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Status:

Positive or Neutral Judicial Treatment

Marc Rich & Co AG v Bishop Rock Marine Co Ltd (The Nicholas H)


Nicholas H, The
Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
03 February 1994

Case Analysis
Where Reported

[1994] 1 W.L.R. 1071; [1994] 3 All E.R. 686; [1994] 1 Lloyd's Rep.
492; [1994] C.L.C. 133; Times, February 23, 1994; Independent,
March 2, 1994

Case Digest

Subject: Shipping Other related subjects: Negligence


Keywords: Cargo owners; Classification societies; Duty of care;
Foreseeability; Hague Rules; Negligence
Summary: Foreseeability; proximity; vessel developing cracks in
hull; classification society surveyor recommending vessel continue
on voyage to discharge port; total loss of vessel and cargo; cargo
owners claiming against shipowners; attempt to recover balance
from classification society; whether duty of care owed
Abstract: A plaintiff sustaining physical damage to his property and
seeking to establish that he is owed a duty of care in respect of that
loss has to demonstrate not only that the defendant foresaw or
ought reasonably to have foreseen that his act or omission would be
likely to damage the property, but also that there is a relationship of
sufficient proximity between the parties such that it is fair, just and
reasonable to impose a duty of care. The vessel carrying P's cargo
put into port in mid-voyage because of a crack in her hull. A
classification society surveyor carried out inspections on the vessel
and recommended that, after repairs specified by him, the vessel
should continue her voyage. A few days after leaving port the vessel
sank with the loss of P's cargo. Under the bill of lading which
incorporated the Hague Rules, the shipowners owed a
non-delegable duty to the cargo owners to make the vessel
seaworthy at the inception of the voyage and P's claim against the
shipowner was settled on the basis that their liability was limited by
the Hague Rules. P sought to recover the balance of their loss from
the classification society, alleging breach of a duty of care owed by
the society to the cargo owners. On a preliminary issue the judge
held that on the facts pleaded the society owed a duty of care to the
cargo owners capable of giving rise to a liability in damages.
Held, allowing the appeal and dismissing the action, that (1) there
was not a sufficiently close relationship between the parties to
support a duty of care owed by the society to the cargo owners
since the society had not been in charge of the cargo and there had
been no dealing of any kind between the cargo owners and the
society; (2) since the shipowners bore primary contractual liability for
the cargo under the Hague Rules, it was not fair, just or reasonable
to impose a virtually identical tortious duty on the society without any
of the balancing factors contained in the Hague Rules (Caparo
Industries Plc v Dickman [1990] 2 A.C. 605, Murphy v Brentwood
DC [1991] 1 A.C. 398 applied; Grant v Australian Knitting Mills Ltd
[1936] A.C. 85, Scruttons Ltd v Midland Silicones Ltd [1962] A.C.

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446, Clay v AJ Crump & Sons Ltd [1964] 1 Q.B. 533 distinguished).
Judge: Balcombe, L.J.; Mann, L.J.; Savill, L.J.
Counsel: For NKK: Richard Aikens Q.C. and Jonathan Harvie Q.C.
. For MR: Peter Gross Q.C..
Solicitor: For NKK: Norton Rose. . For MR: Lovell White Durrant.

Appellate History &


Status

Queen's Bench Division (Commercial Court)


Marc Rich & Co AG v Bishop Rock Marine Co Ltd (The Nicholas
H)
[1992] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 481; [1993] E.C.C. 121; Financial Times,
July 15, 1992; Lloyd's List, August 14, 1992
Reversed
Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
Marc Rich & Co AG v Bishop Rock Marine Co Ltd (The Nicholas
H)
[1994] 1 W.L.R. 1071; [1994] 3 All E.R. 686; [1994] 1 Lloyd's Rep.
492; [1994] C.L.C. 133; Times, February 23, 1994; Independent,
March 2, 1994
Affirmed
House of Lords
Marc Rich & Co AG v Bishop Rock Marine Co Ltd (The Nicholas
H)
[1996] A.C. 211; [1995] 3 W.L.R. 227; [1995] 3 All E.R. 307; [1995]
2 Lloyd's Rep. 299; [1995] C.L.C. 934; [1996] E.C.C. 120; (1995)
145 N.L.J. 1033; (1995) 139 S.J.L.B. 165; Times, July 7, 1995;
Independent, August 18, 1995; Lloyd's List, July 19, 1995

Significant Cases Cited

Murphy v Brentwood DC
[1991] 1 A.C. 398; [1990] 3 W.L.R. 414; [1990] 2 All E.R. 908; [1990]
2 Lloyd's Rep. 467; 50 B.L.R. 1; 21 Con. L.R. 1; (1990) 22 H.L.R.
502; 89 L.G.R. 24; (1991) 3 Admin. L.R. 37; (1990) 6 Const. L.J.
304; (1990) 154 L.G. Rev. 1010; [1990] E.G. 105 (C.S.); (1990)
87(30) L.S.G. 15; (1990) 134 S.J. 1076; Times, July 27, 1990;
Independent, July 27, 1990; HL
Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman
[1990] 2 A.C. 605; [1990] 2 W.L.R. 358; [1990] 1 All E.R. 568; [1990]
B.C.C. 164; [1990] B.C.L.C. 273; [1990] E.C.C. 313; [1955-95]
P.N.L.R. 523; (1990) 87(12) L.S.G. 42; (1990) 140 N.L.J. 248;
(1990) 134 S.J. 494; Times, February 12, 1990; Independent,
February 16, 1990; Financial Times, February 13, 1990; Guardian,
February 15, 1990; Daily Telegraph, February 15, 1990; HL
Clay v AJ Crump & Sons Ltd
[1964] 1 Q.B. 533; [1963] 3 W.L.R. 866; [1963] 3 All E.R. 687; 4
B.L.R. 80; (1963) 107 S.J. 664; CA
Scruttons Ltd v Midland Silicones Ltd

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[1962] A.C. 446; [1962] 2 W.L.R. 186; [1962] 1 All E.R. 1; [1961] 2
Lloyd's Rep. 365; (1962) 106 S.J. 34; HL
Grant v Australian Knitting Mills Ltd
[1936] A.C. 85; PC (Aus)
Donoghue v Stevenson
[1932] A.C. 562; 1932 S.C. (H.L.) 31; 1932 S.L.T. 317; [1932] W.N.
139; HL

All Cases Cited

White v Jones
[1993] 3 W.L.R. 730; [1993] 3 All E.R. 481; (1993) 90(23) L.S.G. 43;
(1993) 143 N.L.J. 473; [1993] N.P.C. 37; Times, March 9, 1993;
Independent, March 5, 1993; CA (Civ Div)
Gran Gelato Ltd v Richcliff (Group) Ltd
[1992] Ch. 560; [1992] 2 W.L.R. 867; [1992] 1 All E.R. 865; [1992] 1
E.G.L.R. 297; [1991] E.G. 136 (C.S.); (1992) 142 N.L.J. 51; Times,
December 19, 1991; Independent, December 18, 1991; Ch D
Nitrigin Eireann Teoranta v Inco Alloys Ltd
[1992] 1 W.L.R. 498; [1992] 1 All E.R. 854; 60 B.L.R. 65; (1992)
89(3) L.S.G. 34; (1991) 141 N.L.J. 1518; [1991] N.P.C. 17; Times,
November 4, 1991; Independent, November 28, 1991; QBD
Mobil Oil Hong Kong and Dow Chemical (Hong Kong) v Hong
Kong United Dockyards (The Hua Lien)
[1991] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 309; PC (HK)
Murphy v Brentwood DC
[1991] 1 A.C. 398; [1990] 3 W.L.R. 414; [1990] 2 All E.R. 908; [1990]
2 Lloyd's Rep. 467; 50 B.L.R. 1; 21 Con. L.R. 1; (1990) 22 H.L.R.
502; 89 L.G.R. 24; (1991) 3 Admin. L.R. 37; (1990) 6 Const. L.J.
304; (1990) 154 L.G. Rev. 1010; [1990] E.G. 105 (C.S.); (1990)
87(30) L.S.G. 15; (1990) 134 S.J. 1076; Times, July 27, 1990;
Independent, July 27, 1990; HL
Mariola Marine Corp v Lloyd's Register of Shipping (The
Morning Watch)
[1990] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 547; [1991] E.C.C. 103; QBD (Comm)
Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman
[1990] 2 A.C. 605; [1990] 2 W.L.R. 358; [1990] 1 All E.R. 568; [1990]
B.C.C. 164; [1990] B.C.L.C. 273; [1990] E.C.C. 313; [1955-95]
P.N.L.R. 523; (1990) 87(12) L.S.G. 42; (1990) 140 N.L.J. 248;
(1990) 134 S.J. 494; Times, February 12, 1990; Independent,
February 16, 1990; Financial Times, February 13, 1990; Guardian,
February 15, 1990; Daily Telegraph, February 15, 1990; HL
Cia Portorafti Commerciale SA v Ultramar Panama Inc (The
Captain Gregos) (No.1)
[1990] 3 All E.R. 967; [1990] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 310; Financial Times,
December 22, 1989; Lloyd's List, February 9, 1990; CA (Civ Div)
Norwich City Council v Harvey (Paul Clarke)
[1989] 1 W.L.R. 828; [1989] 1 All E.R. 1180; 45 B.L.R. 14; (1989) 5
Const. L.J. 154; (1989) 86(25) L.S.G. 45; (1989) 139 N.L.J. 40;
(1989) 133 S.J. 694; Times, January 11, 1989; Independent,

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January 16, 1989; Independent, January 6, 1989; CA (Civ Div)


Pacific Associates v Baxter
[1990] 1 Q.B. 993; [1989] 3 W.L.R. 1150; [1989] 2 All E.R. 159; 44
B.L.R. 33; 16 Con. L.R. 90; (1989) 139 N.L.J. 41; (1989) 133 S.J.
123; Times, December 28, 1988; Independent, January 6, 1989; CA
(Civ Div)
D&F Estates Ltd v Church Commissioners for England
[1989] A.C. 177; [1988] 3 W.L.R. 368; [1988] 2 All E.R. 992; 41
B.L.R. 1; 15 Con. L.R. 35; [1988] 2 E.G.L.R. 213; (1988) 4 Const.
L.J. 100; [1988] E.G. 113 (C.S.); (1988) 85(33) L.S.G. 46; (1988)
138 N.L.J. Rep. 210; (1988) 132 S.J. 1092; HL
Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire
[1989] A.C. 53; [1988] 2 W.L.R. 1049; [1988] 2 All E.R. 238; (1988)
152 L.G. Rev. 709; (1988) 85(20) L.S.G. 34; (1988) 138 N.L.J. Rep.
126; (1988) 132 S.J. 700; HL
Simaan General Contracting Co v Pilkington Glass Ltd
[1988] Q.B. 758; [1988] 2 W.L.R. 761; [1988] 1 All E.R. 791; 40
B.L.R. 28; [1988] F.T.L.R. 469; [1988] E.G. 16 (C.S.); (1988) 138
N.L.J. Rep. 53; (1988) 132 S.J. 463; CA (Civ Div)
Yuen Kun Yeu v Attorney General of Hong Kong
[1988] A.C. 175; [1987] 3 W.L.R. 776; [1987] 2 All E.R. 705; [1987]
F.L.R. 291; (1987) 84 L.S.G. 2049; (1987) 137 N.L.J. 566; (1987)
131 S.J. 1185; PC (HK)
Leigh & Sillivan Ltd v Aliakmon Shipping Co Ltd (The
Aliakmon)
[1986] A.C. 785; [1986] 2 W.L.R. 902; [1986] 2 All E.R. 145; [1986] 2
Lloyd's Rep. 1; (1986) 136 N.L.J. 415; (1986) 130 S.J. 357; HL
Muirhead v Industrial Tank Specialities Ltd
[1986] Q.B. 507; [1985] 3 W.L.R. 993; [1985] 3 All E.R. 705; [1986]
E.C.C. 225; (1986) 83 L.S.G. 117; (1985) 135 N.L.J. 1106; (1985)
129 S.J. 855; CA (Civ Div)
Sutherland Shire Council v Heyman
[1955-95] P.N.L.R. 238; 157 C.L.R. 424; (1985) 60 A.L.R. 1; (1985)
59 A.L.J.R. 564; (1986) 2 Const. L.J. 161; HC (Aus)
Leigh & Sillivan Ltd v Aliakmon Shipping Co Ltd (The
Aliakmon)
[1985] Q.B. 350; [1985] 2 W.L.R. 289; [1985] 2 All E.R. 44; [1985] 1
Lloyd's Rep. 199; (1985) 82 L.S.G. 203; (1985) 135 N.L.J. 285;
(1985) 129 S.J. 69; CA (Civ Div)
Governors of the Peabody Donation Fund v Sir Lindsay
Parkinson & Co Ltd
[1985] A.C. 210; [1984] 3 W.L.R. 953; [1984] 3 All E.R. 529; 28
B.L.R. 1; 83 L.G.R. 1; [1984] C.I.L.L. 128; (1984) 81 L.S.G. 3179;
(1984) 128 S.J. 753; HL
Anns v Merton LBC
[1978] A.C. 728; [1977] 2 W.L.R. 1024; [1977] 2 All E.R. 492; 75
L.G.R. 555; (1977) 243 E.G. 523; (1988) 4 Const. L.J. 100; [1977]
J.P.L. 514; (1987) 84 L.S.G. 319; (1987) 137 N.L.J. 794; (1977) 121

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S.J. 377; HL
Spartan Steel & Alloys Ltd v Martin & Co (Contractors) Ltd
[1973] Q.B. 27; [1972] 3 W.L.R. 502; [1972] 3 All E.R. 557; 14 K.I.R.
75; (1972) 116 S.J. 648; CA (Civ Div)
Home Office v Dorset Yacht Co Ltd
[1970] A.C. 1004; [1970] 2 W.L.R. 1140; [1970] 2 All E.R. 294;
[1970] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 453; (1970) 114 S.J. 375; HL
Clay v AJ Crump & Sons Ltd
[1964] 1 Q.B. 533; [1963] 3 W.L.R. 866; [1963] 3 All E.R. 687; 4
B.L.R. 80; (1963) 107 S.J. 664; CA
Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v Heller & Partners Ltd
[1964] A.C. 465; [1963] 3 W.L.R. 101; [1963] 2 All E.R. 575; [1963] 1
Lloyd's Rep. 485; (1963) 107 S.J. 454; HL
Scruttons Ltd v Midland Silicones Ltd
[1962] A.C. 446; [1962] 2 W.L.R. 186; [1962] 1 All E.R. 1; [1961] 2
Lloyd's Rep. 365; (1962) 106 S.J. 34; HL
Riverstone Meat Co Pty Ltd v Lancashire Shipping Co Ltd (The
Muncaster Castle)
[1961] A.C. 807; [1961] 2 W.L.R. 269; [1961] 1 All E.R. 495; [1961] 1
Lloyd's Rep. 57; 1961 A.M.C. 1357; (1961) 105 S.J. 148; HL
Candler v Crane Christmas & Co
[1951] 2 K.B. 164; [1951] 1 All E.R. 426; [1951] 1 T.L.R. 371; (1951)
95 S.J. 171; CA
Haseldine v Daw & Son Ltd
[1941] 2 K.B. 343; CA
Grant v Australian Knitting Mills Ltd
[1936] A.C. 85; PC (Aus)
Donoghue v Stevenson
[1932] A.C. 562; 1932 S.C. (H.L.) 31; 1932 S.L.T. 317; [1932] W.N.
139; HL

Key Cases Citing

Considered
Philcox v Civil Aviation Authority
(1995) 92(27) L.S.G. 33; (1995) 139 S.J.L.B. 146; Times, June 8,
1995; Official Transcript; CA (Civ Div)

All Cases Citing

Mentioned by
Sutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council
[2004] EWCA Civ 175; [2004] P.N.L.R. 30; (2004) 101(13) L.S.G.
36; [2004] Env. L.R. D8; Times, March 19, 2004; Official Transcript;
CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
Wattleworth v Goodwood Road Racing Co Ltd

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[2004] EWHC 140 (QB); [2004] P.I.Q.R. P25; Official Transcript;


QBD
Mentioned by
Gwilliam v West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
[2002] EWCA Civ 1041; [2003] Q.B. 443; [2002] 3 W.L.R. 1425;
[2003] P.I.Q.R. P7; (2002) 99(38) L.S.G. 34; (2002) 146 S.J.L.B.
200; [2002] N.P.C. 101; Times, August 7, 2002; Independent,
October 15, 2002; Official Transcript; CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
Payne v John Setchell Ltd
[2002] B.L.R. 489; (2001) 3 T.C.L.R. 26; [2002] P.N.L.R. 7; Official
Transcript; QBD (TCC)
Mentioned by
Watson v British Boxing Board of Control Ltd
[2001] Q.B. 1134; [2001] 2 W.L.R. 1256; [2001] P.I.Q.R. P16; (2001)
98(12) L.S.G. 44; (2001) 145 S.J.L.B. 31; Times, February 2, 2001;
Independent, January 11, 2001; Daily Telegraph, January 16, 2001;
Official Transcript; CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
Bellefield Computer Services Ltd v E Turner & Sons Ltd
[2000] B.L.R. 97; (2000) 2 T.C.L.R. 759; [2000] N.P.C. 9; Official
Transcript; CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
Perrett v Collins
[1998] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 255; [1999] P.N.L.R. 77; Times, June 23, 1998
; CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
Chung Tak Lam v Brennan (t/a Namesakes of Torbay)
[1998] E.H.L.R. 111; [1997] P.I.Q.R. P488; [1997] 3 P.L.R. 22;
[1998] P.L.C.R. 30; [1997] N.P.C. 135; CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
Reeman v Department of Transport
[1997] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 648; [1997] P.N.L.R. 618; CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
British Telecommunications Plc v James Thomson & Sons
(Engineers) Ltd
1997 S.C. 59; 1997 S.L.T. 767; 1997 S.C.L.R. 228; 82 B.L.R. 1; 54
Con. L.R. 108; [1997] 6 Re. L.R. 325; 1997 Rep. L.R. 23; (1997) 13
Const. L.J. 332; 1997 G.W.D. 3-77; Times, January 28, 1997; IH (2
Div)
Mentioned by
X (Minors) v Bedfordshire CC
[1995] 2 A.C. 633; [1995] 3 W.L.R. 152; [1995] 3 All E.R. 353; [1995]
2 F.L.R. 276; [1995] 3 F.C.R. 337; 94 L.G.R. 313; (1995) 7 Admin.

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L.R. 705; [1995] Fam. Law 537; (1996) 160 L.G. Rev. 123; (1996)
160 L.G. Rev. 103; (1995) 145 N.L.J. 993; Times, June 30, 1995;
Independent, June 30, 1995; HL
Considered
Philcox v Civil Aviation Authority
(1995) 92(27) L.S.G. 33; (1995) 139 S.J.L.B. 146; Times, June 8,
1995; Official Transcript; CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
Huish v Ellis
[1995] B.C.C. 462; [1995] N.P.C. 3; QBD
Mentioned by
Elguzouli-Daf v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
[1995] Q.B. 335; [1995] 2 W.L.R. 173; [1995] 1 All E.R. 833; (1995)
7 Admin. L.R. 421; (1995) 145 N.L.J. 151; Times, November 23,
1994; CA (Civ Div)
Mentioned by
Henderson v Merrett Syndicates Ltd (No.1)
[1995] 2 A.C. 145; [1994] 3 W.L.R. 761; [1994] 3 All E.R. 506; [1994]
2 Lloyd's Rep. 468; [1994] C.L.C. 918; (1994) 144 N.L.J. 1204;
Times, July 26, 1994; Independent, August 3, 1994; HL
Mentioned by
E (A Minor) v Dorset CC
[1994] 3 W.L.R. 853; [1994] 4 All E.R. 640; [1995] 1 F.C.R. 1; 92
L.G.R. 484; (1994) 144 N.L.J. 755; Times, May 4, 1994;
Independent, May 4, 1994; CA (Civ Div)

Journal Articles

Acts speak louder than statements, or nine into one will go.
Cargo owners; Classification societies; Duty of care; Foreseeability;
Seaworthiness.
M.L.R. 1995, 58(4), 574-585
The duty of care after Caparo
Cargo owners; Classification societies; Duty of care; Foreseeability;
Seaworthiness.
S.L. Rev. 1995, 14(Spr), 58-59,
Classification societies and their duty of care - a further
change.
Cargo owners; Classification societies; Duty of care; Foreseeability;
Surveys.
BLG Ins. Law Q. 1994, 17, 20-21
Negligence - under control and under contract?
Cargo owners; Duty of care; Foreseeability; Surveyors.
C.L.J. 1994, 53(2), 220-223
Court of Appeal decides there is no difference in negligence
cases between physical damage to the plaintiff or his property

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and cases of economic loss.


Cargo owners; Duty of care; Foreseeability; Surveyors.
Con. L.D. 1994, 11(4), 19-20
Proximity test applies to negligence claims for physical
damage.
Cargo owners; Duty of care; Foreseeability; Surveyors.
Corp. Brief. 1994, 8(4), 23-24
Class act.
Cargo owners; Duty of care; Foreseeability; Surveyors.
Fairplay 1994, 322(5766), 41
Duty of care in English law: the tort of negligence v the doctrine
of binding precedent.
Cargo owners; Classification societies; Duty of care; Foreseeability;
Precedent; Surveys.
Int. I.L.R. 1994, 2(9), 351-353
England: classification society - duty of care to cargo.
Cargo owners; Duty of care; Foreseeability; Surveyors.
Int. M.L. 1994, 1(1), 1-2
The liability of Classification Societies.
Professional liability; Professional negligence; Shipowners;
Surveyors.
L.M.C.L.Q. 1994, 3(Aug), 363-376
Whether Classification Society can owe duty of care to cargo
owners.
Cargo owners; Duty of care; Foreseeability; Surveyors.
L.M.L.N. 1994, 373, 2-3
Duty of care in negligence.
Cargo owners; Duty of care; Foreseeability; Surveyors.
P.L.C. 1994, 5(3), 52
Classification Societies - duty of care.
Cargo owners; Duty of care; Foreseeability; Surveyors.
P & I Int. 1994, 8(9), 11-12

Books

Clerk & Lindsell on Torts 20th Ed. Incorporating First


Cumulative Supplement
Chapter: Chapter 10 - Professional Liability
Documents: Sub-section (a) - Professional liability
Clerk & Lindsell on Torts 20th Ed.
Chapter: Chapter 10 - Professional Liability
Documents: Sub-section (a) - Professional liability

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