Shipping, admiralty & transport

7KBW has a long history of involvement in shipping law. Its members continue to spearhead legal developments in this important practice area.

Much of 7KBW’s work in shipping law involves confidential arbitrations, often under the rules of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association. However, a very significant number of court cases have been contested by members in recent years, and at the very highest level.

Shipping law enjoys a reputation for producing seminal decisions which affect the law of contract generally, and this is true of a number of cases argued by 7KBW members, including OW Bunkers (Sale of Goods Act) and The Achilleas (remoteness of loss).

Members are often involved in disputes involving charterparties. Notable cases include The Ocean Victory, a leading decision of the Court of Appeal on the safe port warranty; Classic Maritime v Limbungan on force majeure clauses; and  The Astra, as to whether the obligation upon a charterer to make punctual payment of hire is a condition. Members of 7KBW make up the majority of the authors of Carver on Charterparties, a major textbook on the law of charterparties.

In the context of bills of lading, notable cases have included Pace v Churchgate, regarding title to sue under COGSA 1992; and the MSC Amsterdam, regarding the interpretation of the Hague / Hague-Visby Rules following misdelivery of cargo.

Members are also frequently instructed in ‘wet shipping’ matters.  Recent cases include The Alkyon on arrest procedure and the need for any cross-undertakings in damages; and Stolt Kestrel v Niyazi S, the leading Court of Appeal authority on the Court’s in rem jurisdiction. They are also regularly instructed in collision actions and salvage arbitrations.

Shipbuilding disputes have featured heavily in recent years, with members involved in numerous arbitrations representing both shipyards and buyers, typically as regards the right to cancel the contract for delay.

Outside the realm of merchant vessels, 7KBW has developed a strong reputation for involvement in super yacht disputes, both in respect of construction contracts and sale and purchase contracts, see for instance Berezovsky v Edmiston as to whether an agent was entitled to a commission.

The law of marine insurance is a closely associated area of the law, and ties in with 7KBW’s leading practice in insurance law. Important marine insurance disputes in recent years have included The Brillante Virtuoso (wilful misconduct defence); and The Atlantik Confidence (recovery of indemnity paid by underwriters following findings of wilful misconduct).

In addition to prominent shipping law barristers, 7KBW’s members include arbitrators who regularly accept appointments in shipping disputes, namely Sir Jeremy Cooke and Sir Stephen Tomlinson.

7KBW has repeatedly won awards in the fields of shipping and transport, most recently winning The Legal 500’s Shipping, commodities and aviation set of the year for 2023.

Shipping, admiralty & transport barristers