Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly

Our golden anniversary

Francis Rose

This is a pivotal issue of Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly. Despite its being a quarterly, the first issue was published in May 1974, so the first annual volume included only three issues, the fourth being the first in the second volume. Either way, with this issue we turn from our first into our second half-century, which is a cause for some jubilation.
I still recall the moment when a colleague at the University of Liverpool drew my attention to this potentially exciting new journal. Of course, it was not the first journal to publish papers on commercial or even maritime law. It couldn’t be, for many of the leading cases that had helped create English commercial and contract law were maritime cases, such as the contemporaneous The Eurymedon,1 still best known as a leading contract case. However, issues that were specific to specialised areas of commercial law tended to be discussed, if at all, in practitioner-orientated periodicals. What made LMCLQ different was its eclectic mix of contents. Devised as an adjunct to Lloyd’s Law Reports, it provided a variety of internationally ranging material covering judicial and arbitral decisions and legislation, reports of organisations’ proceedings, original documents (not so easily accessible in the pre-digital age) and, most importantly, analysis and discussion of all aspects of maritime and commercial law. Its stated object was to review these developments in a manner that is both digestible to business people and of real value to lawyers.
That same guiding object continues, though its execution has evolved. More than any other time, the last half-century has seen an explosion of legal literature and of technological and practical developments, so much so that one journal could not realistically aspire to cover everything comprehensively but must be both diverse and selective. In fact, however, it soon became clear that what interested most readers was the law and practice at the heart of international trade together with lessons afforded to and derivable from other jurisdictions. A core feature of the common law system is that it has been built on and provided a focus and source for a worldwide system of commercial activity and dispute resolution, and one which has evolved conscious of other and different ways of dealing with familiar issues. In particular, its commercial law has endeavoured not to prescribe but to facilitate commercial activity. Significantly, it is a legal system that has been constructed and administered on an objective and impartial basis, subject to the rule of law and with the aim of delivering decisions that are just, workable and of universal application. It is a system whose prestige is deserved and in turn has itself become a successful, marketable product.
The proper process of arbitration or litigation is focused on achieving the right result on the facts of the particular case. But this is in the context of the broader perspective of the law as a whole, which needs to be identified and debated. The process, and overt recognition of the value, of doing so went through a sea change with Lord Goff of Chieveley’s landmark acknowledgement in a House of Lords’ judgment of the value of academic writing in


formulating the law, by illustration of which he cited three articles, one in LMCLQ.2 
Since then, LMCLQ has published a stream of comments and articles which have complemented and in some cases directly influenced contemporary development of the law in practice, with LMCLQ being one of the most frequently cited journals in the courts.
As the title of the journal indicates, our focus has been on the traditional core of maritime and international commercial law; but it has not been limited to it, for we have an interest in all aspects of commercial law, and indeed specialised areas of commerce or commercial law do not function in isolation from each other. Moreover, commercial law has made substantial contributions to private law generally, most notably with the law of contract; and general private law has contributed to commercial legal developments, most notably in recent years with the growth of the law of restitution of unjust enrichment, a previously under-recognised area but whose significance for modern commercial activity and law continues to receive here the close attention it received in the Restitution Law Review. It has been appropriate therefore for LMCLQ to take a broad view and to embrace all areas that are or may be of interest to those concerned with international and domestic maritime and commercial law.
Of course, the achievements of LMCLQ are not those of an inhuman entity but of a large body of people. As an editor now for 40 years, it has been my privilege and pleasure to work with a wide range of diverse and talented individuals, from academe, practice, the judiciary and elsewhere. Many of them deserve special mention but, unhappily yet happily, there are too many of them. However, authors’ names can be found in the published volumes and their publications speak for themselves. As great a debt is owed to those who cannot be named, the anonymous referees who have provided confidential expert advice on submissions and who have contributed enormously to the selection and improvement of published papers. Their efforts merit greater prominence; but they know who they are. Exceptionally, credit must be given to Professor Francis Reynolds KC, the first general editor of LMCLQ, who set it on its present path and has remained as consultant editor. Over the last 50 years, we have had only two copy editors, who have expertly and professionally steered each issue through the press: Paul Vivian, who came from Lloyd’s List and was for a time the de facto editor of the journal; and Liz Dittner, whose unrivalled expertise in language, languages and geography have been invaluable for an international journal. Finally, mention should be made of Brian Davenport QC, who, but for illness, would likely have achieved a much greater and enduring reputation as a leading maritime and commercial jurist and who was active in helping shape LMCLQ’s direction; in particular, he encouraged us occasionally to do things a little differently from other mainstream law journals.
The execution of our aims has evolved since the early issues. We still aim to inform but in 
a more focussed, detailed and critical way, in particular via the accompanying International Maritime and Commercial Law Yearbook (first published in 2002). Especially, we aim to analyse, criticise, contribute to current debates and influence the understanding, reform and progressive development of the law. And we aim to do so by publishing articles, comments and reviews of the highest quality, written by leading authors with diverse perspectives and reflecting the interrelationship between law and practice. Altogether, we aim to be at the forefront of modern international maritime and commercial law.

2. See Spiliada Maritime Corp v Cansulex Ltd (The Spiliada) [1987] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 1, 17; [1987] AC 460, 488, citing inter alia A Briggs, “The staying of actions on the ground of ‘forum non conveniens’ in England today” [1984] LMCLQ 227.

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