Z.I. Pompey Industrie v. ECU-Line N.V.

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

The Plaintiffs claimed that cargo carried from Belgium to Canada and then on to the US was damaged. The Appellant shipowner sought to rely on an exclusive jurisdiction clause in the bill of lading referring claims to the Courts of Belgium. The matter arose before s.46(1) of the Marine Liability Act came into force. The Prothonotary refused to uphold the jurisdiction clause on the basis that there had been an unauthorized deviation. The Prothonotary’s decision was upheld by the Federal Court Trial Division and Federal Court of Appeal. Unusually, the test applied by the Federal Court of Appeal was the tripartite test normally used in relation to interlocutory injunctions rather than the test from the The “Eleftheria”, [1969] 1 Lloyd’s L.R.237. The Supreme Court of Canada held that the Court of Appeal had applied the wrong test and that the correct test was that set out in The “Eleftheria” which requires that “strong cause” must be shown before the court will refuse to enforce an agreed jurisdiction. The Supreme Court held that there were strong public policy considerations in favour of upholding the “strong cause” test as it created commercial certainty. The Supreme Court also rejected the finding that there had been a deviation that rendered the jurisdiction clause ineffective.