac.
Marques. Women*. Komtee. Contenn B^claro. **** -fiBE dSta"
J.R.P. .. 1/5 .. 5 .. Caissea Liqueurs •. 138 .. k. .. 501 .. FranceColombo
La presenteexpedition est faite aux clauses -ct conditions,tant.
generates qneparticulieres. stipules ci-apres, dont le chargeur – apris
connaissance et qu ’il declare accepter, tee.
Le defaut de signature du chargeur ne’ prejudicie pas a la valeur dcsclauses qui precedent.
(8gd.) By Le Chargeur.(Sgd.) By Le Capitaine.
Garvin, for defendant, appellant.
A. St. V. Jayawardene, K.C. (with him L. H. de Alwift), for plaintiff,respondent.
March 8, 1922. Ennis J.—
This was an action for the value of certain goods and for damages.The claim for damages, was waived. The plaintiff is the holderof a bill of lading, and he complains that the defendant companyrefused to deliver the goods mentioned in the bill of lading to him.At the trial it was agreed that should judgment be given in favourof the plaintiff, the goods would be delivered. The learned Judge-found in favour of the plaintiff, and the defendant appeals. The billof lading shows that the goods were to be delivered “ a M—a ordre.The hill of lading is signed by the shipper and the captain of theship at the foot of the conditions at the back of the bill of lading.It is theu endorsed by the Chartered Bank of India for delivery toJ.- R. Peter, the plaintiff in the case. The defendant companycontend that this oil! of lading is not properly endorsed, that it isnot a bill of lading in blank, but a bill of lading for delivery of thegoods to the order of the consignor and not of the consignee. Theagent of the defendant company.in giving evidence said that he hadno order from the shipper, and wras awaiting his order before deliver-ing. He contended that the words a ordre found in the bill of ladingaffected- a cancellation of the words a M. It is to be observed,however, that these words have not been in fact cancelled, and thereis a blank after them,- so that the bill oz lading .would seem to readthat delivery was to be made to an unnamed person or bis order.I, therefore, agree with the learned Judge’s interpretation of thebill of lading that it is one for delivery to the order of an unnamedconsignee and not one for delivery of the goods to the order of theconsignor. The learned Judge relied upon a passage in Halabury's
Compagniedee Metea-geriee Mari'times
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Laws of England, vpl. II., p. 158, which ran: “ If the bill of lading
does not name the consignee, but makes the goods deliverable tobearer" or order, or -assigns the space for the name of the consigneebeing left blank, it may be transferred by delivery without endorse-ment. "
Our attention has been called to a very similar passage in Scrutton'sCharter Parties and Bills of Lading, 5ih ed., p. 140, to the effect,that where the goods are delivered.to a name left, blank, the bill ofvlading passes from hand to hand by mere delivery. These passagesare based on .the authority of Sewell v. Burdick,1 which in turn reliesupon the case of Ldckbarrow v. Mason * In the present case the billof lading appears to have been sent by the consignor to the CharteredBank of India in Colombo with instructions to collect the paymentand hand over the bill of lading on receipt of the same. The bankdid this, and endorsed it to the plaintiff in the present action. Itwould seem then that the plaintiff is the legal owner of the goods, andentitled as against the consignor to the delivery of the goods. Thejudgment in favour of the plaintiff is therefore in order, and I woulddismiss the appeal, with costs.
Pouter .J.—I agree.