In a judgment handed down on 21 October 2014, the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the decision at first instance of Males J that an English law and jurisdiction clause in a voyage charter had been incorporated into the bill of lading on the Congenbill form by the words "All terms and conditions, liberties and exceptions of the Charter Party, dated as overleaf, including the Law and Arbitration Clause, are herewith incorporated". The Court of Appeal agreed with the judge that the question turned on the true construction of the words quoted and asked themselves whether the fact that the bill of lading is effective to incorporate one kind of ancillary clause mean that, in the context of the case, it can properly be read as meaning another kind of ancillary clause, a jurisdiction clause? They held that it did and because the parties had used specific words in the bill of lading, the restrictive caselaw on general words did not apply. The leading judgment of Beatson LJ also provides insightful commentary on the earlier decision in The Merak which has been considered difficult to reconcile with some of the other previous decisions.
Henry Byam-Cook acted for the respondent shipowners (instructed by Holman Fenwick Willan)