eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, Vol 16, No 1 (2009)

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Should Australian Courts Accept or Refuse the Aid of Private International Law When Considering Whether to Enforce Foreign Maritime Liens?

John Lane


This purpose of this essay is twofold.  First, it seeks to clarify what exactly a maritime lien is.  It does this by examining the history of maritime liens and the rationale behind them.  Second, it compares  the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Todd Shipyards Corporation v Altema Compania Maritima SA (‘The Ioannis Daskalelis’)  and the Privy Council’s decision in Bankers Trust International Ltd v Todd Shipyards Corporation (‘The Halcyon Isle’).   Both decisions would undoubtedly influence the High Court should the Court grant special leave to a case concerning the recognition and enforcement of foreign maritime liens.  After examining the state of the law in Australia, the essay concludes that – although a new international convention on maritime liens that had the popular support of the world’s littoral states would be ideal – the High Court should follow the Supreme Court of Canada rather than the Privy Council.

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