Workington Harbour and Dock Board v Towerfield (Owners) (‘The Towerfield’): HL 1951

The occasions upon which the master is called upon to exercise his reserve of authority either by interfering with the conduct of the ship or by taking the navigation out of the hands of a competent pilot are rare and should the master exercise that reserve authority he must justify his action. Section 15 was not limited to cases where the owners of a vessel under compulsory pilotage were facing claims by third parties but extended to a claim by the owners themselves.
Lord Normand discussed the Latin maxim: frustra petis quod mox es restiturus (‘it is no good trying to get something which immediately afterwards you are going to have to hand back’), saying ‘But if the shipowner might have recovered as damages in an action in negligence the sum paid to the harbour authority under section 74, the decision would be saved frustra petis quod mox es restiturus.’
Lord Radcliffe, Lord Normand
[1951] AC 112
Pilotage Act 1913 15
England and Wales
Appeal fromWorkington Harbour and Dock Board v Towerfield (Owners) CA 1949
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These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 May 2021; Ref: scu.181790