The Aliakmon [1986] AC 785

Key point

  • A claim in negligence for loss or damage to property can be made only when plaintiff has title to property at the time the damage occurred

Facts

  • Steel coils purchased by C were damaged by bad stowage on ship
  • At the time the damage occurred, C only had a contractual right to the goods and the title had yet to pass from the seller
  • Issue: did C have a right to sue D shipowners in negligence?

Held (House of Lords)

  • C had no claim against D in negligence
  • A claim in negligence for loss or damage to property can be made only when plaintiff has legal ownership or a possessory title to property at the time the damage occurred
  • Contractual rights that are adversely affected due to the damage do not suffice