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Spiliada Maritime V. Cansulex Notes

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This is an extract of our Spiliada Maritime V. Cansulex 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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SPILIADA MARITIME V. CANSULEX FACTS The appellants are owners of a bulk carrier, of about 20,000 tonnes deadweight, called Spiliada. The shipowners are a Liberian Corporation, and their vessel flies the Liberian flag; but their managers are in Greece, though some part of the management takes place in England. The respondents carry on business in British Columbia as exporters of sulphur. The shipowners chartered their vessel to an Indian company called Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation of India Ltd. (whom I shall refer to as "M.M.T.C.") under a voyage charter dated 6 November 1980, for the carriage of a cargo of sulphur from Vancouver to Indian ports… The sulphur was loaded on board the vessel by order of Cansulex, who were f.o.b. sellers of the sulphur to M.M.T.C. Bills of lading were then issued to, and accepted by, Cansulex… Clause 21 on the reverse of the bills of lading provided that, subject to certain clauses which are for present purposes immaterial, the bills of lading "no matter where issued, shall be construed and governed by English law, and as if the vessel sailed under the British flag." It has been alleged by the shipowners that the cargo of sulphur so loaded on the vessel was wet when loaded and as a result caused severe corrosion and pitting to the holds and tank tops of the vessel. The shipowners have claimed damages from Cansulex in respect of the damage so caused. Leave was obtained by the shipowners to issue and serve a writ upon Cansulex outside the jurisdiction on a ground contained in the then R.S.C., Ord. 11, r. 1(1) (f)(iii), viz. that the action was brought to recover damages in respect of breach of a contract which was by its terms governed by English law… Cansulex then applied for an order to set aside such leave and all subsequent proceedings. COURT



Staughton J. heard that application and dismissed it, holding that there was a good arguable case that the Canadian companies were parties to a contract governed by English law, and that the case was a proper one for service out of the jurisdiction.

1. Convenience of Witnesses - It is also true that two witnesses in the Cambridgeshire action decline to come to England to give evidence, so that their evidence will have to be taken on commission in North America. Nevertheless, I reach the clear conclusion that Vancouver is not overall a more suitable place for trial than England in terms of the convenience of witnesses. Indeed, if one assumes that the parties will wish to have the same experts as in the Cambridgeshire, I would say that England is shown to be more suitable.

2. Cambridgeshire Factor - The plaintiff's solicitors have made all the dispositions and incurred all the expense for the trial of one action in England; they have engaged English counsel and educated them in the various topics upon which expert evidence will be called; they have

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