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Supreme Court puts stop to marine recovery in the jurisdiction of England and Wales
Clarissa Dumolo, solicitor in Keoghs’ Marine, Ports and Offshore team, discusses the latest instalment of the Atlantik Confidence claims (see here for the previous update). In this important case involving marine fraud, the Supreme Court has put a stop to underwriters’ attempts to recover monies paid out in a scuttling incident in the jurisdiction of England and Wales.
On 1 April 2020, the Supreme Court handed down judgment for the long ongoing Atlantik Confidence claims.
The Supreme Court found that the Courts of England and Wales had no jurisdiction to deal with the underwriters’ claim against the Bank (domiciled in the Netherlands) to recover $22 million paid out on a claim where it had later been found that the ship had been deliberately scuttled.
It was held that the Bank was not bound by the jurisdiction clause in the policy as it was not party to the policy which contained this clause, nor the settlement agreement in respect of the main action.
As such, if the Atlantik Confidence saga is to be continued - and if underwriters are to have any chance of recovering their money - it will have to be done through the Courts in the Netherlands. Having already been through the Courts in England and Wales, and the Supreme Court, it remains to be seen whether underwriters will engage in yet more costly litigation.
Moving forward, underwriters both in the marine industry and generally in the insurance market, will no doubt be more conscious of how settlement agreements are drawn up to account for jurisdiction issues, who the parties to that agreement should be and the potential for fraud to be uncovered at a much later date so as to avoid the issues arising from Atlantik Confidence.
For further information, please contact Clarissa Dumolo on the details above.