25 May 2018

Stephenson Harwood secures landmark Supreme Court judgment

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The Supreme Court’s decision in Atlasnavios – Navegacao Lda ("B Atlantic", [2018] UKSC 26) was handed down on 22 May 2018.

The case will be of interest to all insurers and their insureds as:

  1. It concerns the correct interpretation of the standard war risks clauses and in particular whether the owner is covered for detentions and confiscations of the vessel where the loss arises from a detention by reason of the vessel being caught drug smuggling; and
      
  2. The legal principles on, amongst other things, the correct interpretation of insurance contracts are of broad application. This includes confirmation of the principle that where a or the proximate cause of a loss is excluded, insurers shall not be liable. 

The Supreme Court has held that there is no cover under the standard war risks policy for vessels used to smuggle drugs. Accordingly, insureds whose trading routes include higher risk jurisdictions should speak to their brokers about purchasing the specific additional cover that is available for this risk.

The Stephenson Harwood team was led by marine insurance group partner Simon Moore, who was assisted by Paul Hofmeyr and Jide Adesokan.

This is the third recent Supreme Court win secured by Stephenson Harwood, following the March 2017 judgment for Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the October 2017 decision in the general average case, the MV Longchamp.

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Simon Moore

Simon Moore
Partner

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Freddie Harrison
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