Historically, a common carrier is one who exercises the public profession of carrying the goods of all persons wishing to use his services or of carrying passengers whoever they may be. The legal principle still exists, although in practice it has been superseded by legislation.
The rights and liabilities of a common carrier are determined by the common law for reasons of public policy1, although they may be varied by contract2, and stem from his status as a common carrier rather than from contract, express or implied3. His position is analogous to that of an innkeeper at common law4.
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