Youri van Logchem involved in BIICL Law of the Sea Project

Mr Youri van Logchem was invited to contribute as an external expert to a research project of the British Institute of International and Comparative law (BIICL) titled ‘Law of the Sea – Rights and Duties of States in the Undelimited Maritime Area’ (http://www.biicl.org/undelimited-maritime-area). The project seeks to investigate what the rights and obligations of States are in areas that remain undelimited by way of maritime boundary, with a focus on those areas that, in addition, are not governed by provisional arrangements. Emphasis is placed particularly on the contents and implications of the obligation included in paragraph 3 of Articles 74 and 83 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, calling on States having overlapping claims and entitlements over the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf to abstain from engaging in unilateral acts that hamper or jeopardise final delimitation.

The Institute is keen to enhance its presence in the field of law of the sea so this initiative is very timely and will enable us to make a positive contribution.

Insurance Fraud Pays – Professor Barış Soyer Wins BILA Book Prize

It has just been announced that Professor Soyer’s recent book “Marine Insurance Fraud” has won the 2015 BILA Book Prize. This prize, for the best book on insurance law, is awarded annually by the British Insurance Law Association Charitable Trust, a body existing to promote research on the interrelationship between law and insurance.

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BILA 2015 Prize for Professor Barış Soyer’s book “Marine Insurance Fraud”

The announcement was made at BILA’s Annual General Meeting on 16 October 2015. Alison Green, Chair of the BILA Charitable Trustees, congratulated Professor Soyer, not only for having written a highly relevant, interesting and accessible book, but also for being the only author to win the Prize twice (having first won the Prize in 2002 for his first monograph on warranties in marine insurance).

soyerHis most recent prizewinning monograph, published last year, gives a comprehensive and coherent legal analysis of the impact of fraud on the position of various parties to a marine insurance contract. At the time of publication it was seen as a winner. In the foreword, Sir Bernard Rix (formerly a Lord Justice of Appeal) stated: “Professor Soyer has written a book on an important and fascinating theme which not only states the law in a clear and concise way, but also analyses it critically, insightfully and helpfully. I am confident that it will be used profitably by a wide range of readers.”

Professor Barış Soyer is the Director of the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, a research institute based in the College of Law at Swansea University. He has taught marine insurance and other aspects of commercial law at Swansea for some 15 years.

When is a sale not a sale? When you reserve title to consumable goods — apparently

In PST Energy 7 Shipping LLC Product Shipping & Trading S.A. v O.W. Bunker Malta Ltd & Ors [2015] EWCA Civ 1058 (available on BAILII) bunker suppliers OWBM delivered bunkers to a vessel at a Russian port, on 60 days’ credit. Under the contract they reserved title until payment but, realising that bunkers exist to be burnt, consented to the ordinary use of the bunkers to propel the ship.

Big deal, you might say: what’s the hassle? Well, the suppliers had bought from other suppliers RMUK also on reservation of title terms — not including any provision for use — and hadn’t paid. The shipowners were at a loss who to pay — OWBM or RMUK. To forestall a demand from RMUK the shipowners argued that they could not have to pay OWBM, since OWBM had not provided title to the bunkers and hence were in breach of s.12 of the SGA. Males J said ([2015] EWHC 2022 (Comm)) that the owners were bound to pay OWBM. This was not, he said, a sale of goods at all (!!), since both parties contemplated that by the time property passed there wouldn’t be any goods for the shipowners to become owners of. The shipowners had agreed to pay, not for oil, but for a licence to burn oil: they had received this, and therefore had no defence to a claim for payment.

A screwy result? Certainly looked like it, and expedited leave to appeal was given. Not that it did any good: the CA has now dismissed the appeal and confirmed the shipowners’ liability to pay. What, you might ask, if the shipowners now find themselves liable to RMUK? We’ll leave that to another day, says the court.

At the risk of sounding cynical, this looks like at least another couple of terms’ school fees assured to the lawyers engaged in sorting out this debacle. And you thought the definition of what counts as a sale of goods was a boring subject …

Andrew Tettenborn

The 11th IISTL Annual Colloquium

International Trade and Carriage of Goods: Emerging Issues and Legal Problems in Contemporary Practice

It has been a decade since the Law School’s Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law (IISTL) launched its annual international colloquia with a view to providing a forum for discussing contemporary and controversial aspects of shipping, trade and commercial law.

From modest and experimental beginnings in 2005, since then these colloquia have grown exponentially and established themselves as a key event in the commercial maritime law calendar. Today they attract not only the best academics in the area from the UK, Europe and elsewhere, but also large numbers of leading lawyers, judges and executives from shipbroking, P & I, banking and other businesses.

This year’s event, the eleventh in the series, was held on 10-11 September at Swansea and was devoted to international sale contracts and related issues such as carriage issues, documentary credits and cargo insurance. It was fully embraced by the international shipping and trade community, attracting 72 delegates from 11 jurisdictions. In addition to academics, lawyers, arbitrators and P & I interests were represented; from the commercial judiciary we were delighted to welcome the Hon. Mr Justice Males (Presiding Judge of the North Eastern Circuit), who enthusiastically participated in the debates and chaired one of the sessions. Apart from academics from the IISTL, namely Professors Baughen, Soyer, Tettenborn and Williams and Associate Professor Theodora Nikaki, the following academics and practitioners presented papers at the event:

Professor Olivier Cachard (University of Lorraine, France); Professor Jason Chuah (Head of Department, The City Law School, City University London); Sara Cockerill QC (Essex Court Chambers);Dr Miriam Goldby (Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary, University of London); Damian Honey (Partner, Holman Fenwick Willan LLP); Ruth Hosking (Quadrant Chambers); Peter MacDonald-Eggers QC (7 King’s Bench Walk and IISTL); Simon Rainey QC (Quadrant Chambers and IISTL); Stuart Shepherd (Partner, Ince & Co LLP); Professor Michael Sturley (University of Texas, Austin); and Dr Frank Stevens (Roosendaal Kezer Advocaten, Antwerp).

Williams, Hu, Cachard

From left to right: Professor James Hu (Shanghai Maritime University), Professor Richard Williams (IISTL) and Professor Olivier Cachard (University of Lorraine, France)

The Colloquium dinner, most generously sponsored by leading commercial law publisher Informa Law and entertainingly hosted by Head of College Professor Elwen Evans QC, was held at Sketty Hall. Informa (to whom, as ever, the IISTL remains enormously grateful) has also agreed to publish the papers presented at the Colloquium in book format in 2016, thus continuing another excellent traditional.

Talking after the event, Professor Soyer, Director of the IISTL, commented:

“The fact that this year’s Colloquium attracted record numbers of delegates from all around the world, including the US and China, is a clear sign that this event has been taken to heart by the shipping and trade community and is a permanent fixture. I would like to thank all those who helped: delegates, speakers and chairpersons, and also my colleagues at the IISTL who provided their unstinting support. I am leading a talented group of individuals here at the IISTL, who have enormous respect for each other and the sector that we aim to serve. They exemplify everything that is good about diversity and co-operation, and this becomes ever more obvious during events like this!

A number of events are planned for 2016, and the IISTL will continue to work towards achieving one of its key missions: namely bridging the gap between academia and practice.”

Soyer (11th Colloquium)

Professor Baris Soyer (Director, IISTL) presenting his paper

Insurance and fraudulent claims

Hard on the heels of legislation in the Insurance Act 2015 about fraudulent claims by the insured, readers may like to know that insurers can now take comfort from s.57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 concerning third party dishonesty. Essentially where there is substantial dishonesty in or about an injury claim the entire claim falls to be dismissed, subject to a “substantial injustice” exception.

Andrew Tettenborn

Temporal scope of Hague Rules

Volcafe v CSAV [2015] EWHC 516 (Comm); [2015] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 639.

Loading of a cargo of coffee inland by the carrier into its containers has been held to fall within the temporal scope of the Hague Rules. This may seem somewhat surprising in the light of Article 1 (e) of the Rules which provides: “(e) “Carriage of goods” covers the period from the time when the goods are loaded on to the time they are discharged from the ship.” However, David Donaldson QC in the London Mercantile Court has held that the initial loading into the carrier’s containers and the subsequent loading of the container onto the vessel were to be regarded as part of a single loading process. Even if this were not the case, the parties had exercised their freedom to agree what constituted loading under art 1. (e) which they had done by providing that the carrier would stuff the cargo into its own containers.

Simon Baughen

Free in/ Free out clauses and cargo claims

SDTM-CI v Continental Lines N.V. [2015] EWHC 1747 (Comm)

Cargo claims were brought against the shipowner under two bills of lading incorporating the terms of a charterparty which contained a clause providing “Cargo shall be loaded, spout trimmed and/or stowed at the expenses and risk of Shippers/Charterers … Cargo shall be discharged at the expenses and risk of Receivers/Charterers at the average rate of 1,500 metric tons per weather working day ……Stowage shall be under Master’s direction and responsibility…” Flaux J has held that the incorporated provision has the effect of transferring responsibility for loading and discharging away from the shipowner. To the extent that it was established that the cargo was damaged by bad loading and/or discharge, as opposed to bad stowage, the cargo interests could not recover such damages from the shipowner.

Simon Baughen

Receivables Financing

LLM Credit and security students might care to note s.1 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. This gives the right to pass regulations disallowing anti-assignment clauses where the interests of receivables financiers are concerned. This effectively reversing Helstan v Herts CC [1978] 3 All ER 262.

Andrew Tettenborn

See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/26/contents/enacted/data.htm

Arrest of Ships

An interesting decision of the Federal Court of Australia in The Sam Hawk [2015] FCA 1005. For the purpose of determining if a claimant has a maritime lien for a contractual claim (here the supply of bunkers), the law of the contract under which the bunkers were supplied controls. The court refused to follow the Privy Council in The Halcyon Isle [1981] AC 221 .

More details at http://www.hfw.com/Arrest-of-the-SAM-HAWK-October-2015

Andrew Tettenborn

Other E-Discussions Out There

This is a blog for commercial lawyers. Three other blogs (or rather, one blog and two discussion lists) help keep us well-informed and deserve a plug.

First, there’s a new North American blog based at Harvard, entitled New Private Law: Project on the Foundations of Private Law. Started brilliantly and promises well. Go to http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/nplblog/

Second, the Association of American Law Schools’ AALS Contracts listserv. Mainly US, but some English and European input too. A listserv is essentially an email exchange facility. If you have a thought, you send it to their composite email address (aalscontracts@lists.umn.edu) and it automatically goes to all subscribers. Long threads can build up. You have to be a subscriber to participate. To become one, send an email to listserv@lists.umn.edu with just the wording SUBSCRIBE AALSCONTRACTS in the message body. Enquiries to the list owner at aalscontracts-request@lists.umn.edu. You get a steady trickle of emails, which occasionally becomes a gush when something sexy comes up.

Third, there’s the Obligations Discussion Group (ODG). Also a listserv; same principles as above. Run by the excellent Prof Jason Neyers at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. English and Commonwealth predominantly; some US. Intelligent, informal and fun. To join, contact Jason Neyers at jneyers@uwo.ca. A bit like London buses: you can go a long time with nothing at all and then your inbox gets deluged with argument for a few hours.

Andrew Tettenborn

24.09.2015