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There is no wrong in The Halcyon Isle - A confirmation from Australia!

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 18:48 authored by Poomintr SooksripaisarnkitPoomintr Sooksripaisarnkit

In common law jurisdictions which inherited admiralty practices from the English law, the following claims are recognised as maritime liens: (a) damage done by a ship; (b) salvage; (c) master’s wages and disbursements; (d) crew wages; (e) bottomry and respondentia (now obsolete).Maritime liens gain special status in admiralty law as they survive a good faith purchase of the ship subjected to such liens. In the process of distributions of funds following the judicial sale of ship, holders of maritime liens also have priority over most types of claims. As Derrington and Turner helpfully set out the prima facie ranking system in their work: “(1) The Admiralty Marshal’s costs and expenses connected with the arrest of the vessel and its appraisement and sale. (2) (i) The costs of the arresting party up to and including the arrest of the vessel concerned, and (ii) The costs of the party who obtained the order for the appraisement and sale of the vessel, for the period up to and including the order itself. (3) Maritime liens. (4) Possessory liens. (5) Mortgages. (6) Other statutory actions in rem. (7) In personam claims.” A question arises as to whether a creditor of a ship, who is recognised as a maritime lien holder under other legal systems, can maintain such status before the courts in the United Kingdom or in other countries that have inherited the English admiralty practices and hence take advantage of the high priority from the distribution of funds. The majority of the Privy Council has given a negative response to that question since 1980 in The Halcyon Isle. This judgment has met with mostly disapproval from academic commentators. The question of recognition and enforcement of foreign maritime liens came to be challenged again in Australia and the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia considered this question in length in The Sam Hawk



Publication title

Papers and presentations from the International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA XX)




Australian Maritime College


Danish Institute of Arbitration

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International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA XX)

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Copenhagen, Denmark

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