21st March 2024

James Leabeater KC and Edward Jones have represented owners seeking redelivery of two ferries arising out of change of control terminations of bareboat charterparties. Having secured awards in an expedited arbitration before Christmas, they have now appeared in a related expedited Commercial Court trial, culminating in a judgment handed down on 21 March 2024 requiring immediate redelivery of the two ferries.

The case involved arguments about whether sub-bareboat charterparties were automatically terminated when the head charter was terminated, or whether sub-charterers’ rights to possession as sub-bailees survived in some legally relevant way, which will be of interest to those who enjoy the intricacies of the law of bailment.

The case also provides another example of an application for relief from forfeiture in relation to bareboat charterparties, this time with the further twist that such relief would have required the Court to impose new bareboat charterparties on the relevant parties. That application was dismissed, the Judge expressing scepticism as to whether such an order would ever be made given the need to uphold commercial certainty in this area of the law.

James and Edward were instructed by Sean Gibbons of Stephenson Harwood and Jo Conway-Petersen of Nordisk.

SY Roro 1 PTE Ltd & Anor v Onorato Armatori SRL & Ors [2024] EWHC 611 (Comm)

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