News

  • Michael McParland’s article is published in Lloyd’s Martime and Commercial Law QuarterlyView More

    Mon, 21 November, 2016

    Michael McParland’s article  “Tacit contractual relationships and the special jurisdiction provisions of the Brussels I Regulation: Granarolo v Ambrosi” has been published today in Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly (LMCLQ (2016), pp. 500-517). Michael’s article deals with important developments in the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’) as to how the concepts of ‘matters relating to a contract’ and ‘matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict’ are to be interpreted for the purposes of the ‘special jurisdiction’ provisions of the Brussels I Regulation, and will be of interest to anyone involved in cross-border disputes in Europe. The ECJ has introduced for the first time a concept of ‘tacit contractual relationships’:  which, if found to exist in the specific circumstances of the case, means the special provisions of contractual jurisdiction are engaged, even though national law (and the Advocate General in the Granarolo case itself) had characterised the claim as tortious. Granarolo is likely to give rise to a number of disputes and further questions in the future, and will also have an impact in determining how (and indeed where) the dividing line between the applicable law regimes of the Rome I and Rome II Regulations is to be drawn.

  • The Collapse of Hanjin Shipping: An English Lawyer’s PerspectiveView More

    Thu, 17 November, 2016

    Robert Thomas QC and Jeremy Richmond look at some pressing legal issues arising from the recent insolvency of Hanjin Shipping.

    Please click here to view the full article, which was published in the November 2016 Volume 13, Issue 6 of International Corporate Rescue and appears here with the kind permission of the publishers, Chase Cambria

  • Giving guidance on the order and burden of proof in cargo claims and resolving the GOSSE MILLARD “heresy” View More

    Thu, 10 November, 2016

    The Court of Appeal handed down judgment today (10th November 2016) in Volcafe Ltd and other v Compania Sud Americana de Vapores SA (“CSAV”) [2016] EWCA Civ 1103 upholding an appeal brought by the defendant shipowners. In doing so, it determined the much-debated question as to whether a defendant carrier must first disprove negligence on its part before it can rely on its defences under Article IV Rule 2 of the Hague Rules.

    This is a debate which dates all the way back to the dictum of Wright J that the carrier is under such a burden. He expressed this view in Gosse Millard v Canadian Government Merchant Marine [1927] 2 KB 432, a case decided shortly after the Hague Rules came into force. It was subsequently denounced as “heresy” in the early editions of Carver, and has been the subject of various English and Commonwealth judicial dicta over the intervening 90 years. However, the correctness of Wright J’s view has never been squarely before an appellate court for decision before now.

    The Court of Appeal (Lady Justice Gloster, Lady Justice King and Mr Justice Flaux, sitting in the Court of Appeal) has now unanimously held that the answer to this question is “no”.

    The leading judgment of Mr Justice Flaux also contains valuable guidance at to (i) the assessment of whether a system is “sound” for the purposes of determining whether a carrier is in breach of its obligations to properly care for and carry the cargo under Article III Rule 2, (ii) the scope of the inherent vice defence, (iii) the interplay between Article III Rule 2 and Article IV Rule 2 (m) and (iv) the temporal scope of the application of the Hague Rules.

    David Semark (led by Simon Bryan QC of Essex Court Chambers) appeared for the successful Appellant shipowners. John Russell QC and Benjamin Coffer appeared for the Respondent cargo claimants.

    A copy of the judgment is available via the attached link.

  • REGULUS SHIP SERVICES PTE LTD v LUNDIN SERVICES BVView More

    Mon, 31 October, 2016

    Phillips J handed down judgment on 27 October 2016 in the above matter in which Counsel from Quadrant Chambers represented both parties. Nevil Phillips and Christopher Jay appeared for the successful Defendants (Lundin), while Yash Kulkarni and Koye Akoni represented the Claimants (Regulus)

    Phillips J clarifies the meaning of "light ballast condition" further to the earlier decision of Andrew Smith J in Ease Faith Ltd v Leonis Marine Management Ltd (The Kent Reliant) [2006] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 673, and defines the scope and effect of Clause 17(a)(ii) of the Towcon form.

    The issues

    • The dispute concerned inter alia two issues: (i) what is the meaning of a requirement for a tow to be “in light ballast condition” for the purposes of a towage operation; (ii) what is the scope and effect of Clause 17(a)(ii) of the Towcon form as regards the entitlement (on the part of the tug) to contractual delay payments.


    The Light Ballast Condition Point

    • Phillips J rejected the suggestion that, in order to be in “in light ballast condition”, a tow must inter alia be legally fit for the towage (i.e. in a condition that meets with the requirements of a marine warranty surveyor, including whatever ballast condition (draughts and displacement) that surveyor deems necessary, and within the vessel’s Class). He concluded (at [74]) that the effect of the decision of Andrew Smith J in the Ease Faith“in light ballast condition” is):

                "… that light ballast condition is concerned with ensuring physical fitness, primarily stability, for the tow’s voyage …"

    The Clause 17(a)(ii) Point

    • Phillips J concluded that the Clause is triggered only by a deliberate decision by a tug to slow steam etc because it reasonably considers that the tow cannot be towed at the originally contemplated speed. The Clause does not operate where, for other reasons, the tug does not deploy all of its resources to tow (or attempt to tow) at the contemplated speed, or where the tow can in fact be performed at that speed (if all such resources are deployed, or otherwise).


    A copy of the judgment can be found here.

  • Chambers UK Bar Awards 2016View More

    Fri, 28 October, 2016

     We are delighted to announce  Simon Rainey QC has been awarded Chambers UK Bar Awards 2016 Shipping Silk of the Year.

  • Legal 500 UK Awards 2017View More

    Tue, 25 October, 2016

    We are delighted to announce that Quadrant Chambers has been awarded the Legal 500 UK 2017 Awards for International Arbitration Set of the Year and that Simon Rainey QC has been recognised as Shipping Silk of the Year.

    The awards dinner will be held at the London Guildhall Crypts, on 23rd February 2017. For details of all the winners and nominations please follow the attached link.

  • Quadrant Chambers is nominated for the 2017 Legal 500 AwardsView More

    Wed, 19 October, 2016

    We are delighted to announce the following nominations for the 2017 Legal 500 UK Bar Awards.

    International Arbitration - Set of the Year
    Shipping - Set of the Year
    International Arbitration - Silk of the Year: Simon Rainey QC
    Shipping - Silk of the Year: Luke Parsons QC, Lionel Persey QC and Simon Rainey QC
    Clerking/Practice Management - Senior Clerk of the Year: Gary Ventura

    The winners will be announced on the Legal 500 website during the course of next week. The awards dinner will be held at the London Guildhall Crypts in London, on 23rd February 2017.

    Full details of the nominations can be viewed here.

  • The Aqasia: Article IV Rule 5 of the Hague Rules held not to apply to bulk cargoesView More

    Thu, 13 October, 2016

    In its judgment in The Aqasia, handed down today, the Commercial Court has held that Article IV Rule 5 of the Hague Rules does not apply to bulk cargoes. Resolving a question that has been open for more than 90 years, Sir Jeremy Cooke held that there is no limit of liability in bulk cargo cases, because there is no relevant ‘package’ or ‘unit’ to which such limit can apply.  Lionel Persey QC and Benjamin Coffer appeared for the successful cargo interests.

    A copy of the judgment can be found here.

  • Members involved in landmark case on breaking limit under the Limitation Convention 1976View More

    Tue, 11 October, 2016

    Members of Quadrant Chambers have been involved in The Atlantik Confidence [2016] EWHC 2412 (Admiralty), a landmark case in the Admiralty Court regarding the breaking of limits under the Limitation Convention 1976 (as amended in 1996). It is the first case in which an English Court has determined that a person was barred from relying on the limits provided by the Convention.

    Nigel Jacobs QC and Ruth Hosking (instructed by HFW) acted on behalf of cargo underwriters (Axa) seeking to break limits, and Robert Thomas QC, Thomas Macey-Dare, and Koye Akoni (instructed by Clyde & Co) sought to maintain limits on behalf of the shipowner and P&I Club. The case arose in the context of the fire on board and subsequent sinking of the bulk carrier, ATLANTIK CONFIDENCE, about 150 nautical miles off the coast of Oman while on a laden voyage from Turkey to Oman. After a trial spanning over 7 weeks, and evidence from 12 witnesses of fact and 12 experts, Teare J concluded that the vessel was deliberately sunk by the master and chief engineer at the request of the alter ego of the shipowner. In such circumstances the loss of the cargo resulted from his personal act committed with the intent to cause such loss and Article 4 of the Limitation Convention applied so that the Owners’ claim for a limitation decree was dismissed.

    A copy of the judgment is available here. A detailed briefing by HFW can be viewed here.

  • The Court of Appeal decision in SPAR SHIPPING: Defining an owner’s remedies for non-payment of hire and resolving the Astra ‘condition’ debate. View More

    Thu, 06 October, 2016

    Simon Rainey QC, Nevil Phillips and Natalie Moore appeared for the successful respondent owners, instructed by Thomas Cooper LLP.

    The Court of Appeal handed down judgment today (7th October 2016) in Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co Ltd v Spar Shipping AS [2016] EWCA Civ 982 dismissing an appeal by unsuccessful time charterers. In doing so, it determined the controversial question of whether a charterer’s failure to pay an instalment of hire punctually and in advance under a time charterparty is a breach of condition, entitling the shipowner to terminate the charter and claim damages for the loss of the balance of the charterparty.

    The Court of Appeal (Sir Terence Etherton MR, Gross and Hamblen LJJ) unanimously held that the answer to that question is “no” and that, without more, such a failure merely entitles the shipowner to withdraw the vessel from service in accordance with the withdrawal clause. 

    The decision, for all practical purposes, finally resolves an issue which has attracted much market interest and generated conflicting observations from judges of the highest standing. It also reviews modern principles applicable to the proper classification of a contract term as a condition.

    The leading judgment of Gross LJ also contains a valuable summary of the legal principles relating to renunciation in the context of late and non-payment of hire under time charterparties.

    The Court of Appeal firmly rejected a novel argument by the appellant time charterers that the test for renunciation by time charterers in relation to defaults in payment of hire (whether by late or short payment) was applied too strictly (“unwarrantably severe”) and was out of step with the Court’s approach in other non-payment contexts under different types of contract, thereby amounting to unjustified “preferential treatment” for shipowners under time charters.

    Simon Rainey QC, Nevil Phillips and Natalie Moore appeared for the successful respondent owners, instructed by Thomas Cooper LLP.


    Headline Summary of the Decision

    The obligation to pay hire under a time charterparty is not a condition but an innominate or intermediate term. Flaux J’s decision to the contrary in The Astra [2013] EWHC 865 (Comm) was wrong.

    The obligation to pay hire promptly and in advance under a time charterparty lay at the heart of the contractual bargain represented by such a charterparty. Late and short payment would unilaterally convert a contract for payment in advance into a transaction for unsecured credit and without any provision for the payment of interest: such conduct went to the root of the contract, was renunciatory and entitled an owner to terminate.

    While therefore removing the availability of a condition from the shipowner’s arsenal of remedies for non-payment of hire, the Court of Appeal has roundly endorsed the critical importance of prompt and full payment of hire in advance, and has emphatically highlighted the risks which a time-charterer takes in making payment late or in missing payments, however much it protests that it wishes or intends to perform or perform better.

    If an owner wishes to be able to terminate for any failure to pay hire – irrespective of renunciation or repudiation - and claim damages in addition, it will now have to contract on special terms to this effect (cf. the hire provisions in the new NYPE 2015 form which so provide).

    A copy of a fuller article written by Simon Rainey QC, Nevil Phillips and Natalie Moore can be found here.

    A copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgment can be found here.