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Case details

JTI POLSKA Sp. Z o.o. and others (Respondents) v Jakubowski and others (Appellants)

Case ID: 2021/0144

Case summary


Should the Supreme Court depart from the decision in James Buchanan & Co Ltd v Babco Forwarding & Shipping Ltd [1978] AC 141, and hold that the words “… carriage charges, customs duties and other charges incurred in respect of the carriage of the goods” in article 23.4 of the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (the “CMR”) include excise duty that becomes payable if goods are stolen in the course of carriage and are deemed to have entered circulation in the country where the theft took place?


The respondents contracted with the appellant hauliers to transport a consignment of cigarettes from Poland to England. Whilst parked in a motorway service station in England, a number of cases of cigarettes were stolen from the vehicle. As a result, the respondents incurred excise duty under a provision which deemed the cigarettes to have entered into circulation in the UK following the theft. The duty would not have been levied in the ordinary course of carriage. It arose only because of the theft.

The respondents seek to recoup the duty from the appellants under art 23.4 of the CMR. The House of Lords had previously held in Buchanan that art 23.4 CMR includes excise duty which becomes payable in the circumstances of this case, such that (as is common ground) the appellants are liable to pay the respondents the amount of duty levied by HMRC if the Supreme Court does not depart from Buchanan.

Judgment appealed

[2021] EWHC 1465



Marek Jakubowski and others


JTI Polska Sp. Z o.o and others



Lord Reed, Lord Hodge, Lord Briggs, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lady Rose, Lord Richards

Hearing start date

28 February 2023

Hearing finish date

28 February 2023