Federal Commerce Ltd v Molena Alpha Inc (The Nanfri): HL 1979

The charterers of three ships on time charter had made deductions from time charter hire payments which the shipowners regarded as unjustified. In retaliation the shipowners purported to revoke the authority of the Charterers (to be implied under the time charters) to sign bills of lading on behalf of the masters of the three vessels. Moreover, the shipowners ordered their masters to refuse to issue ‘freight pre-paid’ bills of lading if presented by the charterers.
Held: The orders to the masters deprived the time-charterers of substantially the whole benefit of each of the three time-charters. Therefore, it was either an actual or an anticipatory repudiatory breach of the three charters.
A statement that a party will only perform something different from the contract is as capable of amounting to a renunciation as an express statement that a party will not perform the contract. To amount to a fundamental breach it must go to the root of the contract.
If a party’s conduct is such as to amount to a threatened repudiatory breach, his subjective desire to maintain the contract cannot prevent the other party from drawing the consequences of his actions.
Lord Wilberforce, Lord Fraser of Tullybelton
[1979] AC 757, [1979] 1 All ER 307, [1978] QB 949, [1979] 1 Lloyds Rep 201, [1978] 3 WLR 991
England and Wales
Appeal fromFederal Commerce Ltd v Molena Alpha Inc; (The ‘Nanfri’) CA 1978
The court considered whether claim as against a shipowner could be set off against sums due under a time charter hire.
Held: Save for any contractual provision to the contrary a tenant is entitled to deduct from the rent payable, so as to . .

Cited by:
CitedSK Shipping (S) Pte Ltd v Petroexport Ltd ComC 24-Nov-2009
The parties disputed the termination of a charterparty for anticipatory repudiatory breach.
Held: To the extent that the dispute relied on disputes of fact, the court preferred the evidence of the claimant. The defendant had displayed an . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Corporation v Beckett EAT 1983
The claimant had committed an act of serious negligence, jeopardising the safety of his colleagues. He was removed from his post as a scenic carpenter but offered an alternative post of maintenance carpenter on a trial basis, which was unacceptable . .
CitedGold Group Properties Ltd v BDW Trading Ltd TCC 3-Mar-2010
The parties had contracted for the construction of an estate of houses and flats to be followed by the interim purchase by the defendants. The defendants argued that the slump in land prices frustrated the contract and that they should not be called . .
CitedHaberdasher’s Monmount School for Girls v Turner EAT 8-Mar-2004
EAT Unfair Dismissal
ET incorrectly applied Sir John Donaldson’s dictum in Bridgen [1987] IRLR 58 (based on Woodar v Wimpey): assertion of wrong interpretation of contract not enough for repudiation, which . .
CitedGeldof Metaalconstructie Nv v Simon Carves Ltd CA 11-Jun-2010
The parties contracted for the supply and installation of pressure vessels by Geldof (G) for a building constructed by Simon Carves (SC). The contract contained a clause denying the remedy of set-off. G sued for the sale price, and SC now sought an . .
CitedFuture Publishing Ltd v The Edge Interactive Media Inc and Others ChD 13-Jun-2011
The claimant said that the defendant had infriged its rights by the use of its logo on their publications. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 29 August 2021; Ref: scu.381491