A shipowner’s lien on cargo is a built-in remedy in charterparties to counter the charterer’s default. The so-called lien clause appears in all standard form charterparties granting the shipowner in express terms, security on cargo in respect of unpaid freight or hire and other amounts due. Whether this is an “absolute” contractual right; or alternatively, an implied obligation requiring the shipowner to exercise his lien reasonably, is the central theme of this chapter. Implied clauses requiring the shipowner to act in a reasonable manner only provide “piecemeal” solutions. This chapter probes in the legal notions of reasonableness and good faith in respect of their applications to lien clauses, and also the phenomenon of contractual discretions to determine the present state of English law. The corresponding legal issues are examined in the context of Chinese law including relevant cases showing that reasonable responsibility is imposed on the shipowner under Chinese law. The chapter is an exposé on the different approaches to dealing with the same legal issue under the two legal regimes.
|Series||WMU Studies in Maritime Affairs|