Eternal Bliss to go to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has just granted shipowners permission to appeal in K Line PTE Ltd v Priminds Shipping (HK) Co, Ltd (The Eternal Bliss). At first instance,  [2020] EWHC 2373 (Comm)] Andrew Baker J held, on a preliminary point of law on assumed facts, that demurrage was not the sole remedy for charterer’s breach of the obligation to discharge within the laydays. Demurrage only liquidated the shipowner’s loss of use claim resulting from delay after expiry of the laydays and different types of losses flowing from such a breach, such as the cargo claim shipowners settled with Chinese receivers in the instant case, could be recovered as unliquidated damages.

Towards the end of 2021 the Court of Appeal reversed the decision, [EWCA/Civ/2021/1712], and held that demurrage was the exclusive remedy for breach of this obligation.

The case will now proceed to the Supreme Court for a definitive determination of this important legal question. The shipowners are represented by IISTL member, Simon Rainey KC, and Tom Bird.

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Professor Simon Baughen

Professor Simon Baughen was appointed as Professor of Shipping Law in September 2013 (previously Reader at the University of Bristol Law School). Simon Baughen studied law at Oxford and practised in maritime law for several years before joining academia. His research interests lie mainly in the field of shipping law, but also include the law of trusts and the environmental law implications of the activities of multinational corporations in the developing world. Simon's book on Shipping Law, has run to seven editions (soon to be eight) and is already well-known to academics and students alike as by far the most learned and approachable work on the subject. Furthermore, he is now the author of the very well-established practitioner's work Summerskill on Laytime. He has an extensive list of publications to his name, including International Trade and the Protection of the Environment, and Human Rights and Corporate Wrongs - Closing the Governance Gap. He has also written and taught extensively on commercial law, trusts and environmental law. Simon is a member of the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, a University Research Centre within the School of Law, and he currently teaches at Swansea on the LLM in:Carriage of Goods by Sea, Land and Air; Charterparties Law and Practice; International Corporate Governance.

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