Scruttons Ltd v Midland Silicones Ltd [1962] A.C. 446

ship, shipping incorporation


Scruttons Ltd v Midland Silicones Ltd [1962] concerned a contract for the carriage of goods and the limitation clause included in the contract.


The case summary contains 255 words.


Contract Law – Shipping – Contract – Limitation clause – Damage –  Negligence – House of Lords


In Scruttons Ltd v Midland Silicones Ltd [1962], the shippers and the carriers of the chemicals formed a contract for the carriage of goods by sea. According to the limitation clause included in the contract, the carriers’ liability was limited to USD 500 in case of damage. The stevedores (not part of the contract) damaged the goods by their negligence. As a result, the shippers sued to recover damages. The stevedores relied on the limitation clause in the contract.


Whether the stevedores were entitled to rely on the limitation clause even though they were not part of the contract.


The House of Lords found that the stevedores were not carriers of goods, nor were they parties to the contract. Also, there was no other implied contract involving the stevedores. So, the House of Lords decided the matter in favour of the shippers and held that as the stranger parties to that contract the stevedores could not rely upon the limitation clause.


Distinguished and criticised: Paterson Zochonis & Co Ltd v Elder Dempster & Co Ltd [1924] A.C. 522, [1924] 3 WLUK 68; Mersey Shipping & Transport Co Ltd v Rea Ltd (1925) 21 Ll. L. Rep. 375, [1925] 4 WLUK 2; White v John Warwick & Co Ltd [1953] 1 W.L.R. 1285, [1953] 5 WLUK 117.

References: [1962] A.C. 446; [1962] 2 W.L.R. 18; [1962] 1 All E.R. 1; [1961] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 365; [1961] 12 WLUK 26; (1962) 106 S.J. 34; [1962] C.L.Y. 2842.

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The Nagasaki Spirit 1997 AC 455 HL

Oil tanker, salvage, ship, maritime law


The Nagasaki Spirit 1997 was a landmark case for the marine salvage industry that involved environmental salvage and special compensation.


The case summary contains 339 words.


Maritime Law – Oil tanker – Collusion – Salvage – International Convention on Salvage 1989 – Fair rate – Special compensation – House of Lords


In the present case, an oil tanker Nagasaki Spirit colluded with a container ship, Ocean Blessing. The collusion occurred in the northern part of the Malacca Straits. As a result of the collision, some 12,000 tons of crude oil escaped into the sea and caught fire. 46 crew members from both vessels lost their lives and only two crew members survived the incident.

The professional contractor salvors, based in Singapore, were engaged to salve Nagasaki Spirit under Articles 13 and 14 of the International Convention on Salvage 1989 (the Convention). The salvors successfully salvaged the burning tanker and towed it to Singapore. Thus, minimising damage to the environment. About six weeks later, the salved oil tanker was redelivered to her owners. The salvage Nagasaki Spirit lasted for 84 days.


Whether the environmental salvors, who acted to limit damage to the coastal environment, were permitted to receive special compensation?


At arbitration, the arbitrator awarded the salvor special compensation, emphasizing the need to encourage environmental salvage. The arbitrator also stressed that there was a real possibility of a substantial spill affecting an environmentally-sensitive area.

The matter developed further and was examined on appeal. The Court of Appeal shared the admiralty judge’s position and held that a fair rate was not a salvage reward or anything like it. Then the case reached the House of Lords which delivered the following judgment. The fair rate’, under Art 14(3) of the Convention meant fair rate of expenditure and did not include any element of profit. So, the House of Lords limited the amount that environmental salvors could receive.


Access the full text of the House of Lord’s judgment here.

References: [1997] A.C. 455; [1997] 2 W.L.R. 298; [1997] 1 All E.R. 502; [1997] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 323; [1997] 2 WLUK 108; [1997] C.L.C. 507; [1997] 6 Re. L.R. 305; 1997 A.M.C. 1989; (1997) 141 S.J.L.B. 43; Times, February 10, 1997; [1997] C.L.Y. 4581.

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Cream Holdings Ltd v Banerjee [2004] UKHL 44

Human Right Law feature


Cream Holdings Ltd v Banerjee [2004] concerned an interim injunction to prevent publication of confidential information prior to trial.


The case summary contains 426 words.


Media Law – Human Rights – Interim injunction – Publication of confidential information – Freedom of expression – Threshold – House of Lords


In Cream Holdings Ltd v Banerjee [2004], one of the defendants, Ms Banerjee, obtained confidential information from her work, the claimant company (Cream Holdings Ltd). After the defendant’s dismissal from the company, she gave the confidential material to the publishers of two daily newspapers in Merseyside, the Daily Post and the Liverpool Echo. The defendant argued that the confidential information contained illegal and improper activities by the claimant company. The newspapers published articles asserting that one of the directors of Cream Holdings Ltd was bribing a local council official.

Interim injunction

Following the publication of part of the confidential information, the claimant company sought an interim injunction preventing the newspapers from publishing any further confidential information. The judge granted the injunction. The defendant appealed. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and held that the company had “a real prospect at trial”. So, publication of the confidential information prior to trial would not be justified. The case reached the House of Lords.


Whether the courts should have granted the interim injunction based on “a real prospect at trial”.


The House of Lords disagreed with the lower court’s findings. In particular, a principal issue in the present case was to balance the freedom of expression against the prospect of success at trial. The House of Lords did not share the argument that the claimant company was simply required to show “a real prospect of success” to obtain an interim injunction. Instead, the claimant must advance an argument the case will probably succeed at trial. So, the threshold the claimant was required to meet was higher.

Thus, the House of Lords ruled that the courts should be very reluctant to grant interim injunction in favour of a party who is unable to establish that his case will more likely succeed at trial. So, a previous test – “a real prospect of success”, offered a lower threshold.

To sum up, the present case raised a bar for the applicants to obtain an interim injunction in order to prevent the publication of confidential information prior to trial.


See the full text of the judgment here.

References: [2004] UKHL 44; [2005] 1 A.C. 253; [2004] 3 W.L.R. 918; [2004] 4 All E.R. 617; [2004] 10 WLUK 325; [2005] E.M.L.R. 1; [2004] H.R.L.R. 39; [2004] U.K.H.R.R. 1071; 17 B.H.R.C. 464; (2005) 28(2) I.P.D. 28001; (2004) 101(42) L.S.G. 29; (2004) 154 N.L.J. 1589; (2004) 148 S.J.L.B. 1215; Times, October 15, 2004; [2005] C.L.Y. 2041.

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Cavanagh v Ulster Weaving Co Ltd [1960] A.C. 145

Tort Law, Accident, injuries


Cavanagh v Ulster Weaving Co Ltd [1960] concerned a serious accident caused by the defendant employers’ negligence and breach of statutory duty.


The case summary contains 287 words.


Tort Law – Accident – Serious injuries – Breach of statutory duty – Negligence – Award for damages – House of Lords


In Cavanagh v Ulster Weaving Co Ltd [1960], the plaintiff, who was employed by the defendants, sustained serious injuries after he fell from a ladder. He suffered injuries because he was wearing wet and slippery rubber boots provided by the defendants. As a result of his injuries, the plaintiff had to amputate his right arm three inches above the elbow. He brought an action against the defendants, seeking damages for the injuries.


Was the defendant employers’ were negligent?


The Jury awarded the plaintiff £6,520, finding negligence and breach of statutory duty by the defendants. Although, the amount was reduced to £5,868 as there was contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff. So, jury found that the defendants were negligent but reduced the amount for damages because of the contributory negligence. The matter reached the House of Lords.

The House of Lords found negligence on the part of the defendant employers. The fact that the defendants failed to provide proper boots (they were too big and sleeper) constituted negligent on their part. So, the House of Lords concluded that the jury was entitled to find the defendants guilty of negligence. Also, the although the amount of damages awarded by the jury was high, it was not as high as to require interference by the appellate court.

References: [1960] A.C. 145; [1959] 3 W.L.R. 262; [1959] 2 All E.R. 745; [1959] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 165; [1959] 6 WLUK 69; (1959) 103 S.J. 581; [1959] C.L.Y. 2251.

Considered: Paris v Stepney BC [1951] A.C. 367, [1950] 12 WLUK 56 considered.

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Lewis v Denye [1940] A.C. 921

Tort Law,  Personal injury, negligence


Lewis v Denye [1940] concerned an accident at work and contributory negligence.



The case summary contains 254 words.


Tort Law – Employment – Accident – Personal injury – Contributory negligence – Claim to recover damages – House of Lords


In Lewis v Denye [1940], the claimant, who was in employment with the defendant, injured his hand while working on cutting the woods. The cause of the accident was the negligence of both parties. In particular, the defendant failed to securely fence the saw and the claimant failed to use the push stick and put his hand too close to the saw blade.


Was there contributory negligence on the claimant’s part?


The judge and the Court of Appeal held that the defendant committed a breach of the statutory duty by failing to have the saw securely fenced. Although, it was the claimant’s failure to use the push stick that caused this particular accident. So, the claimant was entitled to recover damages for personal injuries.

The House of Lords dismissed the claimant’s appeal and upheld the findings set out by the judge and the Court of Appeal. It held that the claimant failed to use the push stick. This failure became the effective cause of the accident. So, the claimant’s own negligence contributed to the accident and, thus, there was contributory negligence on the part of the claimant. Therefore, the defendant was not responsible for the accident and the claimant was not entitled to recover damages.

References: [1940] A.C. 921; [1940] 3 All E.R. 299; [1940] 6 WLUK 44.

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