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I am pleased to present the third guidebook published for free as part of a series of “Snapshot Guides” on charter disputes that I write.

Given my daily involvement with charter disputes and the parties’ extensive reference to LMAA Awards during settlement negotiations, I started in 2015 to prepare for convenience a list of the summaries that I update annually with new decisions and a brief description or keywords for quick reference material. To prepare this list, the short observations and statistics, I read all the published summaries from 1979, refreshing my knowledge and learning more as few summaries went unnoticed or involved uncommon issues.

After publishing the guidebook “Snapshot Guide to Laytime & Demurrage”, I aimed to publish another guidebook with more categories of charter disputes, i.e. “A Snapshot Guide to Charterparties”. However, the published awards considered disputes under several types of contracts. Therefore I decided to prepare and share this “Snapshot Guide to LMAA Awards” as a list, with awards in chronological order. But, of necessity, I could not include more information about the summaries apart from some keywords, statistics and brief observations.  Therefore, the keywords had to be extremely short, and some aspects were not covered.

Notably, as a conscientious reader of the Lloyd’s Maritime Law Newsletter, it would not be right for me to lose this opportunity to pay tribute to Michael Daiches, who edited the LMLN and prepared award summaries for 40 years, from 1981-2021.

This guidebook includes statistics and brief observations. As observed, approximately 20-25% of the cases referred to arbitration proceed to an award. Regarding the rest, the parties usually settle the case during the various stages of the reference. Most of the published awards considered disputes that arose under charter parties or bills of lading contracts, and fewer considered disputes under contracts for ship sales, shipbuilding and repair.

Roughly 70% of the disputes that came before arbitrators involved issues of construction or interpretation: by way of remarks, some tribunals commented on the relatively relaxed draftsmanship adopted over the years when it came to construing the contract. 

For the reader’s easy reference, the chart below shows that commonly disputed issues fall into these categories: laytime and demurrage, hire payment, off-hire, cargo claims, arbitration practice, freight and dead freight, speed and performance, and maintenance (mostly the holds condition and cranes) or unseaworthiness, e.g. mainly due to engine damages or other matters, e.g. cracks in the hull or side shell plating, tail shaft damaged, or for crew matters, including consideration of the Hague Rules defences, competing causes of delay- chain of causation, etc. And fewer issues about disbursements, unsafe ports (hull & mooring ropes damaged, actions of pilots and tugs), bunkers, extra insurance, and sales of ship or shipbuilding contracts

Chart showing LMAA Published Awards 1979-2022
LMAA Published Awards 1979 – 2022

Note: this book may be freely distributed online and in print, provided it is in complete form without any amendments and contains all credits as referred to in the guidebook (see copyrights section).

Credit to Lloyd’s Maritime Law Newsletter and I-law

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