Special Breakfast Seminar: Cargo claims after Volcafe v CSAV

On 5 December, the Supreme Court handed down judgment in Volcafe v CSAV. The decision is essential reading for all involved in the carriage of goods by sea, whether lawyer, insurer, cargo owner or carrier. 

John Russell QC and Benjamin Coffer appeared for the Appellants and Simon Rainey QC and David Semark appeared for the Respondents.

On 8 January we will be holding a special breakfast seminar where they will discuss the Supreme Court decision and consider the implications of the case on cargo claims under the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules including:

  • What  legal arguments are left open to carriers, or are subject to controversy
  • How cargo claimants and carriers should seek to frame their claims and defences in the light of the new law
  • What practical steps carriers might sensibly take, given the Supreme Court’s rulings on burden of proof and inherent vice.

Venue: The Old Library in The Lloyd's Building.

Simon Rainey QC

Simon is one of the best-known practitioners at the Commercial Bar with a broad commercial advisory and advocacy practice spanning substantial commercial contractual disputes, international trade and commodities, shipping and maritime law in all its aspects, energy and natural resources and insurance and reinsurance and has extensive experience of international arbitration. Simon regularly acts in ground-breaking cases including NYK Bulkship (Atlantic) NV v Cargill International SA (The Global Santosh) [2016] UKSC 20 where Simon was brought in to argue the case in the Supreme Court and represented the successful appellants, Cargill. The decision is a landmark one in relation to a contracting party’s responsibility for the vicarious or delegated performance by a third party of its contractual obligations, both in the common charterparty and international sale of goods contexts and more generally. In Bunge SA v Nidera SA [2015] UKSC 43 Simon successfully represented Bunge in a landmark decision by the Supreme Court on GAFTA Default Clause and sale of goods damages after The Golden Victory on points which had been lost at every stage below.

Ranked as the “Star Individual” for shipping by Chambers UK in 2015, 2016, 2017 and again in 2018, Simon: ‘impresses with his mastery of the brief... exceptionally gifted, he has the strong confidence of his clients, and is an excellent presenter of complex material....’ and ‘….is one of those super silk guys who has judges eating out of his hands.” “He has the gift of going straight to the problem." He was ranked as Shipping Silk of the year 2017 by both Chambers and Partners UK and Legal 500 UK Awards and one of the Top Ten Maritime Lawyers 2017 and again in 2018 by Lloyd’s List. He has also been cited for many years as a leading Silk in the areas of Commodities, Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Energy and Natural Resources, and Insurance and Reinsurance by Chambers UK and/or Legal 500. He was shortlisted for Shipping Silk of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2018 and is nominated for Shipping Silk of the Year and International Arbitration Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 UK Awards 2019. 

He is frequently appointed as arbitrator (LCIA, ICC, LMAA, SIAC, UNCITRAL and ad hoc, sitting both sole and as co-arbitrator) and has given expert evidence of English law to courts in several countries. He also sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court and as a Deputy High Court Judge (Queen’s Bench and Commercial Court).

To view Simon Rainey QC full website profile, please click here.

John Russell QC

John is an experienced and determined advocate and has acted as lead Counsel in numerous Commercial Court trials, international and marine arbitrations and appellate cases, including in the Supreme Court. He relishes both detailed legal argument and cross-examination of lay and expert witnesses. He will always ensure that a client's case is presented in the most persuasive manner possible, both in writing and orally. John provides advice to a wide range of clients. He combines first rate technical legal analysis with a pragmatic, commercial, problem solving approach to cases. John accepts instructions in many fields of commercial dispute resolution with a particular focus on shipping, commodities, international trade and marine insurance.

"Very easy to work with and a very good litigator." ..."An excellent advocate whose assessment of cases is invaluable." (Chambers UK, 2019)
"He’s incredibly impressive, and is someone who always comes up with points that are insightful. He’s incredibly impressive, excellent on his feet and a joy to work with." (Chambers UK, 2018)
"...Particularly highly rated, he has a sharp mind and provides clear advice...." (Legal 500, 2017)

To view John Russell QC full website profile, please click here.

David Semark

David ‘Produces excellent work and represents exceptional value for an experienced litigator.’ (Legal 500 2015). A former army officer David also previously trained in the Shipping Department of one of South Africa's leading maritime and international trade firms, before joining and later becoming a partner at what is now known as Reed Smith. He retrained as a barrister and became a member of Quadrant in 2010.

David was in the Supreme Court with Simon Rainey QC in October 2018 on the issues as to the burden of proof under the Hague / Hague-Visby Rules raised on the appeal in Volcafe Ltd v Compania Sud Americana de Vapores SA[2016] EWCA Civ 1103.

David specialises in commercial law, with a particular emphasis on shipping and maritime law (especially dry shipping disputes), international trade and commodities, jurisdictional disputes and insurance. Although his practice is primarily as an advocate, he is also an LCIA arbitrator.

He is the co-author of P&I Clubs: Law and Practice (2010, 4th ed.) and Maritime Letters of Indemnity (2014, 1st ed.)

To view David Semark full website profile, please click here.

Benjamin Coffer

Ben's broad international commercial practice has a particular emphasis on commodities, insurance / reinsurance and shipping. He undertakes the full spectrum of shipping work, including every species of charterparty and bill of lading claim, as well as shipbuilding and ship finance disputes. He has developed a particular specialisim in cases involving carriage of goods under the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, and has appeared in several of the leading cases on such claims in recent years.  

His significant recent cases include: The Aqasia [2018] EWCA Civ 276, settling a 90-year dispute as to whether Article IV.5 applies to bulk cargoes; Al Khattiya c/w Jag Laadki [2018] EWHC 389 (Admlty), which concerns the significance of the place of a collision in a forum non conveniens application; The Maersk Tangier [2018] EWCA Civ 778, the leading English case on package limitation for containerised cargoes under the Hague-Visby Rules; Volcafe v. CSAV [2017] QB 915, addressing the inherent vice defence and the burden of proof in cargo claims; The Lady M [2017] EWHC 3348 (Comm), the first modern decision on the meaning of 'barratry' and its effect on the defences availabe under the Hague Rules; and, The Sea Miror [2015] 2 Lloyd's Rep 395, the first case to consider the meaning of a term that cargo is to be loaded and discharged "at the expense and risk of Shippers/Charterers" .

Ben is described by the directories as “a standout shipping and commodities junior" (Chambers & Partners, 2018), "a rising star" (Legal 500, 2019) and "He is truly the standout rising star for shipping and trading disputes work." (Chambers & Partners, 2019). He is also recognised as a leading junior in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific Guide.

To view Benjamin Coffer's full website profile, please click here.