The question of whether demurrage liquidates all or just some of the damages arising from a charterer’s breach in failing to complete cargo operations within the laytime has divided practitioners and academics for decades and, more recently, the English Court in K Line Pte Ltd  v. Priminds Shipping (HK) Co Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 1712 (The Eternal Bliss). Now, in granting permission to appeal to the shipowners, it is a question which the Supreme Court has said it will answer.

Continue Reading The Eternal Bliss – Permission to appeal granted by the UK Supreme Court

It is settled law that a carrier who delivers goods without production of the bill of lading is typically liable for any consequential losses suffered by the bill of lading holder. In the course of prosecuting its claim against the carrier, the bill of lading holder may seek to obtain summary judgment without trial on the basis that there is plainly no defence to its claim.

In the recent case of The “STI Orchard” [2022] SGHCR 6 where the plaintiff bank (“Plaintiff”) sought summary judgment against the defendant shipowner (“Defendant”), the General Division of the High Court of Singapore granted the Defendant unconditional leave to defend the Plaintiff’s claim for misdelivery. A key issue identified by the Court was whether the bills of lading were intended to be relied on as security for the Plaintiff’s financing in the underlying transaction.

Continue Reading Claims for misdelivery of cargo without presentation of B/Ls: “good faith” and “consent”

Pacific Pearl Co Limited v Osios David Shipping Inc [2022] EWCA Civ 798

The Court of Appeal (“CA”) has overturned the decision of Justice Teare that security tendered under the Admiralty Solicitor Group form ASG 2 (Collision Jurisdiction Agreement) (“CJA”) needed to be subjectively acceptable to the offeree. Instead the CA has determined that it is sufficient that it be objectively acceptable.

The case

The decision followed the earlier ruling by Sir Nigel Teare (as reported in Lloyd’s Law Reports, [2022] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 261) in an action brought by owners of the Panamax Alexander (“PA”) against the owners of Osios David (“OD”), with whom they collided, alleging breach of the CJA clause C. This clause provides that “Each party will provide security in respect of the other’s claim in a form reasonably satisfactory to the other.”

The owners of the PA proposed security which contained a sanctions clause (the scheme of the ASG 2 is that it is expected to be used with a plain security in the form of ASG 1). This was rejected by the owners of the OD on the basis that it was not reasonably satisfactory to them. In the first instance it was held that such security from a prominent International P&I Club must be objectively reasonable but that there was nothing in the CJA that compelled the recipient to accept it and that they were at liberty to seek better security elsewhere including by arrest.

Continue Reading Court of Appeal overturns judgement on acceptable security in collision matter

In our October 2021 blog “Possession as we (don’t) know it!”, we discussed the existing position under English law in respect of electronic trade documents and the scope for reform in light of the Law Commission’s consultation paper and draft legislation “Digital assets: electronic trade documents (2021) Law Commission Consultation Paper No 254”, published on 30 April 2021.
Continue Reading Solving the ‘possession’ problem – Law Commission publishes draft legislation for the legal recognition of electronic trade documents

In DHL Project & Chartering Ltd v. Gemini Ocean Shipping Co Ltd [2022] EWHC 181 (Comm), DHL (“Charterers”) succeeded in an application against Gemini (“Owners”) to set aside an arbitration award pursuant to section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (the “Act”).

Mr Justice Jacobs held that a “subject” provision in a putative fixture requiring “shipper/receivers approval” was of an unqualified character. The Court found that the contract would not become binding unless and until Charterers lifted the “subject”, and on the facts, this had never occurred. Accordingly, no arbitration agreement came into existence and the Tribunal did not have substantive jurisdiction when it determined that Charterers had repudiated the charterparty.
Continue Reading To what are “subjects” subject?

Exemption clauses, including those purporting to exclude or limit liability for deliberate and repudiatory breaches, are to be construed by reference to the normal principles of contractual construction. There is no presumption in English law that exemption clauses do not apply to fundamental breaches. Nor is there a requirement for any particular form of words or level of language to exclude liability.

Continue Reading Exemption clauses subject to contractual interpretation

BP GTCs 2007: Septo Trading Inc v Tintrade Limited [2021] EWCA Civ 718

Introduction

In Septo Trading Inc v Tintrade Limited ([2021] EWCA Civ 718) the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court decision ([2020] EWHC 1795 (Comm)) that a term in a trade recap which provided that an inspector’s results were “binding on the parties save for fraud or manifest error” was qualified by the BP 2007 General Terms and Conditions for FOB sales (the “BP GTCs 2007”). Our blog post on the High Court’s decision can be found here.  
Continue Reading Court of Appeal clarifies that term in trade recap stating that certificate of quality is final and binding is not qualified

In CVLC Three Carrier Corp and Anor v Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company ([2021] EWHC 551 (Comm)), Reed Smith (Nick Austin, Charles Weller, Alfred Perkins, Vassilis Mavrakis) represented two shipowning companies in successfully overturning an arbitration award which held that there was an implied term in a performance guarantee that the beneficiary would not seek further security beyond that created by the guarantee itself, thus protecting the guarantor’s vessels from arrest.
Continue Reading Performance guarantees, vessel arrests, and implied terms

On 19 February 2021 the Supreme Court delivered its very first judgment in relation to a collision action.  While the Supreme Court was only established in 2009, it is almost half a century since the highest appellate court in England and Wales has decided such a matter.  In this eagerly anticipated decision, the Court had to consider the application of the International Regulations For Preventing Collisions At Sea 1972 (the ‘COLREGS’), in relation to a collision between the 7.030 TEU container ship Ever Smart and the laden 153,044 DWT VLCC Alexandra 1 off the dredged access channel to Jebel Ali in the late evening of 11 February 2015.
Continue Reading Smart as ever, the Supreme Court provides clarity on the crossing rules