RHA Conditions

1998 Road Haulage Association (R.H.A.) Conditions

With effect from 1st September 1998 the R.H.A. reissued their standard conditions. The key issues are as follows:

  • Reference to copyright will be prominent as will the membership number
  • Illegal use will enable prosecution
  • The preamble emphasises the customer’s need to insure
  • The number of clauses are reduced
  • The monetary limit is unaltered
  • The definitions are amended
  • The cubic capacity basis is deleted
  • The carrying capacity basis is deleted
  • New exclusions have been added
  • The basis of settlement wording is amended and there is no longer a separate partial loss formula
  • The Customs and Excise indemnity has been amended
  • Time limits for claims have been amended
  • The U.K. Jurisdiction clause has been added.

There are many cosmetic changes to wordings, but the key changes are as follows (click on the title to expand the content):


The customer is urged to arrange insurance and not rely on the conditions for full compensation.  It is also stated that these conditions do not override compulsory legislation (C.M.R.).


Dangerous goods have been redefined and “goods” are now designated “consignment”.

Clause 5 - Signed Receipts

Change of name from “Consignment Notes”.  The onus of proof concerning nature, quantity or weight of the goods in the consignment now rests with the customer.

Clause 8 - Carriers Charges

This is a major change following the decision in the court case Spectra International PLC and Hayesoak Ltd.  This clause was introduced in the 1967 conditions, following the rise in containerisation, to enable carriers to charge other than on a tonnage basis.  The conditions allowed for compensation to be linked to capacity as well (if the goods exceeded 2.25 cubic meters or were of such a size or shape that a vehicle of greater capacity than the weight of the consignment was necessary).  The recent court decision meant that substantially larger claims than that calculated on the tonnage method could be successful whether or not the haulage charges were calculated by volume.

The change now means that the link between charges and compensation is removed and there is only one basis for liability – gross weight contained in Clause 11.

Clause 9 - Liability for Loss or Damage

Additional exclusions have been incorporated as follows:

  • Living Creatures
  • Terrorist Act
  • Faulty Design
Clause 11 - Limitation of Liability

The financial limitation remains unaltered at £1,300 per tonne and liability shall now be calculated solely on the value on goods actually lost or damaged or the cost of repairing any damage or of reconditioning the goods at a sum calculated at the rate of £1,300 per tonne on the gross weight of the goods actually lost or damaged.

The separate formula for calculating liability for partial losses is removed and the sole basis now shall be gross weight of the actual goods involved.

A further significant change is the inclusion of any Customs and Excise duties or taxes payable in respect of those goods lost or damaged in the total liability of £1,300 per tonne.  Again this follows a recent court case where the insurer refused to pay the duty probably because the sum insured was inadequate.  This reference in Clause 11 is linked to an indemnity from the customer in Clause 12.  Previously the only reference to duty was in the Indemnity to the Carrier clause and it was felt that it needed strengthening and the liability restricting to fall within the £1,300 per tonne limit.

Clause 12 - Indemnity to the Carrier

As mentioned above this wording has changed to incorporate a stronger wording to the effect that the customer shall indemnify the carrier against all claims and demands made in excess of the liability of the carrier under these conditions.

Clause 13 - Time Limits on Claims

The time limits have changed slightly in that previously the limitation for partial losses was for notice to be provided within 3 days and the full claim in writing within 7 days, these are now 7 days and 14 days respectively.  Any other loss has to be advised in writing within 28 days and the full claim made within 42 days after the commencement of the Transit.

To follow in line with the C.M.R. limitation a new limit has been included to prevent any liability attaching to the carrier unless proceedings are brought within 1 year of the date when Transit commenced.

Clause 15 - Unreasonable Detention

This clause sets out the responsibilities of the customer and now includes “demurrage” which are costs incurred for storage of goods or vehicles following an accident.

Clause 16 - Law and Jurisdiction

This a new clause saying that the contract should be governed by English law and United Kingdom courts only.


Some of the clauses have been rearranged and some deleted like the old Clause 19 – Impossibility of Performance – which was felt to be unworkable in any case.