Are your Conditions of Carriage legally enforceable?

To obtain the protection you need, it’s important to use your Conditions of Carriage correctly if they are to be legally enforceable.

The following measures should be taken before moving goods for customers and before appointing subcontractors:

  • Make a senior person responsible for issuing your conditions

  • Display a copy of your conditions in public areas of your premises

  • Do not rely solely on e-mailing or faxing your conditions to customers / sub-contractors or putting them on your website

  • Send your conditions of carriage by recorded delivery prior to trading and ask them to confirm receipt

  • State on all documentation including letters, faxes, e-mails, quotes and invoices that all business is transacted subject to your conditions and make it clear that copies are available on request

  • If using RHA conditions, make it clear which edition you are using any specify any agreed change to the standard £1,300 per tonne limit of liability

  • Re-issue your conditions at least annually and every time the content is amended

  • Make sure you arrange appropriate hauliers’ liability insurance cover

Additional considerations apply when dealing with sub-contractors:

  • Regularly issue a statement to all sub-contractors confirming that goods are passed into their custody and control on the understanding that they accept responsibility on identical terms to you and subject to them arranging, and maintaining in place,‘Goods-in-Transit’ insurance that matches the cover you’ve arranged in order to protect yourself to the extent that you may be held liable under whatever trading conditions and load limits you’ve agreed with your customers

  • Secondary sub-contracting must be forbidden unless you give prior permission in writing. If you wish to give permission, clear it with your insurance company first

  • Where you act as a sub-contractor to a main contractor, make sure the main contractor knows the basis on which you are carrying goods and the scope of the liabilities you accept

  • Make sure your insurance company knows that you use sub-contractors or act as a sub-contractor and that appropriate cover is arranged.

Taking these steps should help ensure that should any goods be lost or damaged whilst in transit and a dispute arises, the extent of your liability is clear.