England and Wales High Court of Justice, 24 May 2018, Grindrod Shipping Pte Ltd v. Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. LTD, [2018] EWHC 1284 (Comm)

Grindrod Shipping Pte Ltd (“Claimant”) chartered a motor vessel from Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. Ltd (“Defendant”). The alleged non-compliance by the master’s vessel with voyage orders to sail from Australia to Mozambique and Tanzania led Claimant to initiate arbitral proceedings.

By its award issued on 27 July 2017, a London Maritime Arbitration Association tribunal dismissed the case since the inordinate and inexcusable delay in pursuing the claim by Claimant caused serious prejudice to Defendant.

According to Claimant, it was deprived of a fair opportunity to make comments on this issue, not advanced by Defendant and raised on its own motion by the arbitral tribunal. On this basis, it commenced the annulment proceedings before the English courts.

The High Court of Justice considers that the arbitral tribunal specified that the prejudice was caused by the delay. It points out that Defendant raised the issue of financial prejudice and that the tribunal is not “bound by the head under which the parties raised a point.” Since such conduct cannot be characterized as unfair, the challenge is dismissed.

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