For Practitioners

2016 Insuance of property arrested under the Admiralty Act 1988

The Federal Court with insurance brokers, Arthur J Gallagher has arranged the renewal of the Admiralty Marshals' insurance cover for liabilities arising out of the arrest of vessels. The policy is underwritten by Lloyds’ underwriters.

The policy also covers State and Territory Sheriffs for arrests carried out in their jurisdictions.

The re-negotiated cover is for the period 1 January 2016 to 1 January 2017 at 4pm (Western Standard Time Australia). 

The Court’s brokers were successful in negotiating a reduction in rates and premiums for vessels arrested with a value of up to $5 million (the discount range is between 15% to 22%). This has been achieved through increasing only the premium for vessels with a value in excess of $50 million by 1.5%. The rates and premiums otherwise remain unchanged from last year.

To assist practitioners in understanding the potential insurance cost of an arrest, the attached table has been prepared providing some examples of premiums under the Marshals' insurance policy. This is a guide only and practitioners should contact their local Marshal or Registrar if they require further information about Marshals' insurance. A copy of the table will be published on the Court's website.


2013 Admiralty Amendment Rules 2013

The statutory instrument Admiralty Amendment Rules 2013 (SLI 206) was made on 5 August 2013 and commenced on 7 August 2013.  See also Explantory Statement  Adm Amd Rules 2013.

2012 Recent Cases

The categories of general maritime claims under s 4(3) of the Admiralty Act 1988 (Cth) look exhaustive, but in this case a claim with respect to a judgment sum arising out of a freight forward swap agreement did not fall within one: Transfield ER Futures Ltd v The Ship “Giovanna Iuliano” [2012] FCA 548.

Does s 11 of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1991 (Cth) strike down a foreign arbitration clause in a voyage charterparty?  For “yes” see Jebsens International (Australia) Pty Ltd v Interfert Australia Pty Ltd [2012] SASC 50.  For “no” see D. Norden A/S v Beach Building & Civil Group Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 696.

The time limitations in s 37 of the Admiralty Act 1988 (Cth) are not an easy read.  For a recent consideration of this section see Geraldton Port Authority v The Ship “Kim Heng 1888” (No 2) [201] FCA 353.

2012 Proposed Amendments to Admiralty Rules 1988 (Cth)

The Admiralty Rules Committee is considering changes to the Rules.  A copy of the proposed changes was emailed to members on 25 June 2012.  MLAANZ intends to make a submission; please send any comments to Terri Bell by 13 July 2012.


We congratulate Sarah Derrington upon being appointed a director of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in late May 2012 and upon being appointed a director of the Australian Maritime College on 29 June 2012.

February 2011

Federal Court of Australia Guidelines for Offshore Arrests

23 December 2009: New versions of Practice Note CM 9 – Freezing Orders and Practice Note CM 11 – Search Orders

The Chief Justice has issued new versions of:
Practice Note CM 9 – Freezing Orders
Practice Note CM 11 – Search Orders.

The practice notes will commence on 1 January 2010.

The new practice notes adopt changes recommended by the Council of Chief Justices’ Harmonised Search Orders and Freezing Orders Committee. These changes are consequential upon the introduction of s128A of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth), Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) and the Evidence Act 2008 (Vic). Section 128A provides that the privilege against self-incrimination under s128 of the Act applies to disclosure orders in civil proceedings in connection with a freezing or search order. In particular, changes have been made to:
• paragraph 14 of Practice Note CM 9 and paragraph 9 of the example form of Freezing Order attached to it; and
• paragraph 22 of Practice Note CM 11 and paragraphs 21 and 24 of the example form of Search Order attached to it.

A copy of each Practice Note is available from the Federal Court’s web site at

8 December 2009: Practice Note ARB 1 - Proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1974

The Chief Justice has issued Practice Note ARB 1 - Proceedings under the International Arbitration Act 1974.

On 7 December 2009 the International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth) (‘the Act’) was amended to give the Court jurisdiction in relation to:

(a)  the enforcement of a foreign award under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

(b)  applications under article 6 of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (‘Model Law’) for orders concerning:

(i)   the appointment and termination of an arbitrator (articles 11 and 14 of the Model Law)
(ii)  challenges against an arbitrator on the basis that the arbitrator lacks impartiality or independence or the necessary qualifications (article 13)
(iii)  whether an arbitral tribunal has jurisdiction to deal with the issues before the tribunal (article 16)
(iv)  the setting aside of an arbitral award (article 34)

(c)     the enforcement of an award under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States.

The Court also has jurisdiction under the Act to deal with applications for an order to stay a proceeding or part of a proceeding that is before the Court and which involves the determination of a matter that is capable of settlement by arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement between the parties.

The Practice Note sets out the arrangements for proceedings before the Court in which orders are sought under the Act.  These arrangements include the appointment in each registry of an Arbitration Coordinating Judge who has general responsibility for the management of matters under the Act.

A copy of the Practice Note and the list of Arbitration Coordinating Judges is available from the Federal Court’s web site.




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