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Amin Rasheed Shipping Corporation V. Kuwait Insurance Notes

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This is an extract of our Amin Rasheed Shipping Corporation V. Kuwait Insurance document, which we sell as part of our Conflict of Laws BCL Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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FACTS The plaintiffs, a Liberian corporation, whose business was carried on from Dubai, owned a small cargo vessel which they insured against war and marine risks under a policy issued by the defendants, a Kuwaiti insurance company. The form of the policy was based upon the Lloyd's standard form of marine policy with modifications but gave Kuwait as the place of issue and provided for claims to be payable there. There was no provision in the policy as to the law which was to govern the contract. The vessel was detained by Saudi Arabian authorities and the master and crew were imprisoned for some months apparently in connection with a claim, denied by the plaintiffs, that the vessel had been engaged in an attempt to smuggle oil. The judge held that Kuwaiti law was the proper law of the contract and, accordingly, there was no jurisdiction to serve notice of the writ out of the jurisdiction. HOLDING LORD DIPLOCK Two step process of determining proper law of contract - Intention or close connection So the first step in the determination of the jurisdiction point is to examine the policy in order to see whether the parties have, by its express terms or by necessary implication from the language used, evinced a common intention as to the system of law by reference to which their mutual rights and obligations under it are to be ascertained. There is no conflict between this and Lord Simonds's pithy definition of the "proper law" of the contract to be found in Bonython v. Commonwealth of Australia [1951] A.C. 201, which is so often quoted, i.e., "the system of law by reference to which the contract was made or that with which the transaction has its closest and most real connection." It may be worth while pointing out that the "or" in this quotation is disjunctive, as is apparent from the fact that Lord Simonds goes on immediately to speak of "the consideration of the latter question." If it is apparent from the terms of the contract itself that the parties intended it to be interpreted by reference to a particular system of law, their intention will prevail and the latter question as to the system of law with which, in the view of the court, the transaction to which the contract relates would, but for such intention of the parties have had the closest and most real connection, does not arise.

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