Air Freight Forwarder liable for wrong Labeling (Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart)

OLG Stuttgart, judgment of 28 June 2017 – 3 U 6/17.

Introductory note

This decision deals with two topics:

(1) Is an air freight forwarder liable for the wrong labeling of a consignment, whereupon the goods are sent to a wrong destination and seized by the local customs due to smuggling?

(2) Is an insurance officer entitled to assert claims for damages on the part of the transport insurer from assigned right or is this contrary to the legal services law?

The Court affirms the first question. Although, according to the legal concept, labeling is the responsibility of the sender (see sec. 411 HGB), the parties had agreed otherwise. Nor could the defendant provide any evidence that its internal warehouse organization had been sufficient in this case.

The second question is also affirmed. The court adjudicates the insurance agent from the mere insurance broker. The agent’s service portfolio includes not only the law of transport insurance, but also the of law transport liability. It is therefore an activity which is exempt from authorization under the legal services law.


1. The Insurer may claim claims for compensation by the insurer of the insured person’s insured law without the need for permission under the Law on Services.

2. The air freight forwarder, who in his warehouse collects packages for different receivers and provides airfreight stickers, shall take appropriate organizational measures to ensure that the storage personnel must deal with each package individually during the labeling process.