Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly


Emily Haslam *

This paper explores three recent English cases in which the courts examined Ukrainian and Russian property law for the purpose of determining jurisdiction. In these cases the courts struggled to analyse socialist and post-socialist legal concepts against the backdrop of widespread political and economic change. The approach that the courts adopted has left a number of issues unresolved and failed to consider the transforming ideology of property in the States of the former Soviet Union.
The period since the break-up of the Soviet Union has been marked by extensive and lively debate concerning the legal nature and characteristics of ownership in emerging market economies.1 These debates have not been confined to the territories of the States of the former Soviet Union because increasingly other States are asked to consider the law of former Soviet States for the purposes of their own domestic legislation.2 The techniques by which courts decide such disputes are of immense practical and theoretical significance. Consequently, this paper explores three recent English cases, The Nazym Khikmet,3 The Giuseppe di Vittorio 4 and Centro Latino Americano de Commercio Exterior SA v. Owners of the Ship Kommunar (No. 2),>5 in which courts were required to consider property law of former Soviet States in order to determine whether arrest conditions contained in the Supreme Court Act 1981, s. 21 were satisfied.

The Supreme Court Act 1981, s. 21

The three cases under consideration arose out of the arrest of a ship as security. In order for such an arrest to be justified conditions set out in the Supreme Court Act 1981 (“S.C.A.”), s. 21(4) must be satisfied. Section 21(4) requires that;


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