HPP Attorneys Ltd updates

Helsinki Appeal Court on carrier's liability for loss of pharmaceuticals
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • December 06 2017

Correct temperature is vital to maintaining the feasibility and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals throughout their lifecycle, including during carriage. Although various guidelines have been issued and express provisions have been included in transport agreements to maintain the cold chain, damage often occurs. The Helsinki Appeal Court recently considered whether the level of a carrier's liability should be agreed in advance and whether failure to maintain an agreed temperature should constitute gross negligence.

Taxi licence required for driving Uber passengers
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • September 27 2017

The Supreme Court recently issued a much-awaited decision and upheld a Court of Appeal decision involving Uber passenger rides. The Supreme Court ruled that to provide an Uber service a driver must have a taxi licence. It found a driver who had driven Uber passengers without such a licence guilty and imposed a €2,100 fine.

Supreme Court considers division of jurisdiction between maritime and general courts
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • August 16 2017

The Supreme Court recently found that the Maritime Code should have been applied in a personal injury case and that the Espoo District Court (as a general court) did not have subject-matter jurisdiction over the claim. The Supreme Court found that when determining which court has subject-matter jurisdiction, it is necessary to first investigate whether the provisions of the Maritime Code become applicable.

Supreme Administrative Court on reduced fairway dues when carrying empty containers
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • April 12 2017

In a recent case, the Supreme Administrative Court considered whether empty containers owned by those other than shipowners or charterers should be regarded as cargo in the meaning of Section 11 of the Fairway Dues Act, because 'cargo' is not defined in the act. In addition, the court considered the effect of the customs instructions in this matter.

Parliament considers first phase of Transport Code
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • February 08 2017

The Transport Code is one of the government's chief initiatives. Its main purpose is to create a growth environment for business digitalisation and to promote transport business by deregulation. The code will reform the regulation of all transport modes, so that the regulation itself will not become an obstacle to digitalisation, automation and new innovations. Due to the code's broad scope, its preparation has been divided into three phases. The first phase focuses mainly on road transport.

Amendment of restructuring programme – unclear and unknown debts
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • Finland
  • December 23 2016

A court-approved restructuring programme can be amended only if the preconditions of the Restructuring of Enterprises Act are met. Generally, the contents of an approved programme may be amended with the acceptance of all the creditors whose rights would be violated by an amendment. However, the precondition of the debtors' acceptance is problematic when the amount of a restructuring debt is determined to be substantially more than that originally entered into the restructuring programme.

Ship carrying no cargo entitled to loading capacity reduction of fairway dues
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • November 16 2016

According to the Fairway Dues Act, the amount of fairway dues will be reduced if a ship is not fully loaded according to the particular loading capacity utilisation rate, which is calculated by comparing the combined total of cargo imported into and exported out of Finland. The Supreme Administrative Court recently ruled that a ship with no cargo onboard is entitled to the loading capacity reduction.

Parliament approves controversial bill abandoning national road cabotage regulations
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • July 06 2016

Following pressure from the European Commission to implement EU cabotage rules fully, Parliament is dealing with a bill amending the Act on Commercial Transport of Goods on the Road. There was some parliamentary opposition to the bill, but in the second reading the controversial bill was approved. However, the commission has decided to refer Finland to the European Court of Justice for failing to apply the cabotage rules properly.

Bankruptcy estate's liability for maintenance charges
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • Finland
  • May 27 2016

The Supreme Court recently set a precedent regarding the liabilities of a bankruptcy estate in a case that concerned maintenance charges of a limited liability golf company. The legal question subject to the precedent was whether the maintenance charge receivables of the golf company in connection with the golf company's shares were liabilities of the bankruptcy estate.

Government forced to relax national road cabotage regulations
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • May 04 2016

Finland implemented early the cabotage regulations set out in the EU legislative package on road transport. However, the Finnish cabotage restrictions were stricter than those of the regulation, and the European Commission asked Finland to amend its legislation to comply with EU law. The Finnish government has now proposed a bill amending the Act on Commercial Transport of Goods on the Road.

Icebreaking services agreement with Russia comes into force
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • February 10 2016

Traffic to the Russian ports on the Baltic Sea has increased greatly over the last few years; as a result, Russia's icebreaking capacity can no longer meet demand in severe winter conditions. In 2011 Russia proposed a treaty with Finland to promote cooperation in icebreaking assistance in the Baltic Sea, which finally came into force this year. Finnish icebreakers may now operate in Russian territorial waters and vice versa.

Validity of retention of title in bankruptcy
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • Finland
  • October 30 2015

Retention of title can be based on either a separate condition in a sales agreement or a specific agreement referred to in the Hire-Purchase Act. A retention of title clause may be used to ensure the seller's rights in circumstances where the seller has no other form of security against the buyer's insolvency. However, it should be drafted carefully to ensure that it remains effective in the event of the buyer's bankruptcy.

Labour Court overrules stevedores' effort to take over container bar lashing
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • October 07 2015

For several years the Transport Workers' Union (AKT) has claimed that the lashing and unlashing of bars on container ships in Finnish ports should be performed by its own stevedores. Most recently, AKT started directly boycotting selected shipping companies, insisting that they contract out their lashing work to port operators. The case came before the Labour Court, which found that AKT had violated the industrial peace.

Amendments to Fairway Dues Act
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • July 01 2015

The Fairway Dues Act has recently been amended. The act's scope of application has been updated to release icebreakers that provide services to the Finnish Transport Agency in Finnish territorial waters from the obligation to pay fairway dues. The act also includes a new section about the effect of the lack of ice-class certificates or outdated ice-class certificates.

Court finds pilferage took place during carrier's liability period
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • March 25 2015

In a recent case, a shipper stowed, loaded and sealed a container, but when it was opened at the final destination, it was observed that one-third of the declared goods had disappeared. Closed-circuit television footage was unable to show whether the container had been sealed at the loading port's gate. The appeal court found that the pilferage had taken place during the carrier's liability period.

Security value of floating charge in restructuring – recent precedents
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • Finland
  • February 27 2015

The Supreme Court recently issued two precedent rulings on how the value of assets that are subject to a floating charge should be determined in restructuring proceedings, holding that the assets were to be valued at their liquidation value. The rulings are expected to have an impact on the stance of financial institutions towards floating charges and their valuation.

Fishing vessel's duty to participate in Gulf of Finland Reporting System
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • February 18 2015

In a recent case, two trawlers were moving against the recommended general direction and had not reported to the traffic centre. An approaching merchant vessel changed its course to avoid a collision but hit one of the trawlers. The prosecutor brought charges against the trawler masters. The Helsinki Maritime Court found that the trawlers had no duty to report to the traffic centre. The request to report was a recommendation only.

Port entitled to VAT exemption
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • January 28 2015

A recent case before the Supreme Administrative Court concerned whether a port had to pay value added tax on the supply of services and water when they were not charged directly from the shipping company. As the services and water were not used by the agent and the vessels were in commercial international traffic, the court found that extending the sales exemption did not conflict with the correct application of the law.

Is annual variation in ice conditions justified reason for fixed employment terms?
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • December 03 2014

The Helsinki Appeal Court recently rendered a judgment regarding when a seafarer's employment contract can be made for a fixed term. Pursuant to the Seafarers' Employment Contracts Act, an employment contract is valid indefinitely unless it has been made for a specific fixed term for a justified reason. Contracts made for a fixed term on the employer's initiative without a justified reason will be considered valid indefinitely.

Appeal court rules on right to terminate contract of carriage
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Finland
  • November 19 2014

A gas producer and carrier entered into two standard form contracts of carriage for gas products. The gas supplier terminated the contracts due to several alleged contractual breaches. The courts found that the gas producer's allegations were unjustified and held that most of the alleged breaches were caused by the fact that the gas producer had not provided the drivers with the necessary training.

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