Siderurgica Mendes Junior S.A. v. The "Ice Pearl"

In Arbitration/Jurisdiction Clauses in Maritime Law on (Updated )

In this cargo case the Plaintiffs argued that an arbitration clause in a charter party should not be given effect to on two grounds: First, that the bill of lading contained a "supersession clause" that did not specifically refer to the arbitration provision and, second, that the Defendant had waived its right to arbitration. On the first issue, the Court held that the "supersession clause" did not oust the arbitration agreement. On the second issue, the Court seemed to question whether there could be waiver or estoppel in relation to an agreement to arbitrate. The salient facts were that the Defendant had filed an appearance and had promised to file a Statement of Defence but had not yet done so. The Defendant had also issued a Demand for Discovery of Documents and had requested particulars of the Statement of Claim. The Court referred to the Commercial Arbitration Code which provides that an application for a stay shall be brought not later than when submitting the first statement on the substance of the dispute. The Court held that since the Defendant had not yet filed a defence it had not submitted its first statement on the substance of the dispute and was therefore not precluded for requesting a stay.