Posted on: 27 September 2021
On 16 September, the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) in partnership with Maritime London, 4 Pump Court Chambers and Twenty Essex Chambers hosted and arranged a simulated arbitration hearing, as part of the London International Shipping Week 2021.
The event was introduced by LMAA arbitrator and Maritime London Director Ian Gaunt. Those taking part were arbitrators Clive Aston, Daniella Horton and Nicholas Woo and counsel (for the claimant) Nicholas Vineall Q.C. and Anna Hoffmann of 4 Pump Court Chambers and (for the respondent) Julian Kenny Q.C. and Michal Hain of Twenty Essex Chambers.
The event was held in the form of a (now common) semi-virtual hearing, with the tribunal and 3 of the 4 counsel sitting at the new premises of the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) and the witnesses giving evidence on line from Shanghai and Singapore. The case scenario concerned an alleged agreement to extend the range of a charter of a ship, which then was detailed at a port in the alleged extended range because of COVID restrictions in the port.
The case was based on the many COVID related cases, which have recently come before LMAA tribunals in London. It was finely balanced, the result depending on an assessment of witness evidence and its impact on the parties’ obligations. The tribunal gave an extempore award.
A recording of the hearing can be found here and the papers (including submissions, charterparty extract and witness statements) here. The Electronic document management facilities were provided by Opus 2 and IDRC. The event was attended by some 380 online participants.
The LMAA office has now moved to the new premises of the IDRC which will provide a truly state of the art hub for arbitration and mediation hearings in London, with facilities to host major conferences and seminars as well as simultaneous capacity for 18 live arbitration hearings.