CMR-Convention and liability, Article 17 CMR and Article 23 CMR

“CMR” is the abbreviation of the French title for the “Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road”. This convention is an international treaty, which has the status of a law in Austria. That means that the convention has been incorporated into the Austrian legal system through an official announcement.

The CMR in regard to transport law provides a mandatory system.  According to article 17 (1) CMR the liability stated shall balance the interests of the carrier and the sender/consignee.

Article 17 CMR states as follows:

Article 17
1. The carrier shall be liable for the total or partial loss of the goods and for damage thereto occurring between
the time when he takes over the goods and the time of delivery, as well as for any delay in delivery.
2. The carrier shall however be relieved of liability if the loss, damage or delay was caused by the wrongful act or
neglect of the claimant, by the instructions of the claimant given otherwise than as the result of a wrongful
act or neglect on the part of the carrier, by inherent vice of the goods or through cirsumstances which the
carrier could not avoid and the consequences of which he was unable to prevent.
3. The carrier shall not be relieved of liability by reason of the defective condition of the vehicle used by him in
order to perform the carriage, or by reason of the wrongful act or neglect of the person from whom he may
have hired the vehicle or of the agents or servants of the latter.
4. Subject to article 18, paragraphs 2 to 5, the carrier shall be relieved of liability when the loss or damage arises
from the special risks inherent in one or more of the following circumstances:
a) Use of open unsheeted vehicles, when their use has been expressly agreed and specified in the
consignment note;
b) the lack of, or defective condition of packing in the case of goods which, by their nature, are liable to
wastage or to be damaged when not packed or when not properly packed;
c) handling, loading, stowage or unloading of the goods by the sender, the consignee or persons acting on
behalf of the sender or the consignee;
d) the nature of certain kinds of goods which particularly exposes them to total or partial loss or to damage,
especially through breakage, rust, decay, desiccation, leakage, normal wastage, or the action of moth or
vermin;
e) insufficiency or inadequacy of marks or numbers on the packages;
f) the carriage of livestock.
5. Where under this article the carrier is not under any liability in respect of some of the factors causing the loss,
damage or delay, he shall only be liable to the extent that those factors for which he is liable under this article
have contributed to the loss, damage or delay.

In article 17 CMR the main liability rule is stated that the carrier is liable for any damage to or loss of the goods in his care, unless he can rely on one of the exemptions of liability listed in article 17 (2) and (4) CMR.

In this regard also Article 23 CMR is relevant as in case of a liability the compensation shall be calculated in respect of total or partial loss of goods by reference to the value of the goods at the place and time at which they were accepted for carriage

Article 23
1. When, under the provisions of this Convention, a carrier is liable for compensation in respect of total or partial
loss of goods, such compensation shall be calculated by reference to the value of the goods at the place and
time at which they were accepted for carriage.
2. The value of the goods shall be fixed according to the commodity exchange price or, if there is no such price,
according to the current market price or, if there is no commodity exchange price or current market price, by
reference to the normal value of goods of the same kind and quality.
3. Compensation shall not, however, exceed 8.33 units of account per kilogram of gross weight short.
4. In addition, the carriage charges, Customs duties and other charges incurred in respect of the carriage of the
goods shall be refunded in full in case of total loss and in proportion to the loss sustained in case of partial
loss, but no further damages shall be payable.
5. In the case of delay, if the claimant proves that damage has resulted therefrom the carrier shall pay
compensation for such damage not exceeding the carriage charges.
6. Higher compensation may only be claimed where the value of the goods or a special interest in delivery has
been declared in accordance with articles 24 and 26.
7. The unit of account mentioned in this Convention is the Special Drawing Right as defined by the International
Monetary Fund. The amount mentioned in paragraph 3 of this article shall be converted into the national
currency of the State of the Court seized of the case on the basis of the value of that currency on the date
of the judgement or the date agreed upon by the Parties. The value of the national currency, in terms of the
Special Drawing Right, of a State which is a member of the International Monetary Fund, shall be calculated
in accordance with the method of valuation applied by the International Monetary Fund in effect at the date
in question of its operations and transactions. The value of the national currency, in terms of the Special
Drawing Right, of a State which is not a member of the International Monetary Fund, shall be calculated in a
manner determined by that State.
8. Nevertheless, a State which is not a member of the International Monetary Fund and whose law does not
permit the application of the provisions of paragraph 7 of this article may, at the time of ratification of or
accession to the Protocol to the CMR or at any time thereafter, declare that the limit of liability provided for
in paragraph 3 of this article to be applied in this territory shall be 25 monetary units. The monetary unit
referred to in this paragraph corresponds to 10/31 gram of gold of millesimal fineness nine hundred. The
conversion of the amount specified in this paragraph into the national currency shall be made according to
the law of the State concerned.
9. The calculation mentioned in the last sentence of paragraph 7 of this article and the conversion mentioned
in paragraph 8 of this article shall be made in such a manner as to express in the national currency of the
State as far as possible the same real value for the amount in paragraph 3 of this article as is expressed there
in units of account. States shall communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations the manner of
calculation pursuant of paragraph 7 of this article or the result of the conversion in paragraph 8 of this article
as the case may be, when depositing an instrument referred to in article 3 of the Protocol to the CMR and
whenever there is a change in either.

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