Scrutton on Charterparties and Bills of Lading
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Author: Sir Bernard Eder; David Foxton, QC; Steven Berry, QC; Christopher Smith, QC; Professor Howard Bennett
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Format: Book
Status: Live on Westlaw UK

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  • This is the leading statement of the principles behind charterparties and bills of lading, which is the area of law covering parties to the hire and chartering of ships, and the carriage of goods at least partially by sea.

    First published in 1886, Scrutton has provided a first port of call for research when drafting contracts or dealing with disputes for generations.



    Case law covering key topics, including:

    • The Pacific Champ [2012] (the formation of charterparties)
    • The Cenk Kaptanoglu [2012] (duress)
    • The Kyla [2012] (frustration)
    • Finmoon v Baltic Reefers [2012], The Saga Explorer [2012], The Erin Schulte [2013] (bills of lading)
    • The DC Merwestone [2013] (perils of the sea)
    • The Falkonera [2013], The Dolphina [2012] (discharge and delivery of cargo)
    • The Wren [2011], The Aquafaith [2012], The Kos [2012], The Western Moscow [2012], The Astra [2013] (time charters)
    • The Bulk Chile [2012] (liens)
    • The Glory Wealth [2013] EWHC 3153 (Comm) and The New Flamenco [2014] EWHC 1547 (Comm) – two important cases concerning the proper approach to the assessment of damages – the former concerning the application of the “compensatory principle” and the latter addressing the difficult question which often arises as to what, if any credit, should be given for a benefit received by the innocent party following the wrongdoer’s breach
    • The Athena [2013] EWCA Civ 1273 – concerning the scope and effect of a net loss of time clause in a time charter
    • The Crudesky [2013] EWCA Civ 905 and The Global Santosh [2014] EWCA Civ 403 – two different cases considering whether third parties (a seller of goods in the context of a voyage charter and a receiver in the context of a time charter) might be regarded as the agent of the charterer for certain purposes
    • The Superior Pescadores [2014] EWHC 971 (Comm) – concerning the scope and effect of a clause paramount
    • The Falkonera [2014] EWCA Civ 713 – dealing with the important topic of ship-to-ship transfers
    • The Erin Schulte [2014] EWCA Civ 1382 – concerning the interpretation of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992 and, in particular, the meaning of the expression “completion, by delivery of the bill, of any endorsement of the bill” in section 5(2)(b) of the Act.



    • The book is the leading analysis of general principles in the fields of time charters, voyage charters and demise charters.
    • The book is uniquely arranged as a series of articles, in which Scrutton pinpoints specific topics that a reader might need to research, within a compact and thorough structure, and interrogates each topic concisely.
    • It covers charterparties role as a key form of commercial contract, from the initial construction of the contract, through the rights and liabilities it confers, terms, agency and performance.
    • Analyses and defines bills of lading as contracts in their own right, as a receipt or a document of title, and examines general liability.
    • Addresses issues to do with loading, i.e. cancelling, safety, readiness to load, duties to furnish, broken stowage, ballast and dunnage.
    • Explores the limitations of liability for shipowners in the case of loss of, or damage to, goods carried.
    • Examines duties and potential losses consequent of the voyage and unloading.
    • Discusses demurrage in the context of charterparties and bills of lading – for example, who is liable for demurrage in each case.
    • Covers freight rights and payable parties, for example in cases of short delivery, or delivery short of place of destination.
    • Covers time charters, including their characteristics, duration, rights of withdrawal, owners and charterer’s obligations, condition on redelivery and indemnity.
    • Discusses through bills of lading, where combined forms of transportation are used, particularly containers.
    • Includes the text and commentary on the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971.
    • Appendices include statutes affecting the contract of affreightment; the York-Antwerp Rules, the Inter-Club New York Produce Exchange Agreement 1996 (as amended September 2011), as well as various foreign legislation from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and the US

Sir Bernard Eder practised for almost 35 years as a barrister at 4 Essex Court and thereafter Essex Court Chambers specialising in commercial law including shipping, insurance/reinsurance, banking, commodities and energy law, taking silk in 1991, and acting as Counsel in over 100 reported cases (including in the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords) and over 200 international arbitrations. He also acted as Counsel in numerous foreign jurisdictions (including Singapore, Gibraltar and various Courts in the Caribbean) as well as arbitrator under the aegis of the ICC, the LCIA and the LMAA. He was Visiting Professor at University College, London (1999-2003) where he taught shipping law as part of the LLM course. He is currently the Senior Editor of Scrutton on Charterparties and Bills of Lading. In 2011, he was appointed a Justice of the High Court of England and Wales (Queen’s Bench Division) and granted a Knighthood. He is assigned to sit in the Commercial Court.


Professor Howard Bennett is a Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Nottingham. He lectures regularly on international trade law in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.


Steven Berry QC specialises in advocacy in substantial commercial cases in the English courts and domestic and international arbitral tribunals, including ICC, LCIA and LMAA, especially in the related fields of insurance and reinsurance, shipping, international banking, commodities and arbitration.  He also acts as arbitrator in suitable cases.


Christopher Smith QC has a broad based commercial practice involving advisory work, mediation, litigation in the Court of Appeal and all divisions of the High Court, and arbitration both in England and Wales and abroad including Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Norway. He is also a CEDR Accredited Mediator.


David Foxton QC has a wide-ranging commercial practice.  He is an experienced lead trial advocate in all types of commercial disputes: both in arbitration (SIAC, LCIA, LMAA, ICC and UNCITRAL) and in Court. He also accepts appointments as an arbitrator. He has been consistently ranked as a leading commercial barrister by professional directories. He has been appointed sole arbitrator in ICC, SIAC and “ad hoc” arbitrations and also as chairman of three-member tribunals. He is a Visiting Professor in Commercial Law at the University of Nottingham.