Legal update: international trade and commodities — April 2013
Ince & Co has published the April 2013 edition of its International Trade and Commodities Legal Update. It covers topics including sale of goods, shipping and commercial litigation.
Traditionally, English law does not recognise a general duty of good faith applicable to contracts (with certain limited exceptions, such as insurance contracts). Rather, the English courts recognise the right and freedom of commercial contracting parties to enter into an agreement on whatever terms they see fit and to prioritise their own self-interest (subject obviously to the usual constraints imposed by considerations of public policy, illegality etc.). This is so irrespective of whether or not the courts might otherwise consider that one or other party has made a bad bargain or compromised itself commercially by what it has agreed to. The overriding principle is that the English courts will not rewrite the parties’ contract for them. Therefore, where it is intended that one or both parties should perform any or all of their obligations under a contract in good faith, this should be provided for expressly in the contract…
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The reasons given for contract terminations are many and varied, but in each case the fundamental motivation is generally the same.
In The Astra, Mr Justice Popplewell has concluded that payment of hire by the charterers was not a condition of the charterparty.