Chapter 4 Marine insurance
You can certainly study maritime law without taking marine insurance, and indeed can be fairly rounded as a maritime lawyer just on the basis of what we have covered so far. But while the last chapter included coverage of cargo claims against shipowners, these claims are really disputes between cargo-owners’ first party and shipowners’ third party insurers. The insurers are the parties who will be footing the bill. Usually, this is not clear from the cases, because under English law insurers sue in the names of the policyholders, rather than in their own names. Occasionally there might be a passing reference,1 but though their recognition in the cases is rare, insurers are in reality playing a crucial role in maritime law actions.
Marine insurance law is mainly contractual, though the contracts differ in important respects from those considered so far. They are contracts of utmost good faith, unlike almost all other commercial contracts. Also, while, like other contracts, they employ the warranty as a type of contractual term, it is very different from the warranty, or indeed any other contractual term, in any contract other than an insurance contract.2 We examine these aspects further in sections [4.4] and [4.5], noting that both these aspects of insurance have been softened by recent legislative reform. Apart from the recent legislation, the subject was partly codified by the Marine Insurance Act 1906, and so requires skills in statutory interpretation, as well as case law.
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