REUTERS | Alkis Konstantinidis

Practical Law breakfast briefing on offshore contracts

Earlier this week I participated in Practical Law’s breakfast roundtable, Key clauses in offshore construction. The roundtable was led by Lucy Garrett and Calum Lamont, barristers at Keating Chambers.

As I said when I wrote about the breakfast roundtable on mediation, while Chatham House rules do not permit me to reveal all that was said, what I can tell you is how enjoyable the session was.

The session started with Calum setting the scene for the workshop, with details of the scenario we were going to work through (Gazzpad Holding Ltd’s purchase of chemical tankers from a Chinese shipyard) and a bit on the relevant law (including clause 20.1 of the FIDIC Red Book and the importance of the contractor serving its notices in time (see Akenhead J’s judgment in Obrascon)). He also touched upon termination and other principles such as waiver, estoppel and good faith.

Thereafter, Lucy took the lead and explained the general principles of exclusion clauses and the courts’ approach to such clauses, touching upon some of the key judgments (Gilbert Ash v Modern Engineering, Photo Production v Securicor, Stocznia v Gearbulk, Rainy Sky v Kookmin and Arnold v Britton). She also referred to consequential loss and the difficulties parties face in trying to exclude liability for it.

Once the law had been set out, the room was divided into two groups. One group represented the shipyard, the other, Gazzpad. We all reviewed the materials and then had to consider a number of issues in turn:

  • The validity of the shipyard’s extension of time claim.
  • The validity of Gazzpad’s termination claim.
  • The losses sufffered by Gazzpad and its claim against the shipyard.

We worked through each issue with Lucy and Calum’s assistance, feeding back our thoughts to the room.

These workshops are a fantastic opportunity to receive practical guidance and work through the challenges and issues that everyone faces, and to meet and network with industry professionals. They are provided by Practical Law’s online learning solution at

If you missed this session, the slides are available here.

Practical Law Michelle Rousell

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