CMA CGM LIBRA – Supreme Court to consider shipowners’ seaworthiness and due diligence obligations
The Supreme Court recently granted Owners permission to appeal in respect of the Court of Appeal’s decision in the CMA CGM LIBRA case. The appeal will raise issues concerning the scope of a shipowner’s obligation under Article III rule 1(a) of the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules to exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy before and at the commencement of the voyage.
The appeal represents the first time in almost 60 years that the legal test for seaworthiness will be considered by the UK’s highest court. While the outcome will therefore be of notable general importance, it will be particularly significant for those who are currently litigating cases where issues of seaworthiness arise. To date, the decisions of the lower courts have generated considerable interest within the shipping industry, including from the International Group of P&I Clubs who supported Owners’ application to appeal, having seen an increase in the number of cargo interests alleging unseaworthiness on the basis of navigational errors.
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