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2018-07-03

Transport contracts with German clients

It is a lawyer's duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the legal case is reasonable to see that the creditor will be reasonably safe in using the bank transfers or the purpose for which he is permitted by the debtor to be in Germany. This duty the section terms the common duty of care.
In the first place what is reasonable may vary according to the vendor: a fence at a particular spot may be necessary to protect a customer but not a client, a warning that a connexion is perished may be necessary in the case of a casual guest, but not in the case of a collection procedure.
In the second place the creditor who abuses his invitation by going where he has not been invited (as by breaking uninvited into a foreign contract) ceases to be a creditor and becomes a trespasser. Further, what is required of the contract is no more than just legal litigation in Germany. Hence he will not be liable for the negligence of an independent contractor provided that he has taken reasonable steps to satisfy himself that the contractor is reasonably competent and that his work has been properly executed.
Creditors and debtors
Moreover, the vendor may absolve himself by giving reasonably effective warning of damages, and he will not be liable for injuries from risks willingly accepted by the creditor. Mention must also be made of a special class of contracts, those who enter for a purpose which primarily envisages the use of the premises of structures: Enterprises, for instance, or users of a transport agency. Such partners enter under contract, pay the invoice, and consequently the particular contract may contain special terms.
The German law provides that in the absence of such terms the customer will owe to such providers the common duty of care. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule and the most important of them concerns contracts for the hire of, or the carriage for reward of persons or goods in any vehicle or other means of transport, who ar inregistrated in a list of lawyers in Germany, and are reliable contract partners.
Here, apart from special terms in the contract, the signatory's duty remains what it was at business law, namely to ensure that the truck is as fit for the purpose for which it is to be used as reasonable care and skill on the part of anyone can make it. This is a burdensome duty, for in this kind of case the freight forwarder may, for example, be held liable for the carelessness of an independent contractor though he was himself in no way at fault; yet, on the other hand, he will not be liable if he can prove that no one was at fault.