Arbitrators

That is not to say that other codes do not find international favour, and there are important arbitration centres in New York (The Society of Marine Arbitrators) and in Paris (the arbitration facilities of the International Chamber of Commerce), although by far the largest number of shipping disputes are conducted in London under the terms of English law. Accordingly, there have grown up in London the Head Offices of numerous P & I Clubs; the London Maritime Arbitrators Association, and a large number of lawyers specialising in shipping disputes. Consequently, companies and individuals from the world over look to London and to English law for guidance on the drafting of shipping contracts and for resolving disputes thereunder. Mention should be made of two specific documents that have been drafted to help interpret some of the more common causes of disputes under charter parties. The VOYLAY rules have already been mentioned in Lesson six as an aid in cutting through the confusion that surrounds the perennial problem of laytime calculating. FONASBA has produced the Time Charter Interpretation Code 2000 which is a similar attempt to remove the mystery of some common areas of dispute in timecharters. Unlike the Voylay rules, it does not concern itself with one topic but covers a number of different areas. A shipping dispute that is to be resolved in the English Courts would be referred to a judge in the Commercial Court in the first instance, the Commercial Court being part of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court, in London. Many times the dispute will end with judgement at that stage, although it may be possible to appeal against the verdict to the decision of a panel of judges sitting in the Court of Appeal and, similarly, against their judgement, to the highest Court in England, the House of Lords. All this is expensive and likely to be time consuming however, as a consequence of which, most parties selecting English law opt in their contract for any disputes to be referred to Maritime Arbitration in London.