Book Review - COLLISIONS AT SEA VOLUME 1: LIABILITY AND THE COLLISION REGULATIONS By Harry Hirst

Citation(2020) 32 SAcLJ 1253
AuthorEugene CHENG Jiankai LLB (Hons) (National University of Singapore); Advocate and Solicitor (Singapore).
Date01 December 2020
Publication Date01 December 2020

1 The task of determining the apportionment of liability for a collision at sea can be daunting. Apart from marshalling a wide array of evidence ranging from electronic data to expert's reports, one must also navigate the intricacies of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 19722 (“the Collision Regulations”) and its relevant case law, all of which encompass a unique set of underlying principles. Hence, the maritime industry would find it welcoming to have a book which not just sets out the law in relation to collisions but also sets out a comprehensible framework for the reader to understand how collision liability is apportioned. Collisions at Sea Volume 1: Liability and the Collision Regulations (“the Book”) is one such book.

2 The Book's author has planned for two volumes. The first, with which this review is concerned, sets out the basis of apportionment of liability and examines the various rules and corresponding scenarios under the Collision Regulations. It ends off with a suggested practical approach of how liability should be apportioned. The second volume, which has not been published, examines reported collision cases which are grouped according to particular scenarios and rules of the Collision Regulations.

3 In this first volume, the Book goes beyond a mere compilation of the latest state of the law in relation to collision liability. The Book's chapters are structured in a manner that allows the reader to understand and appreciate how the apportionment of liability works. For example, the Book begins with two very important introductory chapters. The first chapter looks at how liability in a collision is determined and apportioned. In particular, important concepts like the degree of fault and causative potency are explained with examples from case law. Such concepts are

easy to follow because the key principles are worded concisely, and they are immediately substantiated with quotes and holdings from the relevant cases. This allows for a swift reading of the introductory chapters which sufficiently immerses the reader with a requisite understanding of how collision liability is apportioned before the reader embarks on the other chapters of the Book.

4 Moving on to the second chapter, the Book explains the purpose and structure of the Collision Regulations. In particular, this chapter assists the reader with the familiarisation of the Collison Regulations by categorising the rules therein into “navigating...

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