Legal Updates

In an in rem claim to execute a maritime lien regarding a ship, the actual litigant is the ship’s owner

May 7, 2018

A German company filed an in rem claim to the Maritime Court against a ship that owed it money for the supply of fuel (the proceeding was filed in Israel because the ship was detained in the Ashdod Seaport). It should be noted that a Court in Germany held in a conclusive judgement that the owner of the ship (and not the ship itself) is not obliged to pay the company. What is the law?

The Supreme Court held that in order for a foreign judgment to be considered a Court Action, that blocks a proceeding in an Israeli Court, a double examination must be carried out: first, an examination whether the foreign judgement constitutes a Court Action in the foreign country it was given in will take place; Afterwards, a second examination should determine whether the foreign judgement constitutes a Court Action according to Israeli law. It was held that the right of maritime lien would be decided according to the matter itself. In the circumstances of the case, the company cooperated with the German proceeding and received a final judgment against it, which created an estoppel from filing a claim in Israel. In addition, it was held that absolute identity of parties is not a precondition for recognition of a foreign judgment.