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Key Court of Appeal judgment on interpretation of Letters of Indemnity

The English Court of Appeal has issued an important judgment on two Letters of Indemnity (LOIs) which had been issued where cargo was delivered without the original bills of lading. The voyage charterparty provided that where original bills were not available LOIs would be issued, which would have "a period of validity" of only 3 months from their issue date. The LOIs themselves did not refer to the 3 month time bar. Claims were in fact made under the LOIs more than 3 months after this date.
The Court of Appeal confirmed that there is a strong presumption that an LOI will contain its full terms. The period of validity stated in the voyage charterparty therefore had not been incorporated into the LOIs and the claims were not time-barred.

Source: David Morriss / HFW

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