Article by Adam Heppinstall QC – Court of Appeal refuses to strike out novel foreign ship breaking yard fatal accident claim against
Lexis Nexis Public Law analysis written by Adam Heppinstall QC
This case considers whether an intermediary agent owes a duty of care for the actions of a third party. Rather than seeking to hold the employershipyard of the deceased employee or the owner of the vessel upon which he was working liable for his death during the course of his employment, breaking down the ship, the claimant instead sought to hold an intermediary agent liable. This was on the basis that it was domestically domiciled and had knowingly caused the vessel to be sent to Bangladesh, where it knew that ships breaking employment conditions were unsafe. Neither Mr Justice Jay at first instance nor Lord Justice Coulson on appeal considered that this claim was straightforward or easy to establish. Yet, both courts have refused to strike out or give reverse summary judgment, the Court of Appeal’s judgment coming hot on the heels of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Okpabi and others v RDS and another which seemingly is to like effect. The defendant might have a reprieve however, as the case has been remitted on only the narrowest of limitation grounds and may well be time barred.
This article was first published by Lexis®PSL on 19 March 2021.
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