On 1 July 2015, the Commercial Court (Flaux J) handed down judgment and set aside an arbitral award made in favour of a Cypriot shipowner (Premier Maritime) in a claim against a subsidiary of the major Greek energy group, Hellenic Petroleum. The arbitration had concerned Premier’s claim for damages for alleged repudiation of a long-term charterparty of an LPG tanker. Hellenic’s successful challenge to the arbitral award, under s.67 of the Arbitration Act 1996, involved a complete re-hearing of the evidence, the decision confirming the principle that, where an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction is challenged, the Court will hear the evidence afresh and is not bound in any sense by the arbitrator’s decision, either on the facts or as to the law.

Ben Valentin acted for Hellenic (instructed by Nathan Searle of Hogan Lovells International LLP).