England and Wales High Court of Justice, 27 June 2018, Fehn Schiffahrts GMBH & Co v. Romani SPA, [2018] EWHC 1606 (Comm)

Fehn Schiffahrts GMBH (“Appellate”) chartered a vessel to Romani SPA (“Charterers”) for the purposes of transportation of cargo from Reni (Ukraine) to The Netherlands (Rotterdam). In two bills of lading, the consignee named was SC Justorganic Srl. Prior to discharge at Rotterdam, the cargo of sunflower seeds and wheat was fumigated. On the basis of these facts, the arbitral tribunal ruled that Appellant shall compensate Charterers for all the damages which occurred during its custody by the unauthorized fumigation.

In appeal, Appellant alleged that the arbitral tribunal erred in law since Charterers did not have title to sue, namely by answering positively and then incorrectly the question whether the “assignee” can claim substantial damages in circumstances where the assignor has suffered no loss and would be entitled (at most) to nominal damages.

The High Court of Justice considers that the appeal succeeds and that the question shall be remitted to the arbitral tribunal since the latter appeared not to distinguish the issue of title to sue and the issue of whether SC Justorganic Srl, assignor, suffered a loss.

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