Future Express, The Future Express, The
Court of Appeal (Civil Division) 29 July 1993
Where Reported Case Digest
 2 Lloyd's Rep. 542 Subject: Shipping Keywords: Bills of lading; Cargo; Delivery; Insolvency Summary: Bill of lading; c & f contract; bank named as consignee; property passing separately from bill; buyer insolvent; delivery of cargo without production of bill; whether bank becoming pledgee of goods; whether bank having title to sue; whether shipowner liable for misdelivery Abstract: In 1985, shipowners delivered cargo to a c & f buyer, without production of the bills of lading, after being given an indemnity by the seller. The contract between the buyer and seller provided for property in the goods to pass shortly before arrival at the port of delivery and without bills being tendered to the bank. In 1986, about a year after shipment, the bills were eventually presented to a bank, under a letter of credit. The buyer had instructed the bank to extend the date by which the documents had to be negotiated. The bank agreed because it was short of foreign currency. The buyer had agreed with the seller that the bills should be withheld from the banking chain in order to delay the time for payment. On paying under the credit, the bank knew that the goods had been delivered and dispersed. The bank claimed against the shipowners in conversion. The bank, although named as consignee, was never a party to the original contract of carriage, nor did it have title under the Bills of Lading Act 1855 s.1. The main issue was whether the bank had title to sue for non-delivery. The judge held that the bank never became a pledgee and there was no intention to pass constructive possession of the goods and it was not possible for the bank to establish that it had title to sue in bailment. Held, dismissing the bank's appeal, that (1) the buyer under a normal c & f contract is not in a position to pledge the goods or the documents of title to...