Title

The Application of the Morton Principles in Canada Steamship Lines Ltd v The King in Singapore Reconsidered

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

6-2016

Abstract

For the interpretation of clauses that purportto allow a contracting party, the proferens, to exclude or limit, or beindemnified against, liability that arises by reason of his or his agents’negligence, certain principles were laid down by the Privy Council in 1952 inCanada Steamship Lines Ltd v The King. Famously known as the ‘Mortonprinciples’ (named after Lord Morton who delivered the judgment of the PrivyCouncil) or the ‘Canada SS rules’ or guidelines, they prescribe a three-steptest to determine if these clauses effectively provide the protection sought bythe proferens. In Singapore, the Court of Appeal in Marina Centre Holdings PteLtd v Pars Carpet Gallery Pte Ltd elucidated the application of the principles.Two subsequent High Court decisions, however, did not appear to have appliedthe principles in like manner or with clarity. This article attempts to providea clearer understanding of how the Morton principles operate and to considertheir continued utility in Singapore. The writer concludes that while theprinciples serve a purpose in light of gaps in the UCTA, complexity inapplication would require judicial clarity and precision for their coherentuse, which itself presents a challenge. Additional problems, including theinability of the Morton principles to adequately fill the gaps in the UCTA, maymake reform attractive as a practical way forward. Obstacles to reform maymean, however, that it is premature to discard the Morton principles for now.

Keywords

morton principles, canada steamship, canada ss, marina centre, cst cleaning, jurong port, negligence liability, exclusion clauses, limitation of liability, indemnity clauses, contra proferentem, contextual interpretation

Discipline

Asian Studies | Commercial Law

Research Areas

Commercial Law

Publication

Australian Journal of Asian Law

Volume

17

Issue

1

First Page

1

Last Page

20

ISSN

1443-0738

Copyright Owner and License

Australian Journal of Asian Law

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