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THE 1906 ACT, COMMON LAW AND CONTRACT CLAUSES-ALL IN HARMONY?

Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly

THE 1906 ACT, COMMON LAW AND CONTRACT CLAUSES—ALL IN HARMONY?

Lord Mance*

Celebrating the Centenary of the Joint Hull Committee, this paper considers the interaction between the Marine Insurance Act 1906, the common law and contract clauses such as those issue by the Joint Hull Committee, with specific references to Law Commission proposals for reform, in particular in relation to damages for late payment, post-contractual duties of good faith and warranties.

INTRODUCTION

It is a privilege to celebrate the centenary of the Joint Hull Committee by giving the first lecture in honour of Lord Donaldson of Lymington. As a keen sailor, he would have appreciated the association of a joint hull committee with his name, but as a marine lawyer he would have known that the committee has nothing to do with the regulation or racing of catamarans. Rather, it is the lubricant which enables marine insurance to work on a daily basis, despite the slightly rusty structure of the Marine Insurance Act 1906, upon which all marine insurance rests.
As a young commercial barrister in 7 King’s Bench Walk, I had once to transfer my allegiance across the Temple to act for a day as a straw junior to John Donaldson QC, as the great man then was. We had a brief introduction before court, after which I sat hoping (successfully) that he would require nothing further. Later, however, I got to know him well, through appearances before him in the Commercial Court, then the Court of Appeal, and finally as a colleague on the Middle Temple Bench. My wife, Lady Justice Arden, also worked very closely with him when he chaired the Financial Law Committee. Like many others, we learned from him the advantages of making your points known economically and early. The law has greatly speeded up over the last four decades I have been in practice, but it is perhaps still not to John Donaldson’s pace. After he retired as Master of the Rolls, he contributed significantly to marine safety as chair of the inquiries, following the casualties of the Braer and Sea Empress, which produced the reports Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas 1 and Review into Salvage Intervention and their Command and Control 2 in 1994 and 1999. It is a privilege to give the first lecture in his name.
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