What does demurrage liquidate?
The present thesis was written in completion of a Master in Maritime Law (LL.M.) at the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, at the University of Oslo. The thesis is here published as it was submitted in December 2022, with only minor orthographic corrections and adaptations.
The dissertation deals with the interpretation of demurrage clauses in voyage charterparties under English law, and notably, whether demurrage clauses liquidate all or just some of the damages arising from a charterer’s breach in failing to complete cargo operations within the laytime. This issue has divided practitioners and academics for decades and was recently put to the forefront of the legal debate by the Eternal Bliss, a case set to be decided by the UK Supreme Court later this year, but which was finally dismissed due to a settlement between the parties in May 2023. Nevertheless, the issue at stake in the case remains highly relevant for market actors, as delays in port are frequent and entail significant consequences for those operating in the shipping industry. Thus, the legal analysis performed by the Court of Appeal, which is the main object of analysis of the present thesis, should therefore remain of interest.
Throughout my work on the dissertation, I have been fortunate to discuss the Eternal Bliss with a number of practitioners and academics, all of whom have been of great help. Special thanks go to professor Trond Solvang, who has provided useful insights and remarks throughout the whole writing process. The present work would not have been the same without his invaluable guidance.