Carriage of goods by rail
Produced in partnership with James Watthey and Quentin Tannock of 4 Pump Court
Carriage of goods by rail

The following Commercial guidance note Produced in partnership with James Watthey and Quentin Tannock of 4 Pump Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Carriage of goods by rail
  • Scope of application
  • Carrier
  • The contract of carriage under CIM
  • Loading and unloading
  • The carrier’s liabilities under the CIM rules
  • Liability under the CIM rules
  • Burden of proof
  • Basis of compensation
  • Railway vehicles
  • more

This Practice Note provides a summary of the law relating to the carriage of goods by rail as provided for in the Uniform Rules Concerning the Contract of International Carriage of Goods by Rail (CIM). It explains the scope of application of CIM, the contract of carriage under CIM, how liability is apportioned under CIM, time bars and jurisdiction.

International carriage by rail is governed by the Uniform Rules Concerning the Contract of International Carriage of Goods by Rail (CIM). The rules are enacted under the auspices of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), which is given the force of law in the United Kingdom by the Railways (Convention on International Carriage by Rail) Regulations 2005, SI 2005/2092.

Scope of application

Under article 1, CIM applies:

  1. to carriage for reward (and not gratuitous carriage)

  2. to every contract for the carriage of goods by rail where

    1. the taking over of the goods and the place of delivery are situated in two Member States

    2. the taking over of the goods and the place of delivery are situated in two different countries, at least one being a member state and the parties agree that the rules shall apply

  3. applies irrespective of the nationality or domicile of the parties

  4. also applies where the carriage involves domestic road or internal waterway transit under a