(628) McCUTCHEON v MACBRAYNE: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
Scots Law News has never been shy of old news and is accordingly more than happy to go back to a leading case of the 1960s which some readers may remember from their days of studying contract law, McCutcheon v David MacBrayne Ltd 1964 SC (HL) 28. Fewer may recall that it arose out of the sinking of the good ferry ship Lochiel in West Loch Tarbert in October 1960, and the resultant question of the liability of the owners (MacBrayne’s) to Mr McCutcheon for the loss of his Ford Popular car which the ship was carrying from Islay to the mainland. Lots of exciting legal issues about the significance of not signing contract notes, exclusion clauses in notices posted on the wall, and courses of dealing, but the law report, while not without human interest, doesn’t convey the full flavour of events on the day of disaster. Steve Cranston who, aged 13 months, was also on board the ill-fated ferry, but happily survived, unlike the Ford Popular, is now working on a blog about the incident and has gathered together some excellent material, including film of cars and other vehicles being winched into the Lochiel before it sails off into the Western Isles sunset. All is accessible at the following URLs, brought to our attention by roving reporter Scott Wortley: http://groups.msn.com/Kintyre/lochielssinking.msnw and http://www.lochiel1960.blogspot.com/.
Scots Law News particularly enjoyed the following bit of the story, beautifully combining elements of the Titanic sinking, Whisky Galore and Para Handy:
The bar was in those days in the forepart of the vessel, the part which was disappearing under water. The valiant barman stuck to his post, with water nearly up to his armpits, salvaging the contents of the bar and handing out bottles of booze to all comers although the sea was lapping their waists, prompting one daily paper to headline the event ‘Drinks for All As The Ship Goes Down’.
Lots of other stuff well worth reading, and no doubt more to come in due course.