Book review: Simon Curtis: The Law of Shipbuilding Contracts - SAR 2004 - 1
Click to view:
Preview Page SAR 2004 - 1
This volume, published in the Lloyd’s Shipping Law Library series, is
by now an established reference work for those involved with shipbuilding
contracts, whether as commercial parties or legal advisers.
The basic format of the book follows the structure of the standard form
shipbuilding contract on the SAJ form, with a clause-by-clause discussion
supplemented by footnotes and appendices.
Although the primary focus of the book is on the legal interpretation of
the clauses under English law, the legal discussion takes place against the
background of the author’s substantial practical knowledge of the business
of shipbuilding and the acquisition of new vessels.
The case law on this subject is perhaps not as extensive as in other
areas of shipping law, but the author provides a comprehensive review of
relevant decided cases, including recent cases such as Stocznia Gdanska v.
Latvian Shipping (1995 - 2002), Cenargo v. Empresa Nacional Bazan
(2001), BMBF (No12) Ltd v. Harland & Wolff (2001), China Shipbuilding
v. NYK (2000).
The author takes care also to include relevant cases from previous
centuries, for example, the cases of Mucklow v. Mangles in 1808 and
Wood v. Bell (1856) both of which were concerned with whether painting
the purchaser’s chosen name on the vessel was relevant to the passing of
title in the vessel.
Practitioners will benefit from the author’s thorough research and
access to reported cases which are not likely to be available outside
specialist libraries and law firms.
The discussion of the cases is clear and concise and a useful starting
point for further analysis of the issue in the particular shipbuilding
contract under consideration. In other words, close attention must be paid
in every case to individual contract wording because, as remarked upon by
the Honourable Mr. Justice John Thomas in his Foreword, “small changes
in the wording can have a dramatic effect”.
The book contains particularly interesting discussions of allocation of
design risk, the financing of new buildings (including the effect of state
subsidies), agreements ancillary to the shipbuilding contract, (e.g.