The following Restructuring & Insolvency guidance note Produced in partnership with Andrew Rigden Green of Stephenson Harwood provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Insolvency law and admiralty or shipping law both look towards international harmonisation of legal regimes with the unification of certain rules through the use of international conventions. However, they have developed separately with little regard for one another. Thus where harmony was sought, in fact a number of peculiarities have arisen and parties dealing with a maritime insolvency need to bear these in mind.
The biggest challenge to the traditional insolvency routes are the rights that stakeholders in the shipping industry have over the major tangible assets of shipping companies, ships, which arise by operation of:
internationally recognised traditional maritime law (known as maritime liens)
local statute, such as the Senior Courts Act 1981 in England which is replicated around the world but differs in the application and detail, and
international conventions, such as the International Convention Relating to the Arrest of Sea-Going Ships, Brussels 1952 (the ‘Brussels Convention’) (see International Convention Relating to the Arrest of Sea-Going Ships, Brussels 1952, arts 1–2 (not reported by LexisNexis®))
The modes of enforcement of the rights of stakeholders in the shipping industry are also important. Stakeholders may enforce their rights in personam and/or in rem.
Rights in rem are so called because they are rights against the res (ie the ship itself) and are good against the whole world, not just against the in personam debtor.
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