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Month: March 2023

Edinburgh Studies in Law Publication: Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde and Andrew R C Simpson (eds), Comparative Perspectives in Scottish and Norwegian Legal History, Trade and Seafaring, 1200-1800

By Andrew R C Simpson, Professor in Scots Private Law, School of Law, University of Aberdeen

Between 20th and 21st August 2019, in the wonderful setting of the Hardangerfjord in Norway, a group of scholars gathered to compare aspects of Norwegian and Scottish history and legal history. The seminar was organised by Professor Jørn Sunde, and generously supported by the Barony Rosendal and the Stiftinga Hardanger og Voss Museum. It approached comparison of the histories of Norway and Scotland by asking speakers to give papers on historical phenomena or themes that seemed – prima facie – to be common to both nations. For example, Dauvit Broun (Glasgow) and Erik Opsahl (Trondheim) were asked to speak on the Treaty of Perth of 1266, which was agreed between Norway and Scotland in the wake of conflict over the Hebrides. Other themes included the development of administrative structures in Scotland and Norway during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; the development of apparently common town laws across both kingdoms; and migration across the North Sea and the regulation of trade (particularly in timber) between the two nations during the early modern period. The papers presented constituted a sufficiently illuminating exercise in comparative legal history as to merit publication in a volume. The result is the book Comparative Perspectives in Norwegian Legal History, Trade and Seafaring, 1200-1800, which is shortly to be published by Edinburgh University Press in the Edinburgh Studies in Law series.

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Road hauliers versus tobacco and alcohol traders – who bears the burden of excise duty?

by Dr Simone Lamont-Black, Senior Lecturer in International Trade Law, Edinburgh Law School

End of February this year, the Supreme Court heard submissions in JTI Polska Sp Zoo v Marek Jakubowski [2021] EWHC 1465 (Comm). The question was whether article 23(4) of the United Nations Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road 1956 (CMR) should be interpreted according to the Court of Appeal’s view in Sandeman Coprimar SA v Transitos y Transportes Integrales SL [2003] EWCA Civ 113 or the older (criticised)(1) House of Lords decision in Buchanan v Babco Forwarding and Shipping (UK) Ltd [1978] A.C. 141. The question was considered one of sufficient public importance to merit reconsideration by the Supreme Court.

The point of law at stake will determine whether the excise duty payable following the loss of cigarettes from the appellants’ lorry lies with the road haulier or with the trader, manufacturer or cargo owner trading in the goods (‘the cargo interests’). The decision of the Supreme Court will determine whether road hauliers will continue to be treated differently from rail and sea carriers. Any misalignment in treatment among them would cause problems in competition among different modes of carriage. It would create incentives for the cargo interests to select road transport over other, less environmentally harmful, modes of transport.

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