The freight payment claim – burden of proof and fault

From our Shipping and Transport Law department

German transport law knows the comparatively short one-year limitation period. Under special circumstances, if the person obliged to pay is guilty of gross negligence or intent, the limitation period is extended to three years. Therefore, the question of gross negligence is particularly relevant in practice.

According to decisions of the Federal Supreme Court, the extended limitation period also applies to freight payment claims, although it is disputed and unclear under which circumstances the non-payment of freight by the carrier’s principal is grossly negligent or intentional. According to a decision of the Munich Higher Regional Court, it is the carrier’s task to prove in court that the principal acted with gross negligence or intent with regard to the non-payment of the freight.

Dr Tobias Eckardt‘s article

Der Frachtzahlungsanspruch, die Beweislast und das Verschulden, TranspR 2021, S. 460-461

in the journal “Transportrecht” critically examines this decision.