Transport law

Transport Law covers all legal issues in connection with the carriage of passengers and goods. This legal field is not regulated uniformly, requiring the application of numerous and diverse legal provisions. For example, provisions in this regard are found in the Austrian Civil Code (Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch — AGB), the Austrian Company Code (Unternehmensgesetzbuch — UGB) and the Rail and Motor Liability Act (Eisenbahn- und Kraftfahrzeugshaftpflichtgesetz). In addition, numerous international conventions must be taken into account, such as the CMR (Convention on the contract for the international carriage of goods by road), the Warsaw Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, the Montreal Convention (air carrier liability), ADR (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road). Moreover, general forwarding terms and conditions, such as the General Austrian freight forwarder terms and conditions (AÖSp) may apply. Of course, Insurance Law plays an important role in this regard as well.

For practical purposes, Freight Law, which is also governed by the CMR as far as inner-Austrian transport is concerned, is most important. A freight carrier is any person who undertakes to carry out the transport of goods. Since the international conventions relating to air carriage refer to the CMR, it is the essential relevant legal framework in this regard.

Regard must be had, for example, to the privileged discharge grounds of the freight carrier in the event of damage, limitation of the compensation due and liability, time-limits in which the damage or loss of freight must be notified upon pain of adverse effects, brief statute of limitation periods, resulting in an exclusion of the claim when not observed.
In many cases, the General Austrian freight forwarder terms and conditions (AÖSp) have to be taken into account; these terms are formulated in the form of standardised general terms and conditions. In addition to the issues referred to in connection with the CMR, which precedes the AÖSp if applicable, the AÖSp also contain an offset prohibition. This means that the client cannot readily offset his claims against claims of the contractor (freight forwarder, freight carrier). These terms also provide for statutory liens on the cargo.
Overall, it is a highly complex legal field, where detailed know-how offers numerous advantages, because claims can often be fended off on the basis of formal objections.

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