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Kirchner v Venus (1859)

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Kirchner v Venus (1859) is early English Law case precedent that defined Freight as the reward payable to the carrier of for the safe carriage and delivery of goods".[1] It is a key decission in the history of Ship owners Lien for freight.[2] The case was an action bought in trover for the release of goods being held in Lein for failure to pay.

Facts of the Case[edit]

The respondents were having seven shipments sent by Kirchner from Liverpool, England to Sydney, Australia. The customer was declaired bankrupt before the goods arrived and failed to pay. The shipping firm sought a lien of £317 16s 4d on the goods to enforce payment.[3]


Stephens CJ found against the ship owners saying A party has no right to claim possession of a chattel inconsistent with the terms of the contract.[4]

The decission also found that where the parties make specific reference to payment that is not freight the the question as to whether Lein exists or not is depended on the terms in the contract and the court can not assume one that is not in the contract.


  1. Kirchner v Venus (1859) 12 Moore PC 361 at [390].
  2. Columbia Law Review Vol. 17, No. 7 (Nov., 1917), p. 628.
  3. Kirchner v Venus (1859) 12 Moore PC 361.
  4. Kirchner v Venus (1859) 12 Moore PC 361.

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