Owners of Cargo On K H Enterprise v Owners of Pioneer Container: PC 29 Mar 1994

Owners who were claiming under a bailment must accept the terms of a sub-bailment to which it had agreed. This result is both principled and just. A sub-bailee can only be said for these purposes to have voluntarily taken into his possession the goods of another if he has sufficient notice that a person other than a bailee is interested in the goods so that it can properly be said that (in addition to his duties to the bailee) he has, by taking the goods into his custody, assumed towards that other person the responsibility for the goods which is characteristic of a bailee. This they believe to be the underlying principle.
Where an exclusive jurisdiction clause exists, a party who seeks a stay brought in breach of that agreement to refer disputes to a named forum, will have to show strong cause
Lord Goff asked whether an exclusive jurisdiction clause in a bill of lading issued by a sub-bailee was binding on the cargo owner, and said: ‘Here is a ship, upon which the goods are loaded in a large number of containers; indeed, one container may contain goods belonging to a number of cargo owners. One incident may affect goods owned by several cargo owners, or even (as here) all the cargo owners with goods on board. Common sense and practical convenience combine to demand that all of these claims should be dealt with in one jurisdiction, in accordance with one system of law. If this cannot be achieved, there may be chaos. Much expense may be wasted on litigation in a number of different jurisdictions, as indeed happened in the present case, where there was litigation in eight other countries as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. There is however no international regime designed to produce a uniformity of jurisdiction and governing law in the case of a multiplicity of claims of this kind. It is scarcely surprising therefore that shipowners seek to achieve uniformity of treatment in respect of all such claims, by clauses designed to impose an exclusive jurisdiction and an agreed governing law . . Within reason, such an attempt must be regarded with a considerable degree of sympathy and understanding . . Their Lordships do not consider that it can possibly be said that the incorporation of such a clause in a bill of lading is per se unreasonable.’


Lord Goff


Times 29-Mar-1994, Gazette 11-May-1994, [1994] 2 AC 324

Cited by:

CitedScottish and Newcastle International Limited v Othon Ghalanos Ltd HL 20-Feb-2008
The defendant challenged a decision that the English court had jurisdiction to hear a claim in contract saying that the appropriate court was in Cyprus. The cargo was taken by ship from Liverpool to Limassol. An English court would only have . .
CitedAngara Maritime Ltd v Oceanconnect UK Ltd and Another QBD 29-Mar-2010
The court was asked as to the application of Section 25(1) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 when an unpaid supplier of bunkers to a time charterer claims against the owner of the vessel.
Held: The issue was whether as a matter of fact there was a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Transport, Commonwealth, Contract, Agency

Updated: 09 April 2022; Ref: scu.84505