Stephenson Harwood secures landmark supreme court judgement

Legal, Marine Insurance — By on May 22, 2018 at 12:52 PM

Simon Moore

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised the insurers of vessel B Atlantic – who were led by Navigators, Travellers and Aegis – on a dispute with Atlasnavios – Navegacao Lda.

The dispute related to whether the insurers were able to decline cover under a war risks policy in respect of the confiscation of the B Atlantic, on the basis that the vessel had been used to smuggle cocaine. At first instance, it was held that the insurers were liable, a decision which, if not overturned, would have cost them up to US$30 million. The Court of Appeal overturned this decision in a judgment which was today upheld by the Supreme Court.

“This is an important result for our clients, and indeed the wider insurance market,” said Simon Moore, partner, Stephenson Harwood. “The Supreme Court decision provides welcome clarity on the question of whether the smuggling of drugs or contraband is a war risk, confirming that it is not. In addition, it confirms how the word ‘malicious’ should be interpreted in a war risks context, and potentially leaves open the question of whether this interpretation should be applied in the wider world of insurance and commercial contracts.”

The Stephenson Harwood team was led by marine insurance group partner Simon Moore, who was assisted by Paul Hofmeyr and Jide Adesokan.

This is the third recent Supreme Court win secured by Stephenson Harwood, following the March 2017 judgment for Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the October 2017 decision in the general average case, the MV Longchamp.

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Viewers can read the Press Summary as well as the Judgement herebelow:

uksc-2016-0192-press-summary

uksc-2016-0192-judgment

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