An International Case of Stolen Cargo



Given the international nature of trade and commerce, Gostyński and Partners frequently manages cases that involve international clients and multiple jurisdictions. This demands close coordination with valued colleagues across Europe and indeed, the world.

Most recently, in cooperation with colleagues from Austria, our Italian client received a positive verdict, which obliged the carrier of stolen goods to return the amount of nearly EUR 140.000 as compensation for losses.

The case concerned the theft of copper cathodes that were supposed to be transported by a Polish road carrier to Austria from Italy. The truck which arrived at the plaintiff’s facility in Italy to load the copper goods, was posing as a sub-carrier contracted by the designated carrier. Consequently, the copper cathodes worth nearly EUR 140.000 were stolen and never reached their intended destination.

The Austrian court concluded that the Polish-based carrier failed to provide special care of the transported goods. Improper and negligent selection of the sub-carrier led to the carrier’s liability to cover the losses suffered by our client. The case referred to the provisions of the CMR Convention (full title: Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road) which provides the carrier’s responsibility for the acts of any persons of whose services he makes use for the performance of the carriage as if such acts or omissions were their own.

The action was brought before the court in Austria on the basis of EU Regulations on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (1215/2012). In matters relating to a contract it allows the filing of complaints in other Member States. Since the contract was in effect a transport order, it was assumed the defendant’s main obligation was to transport the cargo and duly hand it over to the client located in Austria and therefore the Austrian court was competent to consider the case.


Agata Mierzwa

Szymon Gostyński