High Court of Australia

Pacific Carriers Limited v BNP Paribas [2004] HCA 35

218 CLR 451; 78 ALJR 1045; 208 ALR 213

5 Aug 2004

Case Number: S585/2003


Gleeson CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Callinan, Heydon JJ


Contract – Carriage of goods - Carriage by sea - Delivery of goods without surrendering bills of lading - Indemnity to carrier.

Contract – Construction and interpretation - Relevant principles - Objective interpretation of commercial documents - Letters of indemnity executed by trader in favour of carrier relating to unloading cargo without bills of lading - Where documents also signed by officer of the respondent bank - Whether letters of indemnity purported to bind the respondent as an indemnifying party.

Contract – Agency - Ostensible authority - Documents of the kind commonly relied upon and intended to be relied upon by third parties - Whether the assumption made by the appellant that the respondent was party to the letters of indemnity was induced or assisted by the respondent's conduct in such a way that it would be unjust to permit the respondent to depart from the assumption.


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