England and Wales High Court of Justice, 15 May 2018, Navigator Spirit SA v. Five Oceans Salvage SA, [2018] EWHC 1108 (Comm)

Navigator Spirit SA (“Claimant”) is an owner of a vessel, subject of the operation of the salvage operated by Five Oceans Salvage SA (“Defendant”). During the first instance arbitration, based on an arbitration agreement set forth in the Lloyd’s Open Form of Salvage Agreement, Defendant asserted that it was entitled to compensation for two dangers. The arbitrator however acknowledged only one danger and awarded to Defendant $825,000 plus an agreed currency uplift of 3.76%. The appeal arbitrator reassessed the level of the award, taking into account the level of encouragement, and concluded that Defendant should obtain $1,200,000 plus a currency uplift of 3.76%. That award was challenged by Claimant, on the basis of allegedly serious irregularities. It claimed that the appeal arbitrator failed to act fairly, exceeded its powers and failed to conduct procedure in accordance with the procedural rules agreed upon by the parties.

Recalling that a distinction should be made between a party having no opportunity to address a point and a party failing to recognise or take the opportunity which exists, the High Court of Justice rejects the first ground of appeal. As the two other allegations overlap with the first one, and as in any case, the irregularities cannot be considered serious, it finally dismisses the application in integrity.

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