Michael Wagener


Arbitration, Charterparties, Bill of Lading,
Ship Arrests in South Africa

+27 (0) 83-998-0091

The Value and Purpose of this Site

This is a compendium of cases on contracts relating to the carriage of goods by sea (cases on other topics slip in from time to time) – the cases are mainly English.

The value of legal advice is the accuracy of the prediction of outcomes.

The science of law is perhaps less exact than physical science, yet it is possible for skilled legal practitioners to advise clients on predictable outcomes. Judicial precedent is all important.
Contractual provisions are almost always considered in the context of existing decisions, some hundreds of years old.
The summaries posted here are designed to provide quick, easy access to the essential facts and principles of each case.

As legal science is fallible and develops organically, subscribers are encouraged to comment on the posts.

The summaries posted so far are, hopefully, fairly representative of key decisions to date. Fresh summaries are continually added as new cases are decided.

Subscribers are invited to point out omissions.
The author and editor is a South African lawyer, practising law since 1977.

Michael Wagener is an attorney based in Cape Town.

Michael's Biographical

Born in 1956 in Bloemfontein. Married to Maria. Six children and five grandchildren.

  • .Matriculated at Grey College, Bloemfontein in 1973 with distinctions in Latin and Science.
  • Graduated with a Baccalaureus Procurationis degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1977.
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of the Witwatersrand, 1981.
  • Master of Laws (Shipping Law) at the University of Cape Town, 2003

Served as a commissioned officer in the South African Defence Force from 1978 to 1979

  •  Worked as a Regional Court Prosecutor in Johannesburg, Randburg and Krugersdorp from 1980 to 1983.
  • Practised as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar from 1983 to 1989. Mainly criminal practice for the first few years, then labour law.
  • Practised as an advocate at the Cape Bar from 1989 to 1992. General Practice. Served as a Civil Magistrate at Cape Town from 1992 to 1999.
  • Worked as an attorney for Bowman Gilfillan from 1999 to 2017, labour law and general civil litigation.
  • South African Riding for the Disabled v Regional Land Claims Commissioner and others [2017] ZACC 4
  • Banda and another v Van der Spuy and another 2013 (4) SA 77 (SCA)
  • Bantry Construction Services (Pty) Ltd v Raydin Investments (Pty) Ltd 2009 (3) SA 533 (SCA)
  • Be Bop a Lula Manufacturing & Printing cc v Kingtex Marketing (Pty) Ltd 2008 (3) SA 327 (SCA)
  • Old Mutual Life Assurance Co SA Ltd v Gumbi 2007 (5) SA 552 (SCA)
  • Western Cape Southern Suburbs Real Estate (Pty) Ltd t/a Seeff Properties v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration & others (2009) 30 ILJ 2158 (LC)
  • Food & Allied Workers Union & another v the Cold Chain (2007) 28 ILJ 1593 (LC)
  • Fitschen and University of Cape Town (2007) 28 ILJ 2854 (CCMA)
  • SA Transport & Allied Workers Union on behalf of Finca v Old Mutual Life Assurance Co (SA) Ltd & another (2006) 27 ILJ 1204 (LC)
  • Botha v Italtile Centre (1992) 13 ILJ 661 (IC)
  • S v Mitchell and another [1992] 1 All SA 332 (A)
  • Commercial Catering & Allied Workers Union of SA v Pick ‘n Pay (Norwood) (1989) 10 ILJ 966 (ARB)
  • Transport & General Workers Union of SA v Ullmann Brothers (Pty) Ltd (1989) 10 ILJ 1154 (IC)
  • Moyo & others v Administrator of the Transvaal & another (1988) 9 ILJ 372 (W)
  • S v Mthembu and others 1988 (1) SA 145 (A)
  • Fundamental Breach – Has the baby gone out with the Bathwater – Tulane Maritime Journal, Volume 29 p 45
  • South African Maritime Law Update – Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Volume 37 p 403
  • South African Admiralty and its English Origins – Will it Jump or Must it be Pushed – Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Volume 36 p 61
  • Seafarers and Shipowners – Finding a Balance – Nature of Law (BG publication) 2005
  • Age Discrimination – a Note on Schweitzer v Waco Distributors (2006) 27
  • Industrial Law Journal 2031
  • South African Maritime Law Update – Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Volume 38 p 415
  • A Relative Concept – safe port/berth clauses – Maritime Risk International, September 2008
  • Legal Certainty and the Incorporation of Charter party Arbitration Clauses in Bills of Lading – Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Volume 40 p 115
  • South African Maritime Law Update – Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Volume 40 p 453
  • South African Maritime Law Update – Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Volume 41 p 385

    First prize, Charles Taylor Consulting Essay Competition, 2004, for the essay “The Use or Abuse of the Corporate Veil in Shipping”.

      Charter Party Casebook