Welcome to the fifth edition of Watson Farley & Williams’ maritime disputes newsletter.

Recent months have continued to see significant upheaval across the world as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are now starting to see the effects in the judgments of English courts and LMAA tribunals. However, the breadth of the disputes that can and do arise in a maritime context are also demonstrated by this edition, which covers:

A number of significant RECENT MARITIME DECISIONS made by the English courts on a very wide range of topics, including:

  • The effect of an invalid notification, and entitlement to terminate;
  • Supreme Court guidance on the application of the Collision Regulations;
  • A WFW case concerning the circumstances in which claims against bareboat charterers can be enforced in rem; and
  • The approach taken by English courts where claims are brought in breach of exclusive jurisdiction or arbitration provisions.

The return of DECISIONS OF LMAA TRIBUNALS, published in association with the Lloyd’s Maritime Law Newsletter, which give important and useful insight into the current approach to knotty issues in maritime law, including:

  • When laytime starts to run;
  • The meaning of “average damage affecting Class”; and
  • When a deduction from hire can be made for underperformance.

Decisions made by the English courts on MORE GENERAL CONTRACT TOPICS, which include:

  • The interpretation of exclusion clauses;
  • The Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision concerning an arbitrator’s duties of disclosure; and
  • The operation of material adverse effect clauses.

In happier news, this year has also seen the continued expansion of our maritime disputes practice, and in January we were pleased to welcome highly respected, and well-known maritime disputes expert Mike Phillips to the team. You can read more about his arrival here.

We were also delighted to publish our report “The Sustainability Imperative”, which draws on a series of in-depth interviews and a global survey of 545 senior industry leaders to examine the shipping world’s views on sustainability and governance, and what actions it is taking as a result. The report has been accompanied by a series of webinars, which are all available, together with the report, here. Please do take a look if you haven’t already done so.