Supreme Court

Permission to Appeal granted by the Supreme Court in The Eternal Bliss


The Supreme Court has granted the shipowner permission to appeal in The Eternal Bliss. The widely-reported first instance decision opened a door that some had previously considered to be firmly closed: Andrew Baker J held that that a shipowner’s remedy for breach of the charterer’s obligation to load and discharge within the laytime was not limited to demurrage, but could also include damages, if the shipowner had suffered a further type of loss other than loss of use of the vessel (such as the cargo claim liabilities in the present case). The Court of Appeal reversed the first instance decision and, in allowing the appeal, held that demurrage liquidates the whole of the damages arising from a charterer’s breach of charter in failing to complete cargo operations within the laytime. The stage is now set for the final act and the authoritative determination of a point which has, for almost 100 years, divided eminent judges and commentators.

Simon Rainey QC and Tom Bird are representing the shipowner, instructed by Nick Austin and Mike Adamson of Reed Smith.