Following is a commentary on the important Prestige Decision of January 2, 2008 on pollution with reference to where it can be found on my website as well as the decision.
RCNC 145 Bill Tetley
Re: The Prestige – An important international court decision
Readers will find the updated English and French versions of my case commentary available on my website at:
The January 2, 2008 decision of the Prestige, for its part, is also available on my website at:
The M/T Prestige:”Pollution off French and
A number of years ago, I was asked by the
ABS had classified the Motor/Tanker (M/T Prestige) as designed and built in accordance with its rules and had declared on a periodic basis that the ship had remained in compliance with these rules. In November 2002, on its ill-fated voyage from
After studying innumerable pleadings and documents, I finally came up with defences and went to New York and discussed the facts to be relied on and the law to be pleaded with three lawyers – Messrs. Steven A. Hammond and Jeffrey Coleman of HH&R and John E. Grimmer of John Grimmer & Assoc. (Messrs Hammond, Coleman and Grimmer) .
Eventually multitudinous proceedings including my affidavits and of experts, engaged from Europe were fyled in
The other side also had a very large, very competent team in
Throughout, I emphasized the truism (often forgotten or unknown) which I had learned in practise, (1952 – 70), with the Montreal law firm of Martineau Walker, that to win any case, one had to allege and prove three factors: 1) that the facts were on our side; 2) that the law was on our side, and 3) that a judgment in our favour would be socially acceptable and morally proper in the circumstances of the case.
On January 2, 2008 a very reasoned, summary judgment was rendered in
The Moral Of It All: When a legal team pulls together with hard work and imagination, it has its best chance of success. I also believe that the judge was courageous and made the right decision.
Despite all the foregoing blather, may I say I also learned years ago at Martineau Walker, that in a lifetime, you only win 50% percent of the cases tried in court, which is exactly what my record is. I am grateful, however, that this last case was the biggest of all.
The other side is no doubt considering going to appeal !!!
Thank you for having read this far. The decision (5 double pages) is readily available on my website at
Prof. William Tetley, C.M., Q.C.
McGill Law Faculty
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