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Shipping & International Trade

Blog

Arbitration awards and fraud revisited

Published on 10 May 2018. By Steven Wise, Partner

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The English Court of Appeal has rejected a further attempt by the buyers of goods to set aside enforcement of a CIETAC arbitration award on grounds of fraud.

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Sabotage at sea - The LADY M

Published on 13 February 2018. By John Butler, Senior Associate

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In The LADY M, the English Commercial Court held that shipowners could rely on the Hague-Visby Rules fire defence even when the fire was set by the crew (without owners’ knowledge). In so doing, the admiralty concept of barratry received rare consideration by the Courts.

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Blog

Commodity specification breach – can I reject?

Published on 23 January 2018. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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A common question which arises in day to day commodity trading is whether a buyer can reject goods which do not meet the specifications set out in the contract. This blog discusses the factors which commonly come into play in determining that question.

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To sue in debt or damages? A documentary credit dilemma

Published on 14 November 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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A good presentation under a letter of credit gives rise to a claim in debt against the issuing or confirming bank. But that debt claim is lost if, in the face of a rejection of the documents, the beneficiary takes the documents back. In those circumstances the beneficiary must ask itself the question "Do I want my documents back?"

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Liability for commencement of approach voyage under voyage charters - absolute?

Published on 25 October 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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A recent judgment of the Commercial Court examines a novel point in respect of the obligation on an owner under a voyage charter to get the vessel to the load port when the charter contains a cancelling date but no expected readiness to load date or load port ETA.

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Show me the money – turning liens into cash

Published on 24 August 2017. By Steven Wise, Partner

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Most charterparties give owners the right to lien cargo for unpaid hire or freight. However, it may be necessary to sell the cargo in order to obtain payment. The English Commercial Court has recently considered the circumstances in which it would be prepared to order the sale of cargo held under a shipowners' lien.

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Blog

Odd but clear contract lines not to be disturbed by the Court

Published on 24 July 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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In a recent Commercial Court decision on the construction of a tailored demurrage provision in a charterparty, the Court refused to rewrite the parties agreement regarding demurrage merely because "it might be thought odd".

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Blog

Know your (package) limitations

Published on 21 July 2017. By Andrew Horton, Partner and Helen Tang, Senior Associate

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High Court decision clarifying application of the Hague-Visby Rules (HVR) to sea waybills and package limitation for containerised goods

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Blog

I see no ships – condition precedents under FOB contracts

Published on 13 July 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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A recent judgment of the Commercial Court suggests that a FOB buyer can be excused from nominating a vessel by an unaccepted renunciation of contract by a seller. This blog questions the court's approach in this case and examines the basic principles engaged.

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Blog

Payment against letters of indemnity – is it safe?

Published on 03 July 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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In the commodity trading world, it is traditional for payment to be made by the buyer against the presentation by the seller of certain shipping documents including bills of lading. That is the case whether payment is to be made under a letter of credit (LC) or by direct tender of documents to the buyer. However, a common practice has developed, particularly in the oil trade, for parties to agree in their contracts that the seller may, instead of presenting shipping documents to trigger payment, present a letter of indemnity instead. But there are risks to the buyer in paying against such letters of indemnity.

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