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Arrestment of ships law changed

2 July 2010

Scots law on the arrestment of ships and cargo has changed with the coming into force of new provisions on 1 July 2010.

Part 14 of and schedule 4 to the Bankruptcy and Diligence (etc) Scotland Act 2007 ("the 2007 Act") have been brought into force. Among other provisions:

  • The jurisdictional limits of the sheriff when granting a warrant to arrest are set out, allowing for the warrant to be executed anywhere in Scotland.
  • Arrestment on the dependence will only be competent where the defender owns the ship (or a share), or is the demise charterer, when the arrestment is executed.
  • The courts will have power to award, modify or refuse expenses of an admiralty action, the defender being entitled to expenses in opposing the action where the creditor is found to be unreasonable in applying for the arrest warrant.
  • Cargo will be subject to arrestment while on board the ship (on dry land it would be subject to attachment), and arrestment of cargo may take place even when the cargo is in the debtor's hands.
  • Arrestment may take place anywhere within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, even if the ship is brought onto land. A ship or cargo may not be arrested while on passage.

The instrument bringing in the changes is SSI 2010/249.

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