Tonnelier and Bolckow, Vaughan and Co v Smith and Weatherill and Co: CA 1897

The charterparty required the charterers to pay hire monthly in advance at the rate of andpound;709 per calendar month and at the same rate for any part of a month until her redelivery.
Held: The charterers were liable to pay a full month’s hire at the beginning of each month, even if it was clear that the ship would be re-delivered to the owners before the month had expired.
Rigby LJ said: ‘Even when it appears probable that only a few days’ freight will be earned, some circumstances – as, for instance, a strike – may intervene to delay the date of discharge and delivery up, and in the result a whole month’s freight may, after all, be earned. The greater or less degree of probability of the happening of the events which will determine how much freight is to be earned is nowhere referred to in the contract and can scarcely afford a rule for construing it . . No doubt it would have been a reasonable contract that an estimated payment on account should be sufficient if the parties had thought fit to make such an agreement, but nothing about an estimated amount is said in the charterparty. On the other hand, the charterer, if he had to pay a whole month’s freight instead of a third, would only have paid more than actually turned out to be earned – a state of things contemplated by the contract, and provided for by giving him a lien on the ship for over-payment. On the construction acted upon by the learned Judge the parties would be uncertain, until the discharge of the cargo was completed and delivery of the ship made, when the actual payment was to be, and the owners might be driven to an action – a necessity against which the charterparty plainly intended to protect them.’


Rigby LJ and Lord Esher MR


(1897) 2 Com Cas 2

Cited by:

ApprovedFrench Marine v Compagnie Napolitaine d’Eclairage et de Chauffage par le Gaz HL 1921
A ship had been requisitioned after an instalment of advance hire had become due, leading to the frustration of the charterparty. The parties disputed whether the charterers were still liable to pay the hire in full.
Held: They were. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.410699