Admiralty Jurisdiction and Practice

Page 141


Procedure in an admiralty claim in rem

Issue of in rem claim form

Prescribed claim form

4.1 An Admiralty claim in rem must be commenced by a claim form1 in the prescribed form.2 The same fee is payable on issue as in the case of any other claim form and just like any other claim form for a court in the Rolls Building, it must be issued electronically.3 Such a claim form may only be issued where jurisdiction can properly be invoked in rem under the Senior Courts Act (SCA) 1981 as discussed in the previous chapter of this book. Where an in rem claim form has been wrongly issued the court may strike it out and have service of it set aside. If the claim ought not to have been issued in the Admiralty Court at all, it will be transferred to another court.4 If the claim is appropriate for the Admiralty Court but the wrong claim form has been issued (e.g. an in personam claim form has been issued instead of an in rem claim form), the court may make an order under CPR rule 3.19 to correct the error.5 Where the issue depends upon disputed questions of fact, the claimants ought not to be forced to have the question of fact tried on an application to set aside the claim form and arrest, but it may be convenient after pleadings are closed to try the point as a preliminary issue.6

Claim form may be issued against more than one ship

4.2 In the case of a claim within paragraphs (e) to (r) of section 20(2) of the SCA 1981, it is only permissible to serve one in rem claim form (and serve one ship) in respect of a claim,7 even though more than one in rem claim form (against different ships) may be issued in respect of the same claim, or a claim form naming more than one ship. Thus an election has to be made at the time of service. Where a claim form has been issued naming more than one ship, immediately after service the claim form should be amended by striking out the name of all ships save for the one served.8 However, where a claimant has a number of separate causes of action, for example in the case of separate deliveries of

Page 142

bunkers or supplies to one or more sister ships, it is permissible to split up the claim and bring separate claims against different ships in respect of each claim.9

Service on second ship possible where mistake as to first ship served

4.3 Although section 21(8) of the SCA 1981 prevents the service of an in rem claim form and arrest of more than one ship in respect of the same claim, where a ship is served with an in rem claim form and arrested in the mistaken belief that it was a ship against which a claim in rem can be brought, this will not bar a subsequent claim against and arrest of a ship against which a claim can properly be brought.10 However, the application for second arrest should deal fully with the first arrest, the circumstances leading to it and explaining why it is no bar to the arrest now sought.

Parties may be described and need not be named

4.4 It has long been the practice in the Admiralty Court for parties to be described rather than named, and this practice continues so that it is permissible to describe the claimants without naming them e.g. “The owners of the ship ‘X’ ” or “The Owners of the cargo lately laden on board the ship ‘Y’ ”.11 It is then open to the defendant to seek particulars as to the real identity of the claimants.12 4.5 The defendants to an in rem claim must be described.13 They will normally be described as “the owners or demise charterers of the ship ‘Y’ ”, unless it is known that the ship either is, or is not, under demise charter in which case the claim form can be issued simply against “the owners of the ship ‘Y’ ” or “the demise charterers of the ship ‘Y’ ” as the case may be. 4.6 In ownership claims, it is usual to describe the defendants as “all other persons claiming to be interested in the ship ‘Y’ ” and in claims between co-owners the defendants are described as “the remaining owners of the ship ‘Y’ ”.14 In limitation claims, the claimant and at least one defendant must be named in the claim form. All other defendants may be described.15

Particulars of claim

4.7 If particulars of claim are not contained in or served with the claim form, they must be served within 75 days of service of the in rem claim form.16 If, as is almost always the case in practice, the claim form is served without full particulars of claim, it should contain a concise statement of the nature of the claim and specify the remedy which the claimant seeks.17 Special rules apply to statements of case in collision claims18

Page 143

and limitation claims.19 Under the former practice, in The “Tuyuti”20 Sheen J criticised the typically vague general endorsement that is often found on claim forms in respect of cargo claims. He said21:

“The plaintiffs are described as ‘The Owners of the cargo lately laden on board the ship Tuyuti’. The endorsement of the writ was in these terms:

The rest of this document is only available to i-law.com online subscribers.

If you are already a subscriber, click Log In button.

Copyright © 2024 Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited. Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited is registered in England and Wales with company number 13831625 and address 5th Floor, 10 St Bride Street, London, EC4A 4AD, United Kingdom. Lloyd's List Intelligence is a trading name of Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited.

Lloyd's is the registered trademark of the Society Incorporated by the Lloyd's Act 1871 by the name of Lloyd's.