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Julia Dias KC (now a Justice of the High Court) and Jason Robinson succeed in the Court of Appeal

24th Mar 2023

Geoquip Marine Operations AG -v- (1) Tower Resources Cameroon SA; (2) Tower Resources PLC [2023] EWCA Civ 304

The Court of Appeal (Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls, Lady Justice King and Lady Justice Falk) handed down a unanimous judgment on 21 March 2023, finding in favour of the appellant on the question of whether the respondents were liable for standby charges under the terms of a contract by which the appellant provided offshore geotechnical investigation services off the coast of Cameroon, with its vessel, The Investigator.

On appeal, the dispute centred on whether the respondents’ obligation to provide security to the vessel amounted to a “service” or “facility”, whether standby charges accrued under the contract once the contract was on foot (the respondents having waived the relevant condition precedent before the contract came into force), and whether there was a sole cause or equal concurrent causes of the delay giving rise to the accrual of standby charges.

The first instance judgment is at [2022] EWHC 531. The Court of Appeal decided that the first instance Judge was correct to take the view that the provision of security constituted a “facility” within the meaning of the contract. However, the Court overturned the decision below on the question of whether standby charges accrued, finding that they did accrue for so long as the respondents failed to provide the security to the vessel required under the contract. The Court also found that it did not need to resolve the question on causation, as the respondents were responsible for both causes of delay.

Julia Dias KC (now a Justice of the High Court) and Jason Robinson were instructed by Clyde & Co LLP.

To view a copy of the judgment please click here.