- Principles of authority and contract interpretation considered in successful AA 1996, s 67 challenge to LMAA award (MVV Environment Devonport v NTO Shipping GmbH, M/V ‘Nortrader’)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Arbitration analysis: This case involved a substantive jurisdiction challenge brought in the Commercial Court under section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996), against a final award on jurisdiction issued in a London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) ad hoc arbitration. The challenge was successful and the arbitration award was set aside confirming that the tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear the dispute and that there was no valid arbitration agreement between the parties. The decision makes clear that while bills of lading have a number of functions and are vital tools in international trade and shipping, insofar as they contain or evidence a contract of carriage, they follow the same rules as any other contract. The case also reiterates that, in order for an individual or company to confer authority on another, unconnected and unrelated party, there must be an action conferring that responsibility as authority cannot arise from silence alone. Finally, the case is a rare example of an arbitration award being successfully challenged in the court. Written by Jonathan Spencer, partner, and Rebecca King, associate, at Simmons & Simmons LLP who represented the successful claimant, MVV.
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