Carefully crafted contract helps protect client

March 17th, 2021

We acted on behalf of a client who selling a Dutch barge to French Nationals.

The vessel was Dutch Registered, and the contract stipulated the full payment could be made in instalments over four years. We recommended the contract further provided for our client’s interest in the vessel to be preserved by a Mortgage Registered in the French Registry and for repossession and disposal in the event of non-payment, and for interest to accrue on such payments.

As it happened, the buyer did not make any significant payments to our client and we were consequently reinstructed to issue Notice of Termination of the Agreement and to repossess the vessel where she lies in France. In accordance with the terms of the contract we had prepared, Notice of Termination was served so the purchasers of the vessel had to surrender her up to our clients.

Our client secured a new purchaser, and instructed us to pursue a claim for losses against the purchasers, who sought to avoid proceedings.  Following the instruction of formal process servers in France, we were able to agree and commence Arbitration Proceedings in the UK, which Proceedings were contested.  The Arbitrator ultimately gave award in favour of our client, awarding him much of his losses and costs.  Our client has now instructed French Lawyers to enforce the award in France and such enforcement continues.

Had we not anticipated the possibility of breach at the point of forming the contract, there would have been no provisions enabling our client to terminate and recover the vessel, or providing for UK Arbitration.