Lithuania: Landmark success in transport dispute

bnt lawyers have established an important legal precedent in a transport dispute before the Lithuanian Supreme Court.

We would like to congratulate the successful bnt legal team Vilnius on its victory in a judicial dispute when representing one of the largest transport carriers (logistics companies) in Europe, defending its interests in terms of fines, set-offs and arbitration clauses for the carriage of international goods in mutual agreements. In this case, a dispute arose as a result of different application of contractual terms between the two parties, in the form of an exchange of standard general terms and conditions for the provision of services. The dispute concerned the issue of parallel general conditions, their competition between one another and their application to the parties‘ agreement. It had not been clearly defined between the parties as to which party’s general conditions applied. The parties had also failed to agree on how disputes would be resolved, whether in court or by arbitration. The aim was to impose on our client atypical conditions for the relationship, namely to resolve disputes by arbitration, whereas our client’s terms provided for judicial settlement of the dispute. The Supreme Court of Lithuania has pronounced its decision and clarified who has the right to decide on the resolution of a dispute, depending on the stage of the dispute, whether the dispute has been brought before a court or arbitration tribunal, and has clarified the application of the “knockout rule” principle using the general terms drawn up for each party. The Court assessed separately the validity of the arbitration agreement, which was set out in the general conditions. In addition, when assessing the general terms of both parties the court held that the agreement was concluded only to the extent of the overlapping terms.

The bnt legal team has succeeded in establishing judicial practice that allows us to continue successfully representing clients who frequently use their general sales conditions in practice and conclude contracts by exchanging their texts.

Source: Decision of the Lithuanian Supreme Court of 14 November 2019 in civil case No. e3K-3-343-916/2019

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