CC settles with Russian clients for unpaid fees

Clifford Chance has settled a claim against a group of Russian shipping clients that had refused to pay their bills.

Shipowners Rimsco, KD Marine and R&S Navigation, alongside managing agents AL Maritime and Cloudfree Ship Management, had instructed Clifford Chance to act in a dispute between themselves and four fishery companies.
While Clifford Chance billed the five companies for the work, they only paid £202,245.29 of the total, leaving £205,432.04 outstanding.

The companies’ dispute was initially unresolved and headed for arbitration with a hearing scheduled for April last year.

However, with the companies’ principal witness suffering a serious illness, the hearing was adjourned two weeks before it was due to start. At that stage pleadings were advanced, disclosure had taken place and witness statements had been exchanged.

The disputes and arbitration were settled under an agreement last September.

Clifford Chance’s instruction was ended by the companies last July, but until then acted on their behalf on the dispute, the arbitration, sale of cargo and proceedings following the arrest of Rims co’s vessel.

While the firm intended to sue the Russian companies in the High Court and shipping partner Mark Morrison issued a claim form, a deal was struck before it reached that stage.