Civil Liability Act 1961

Maritime cases.


46.—(1) (a) Where, by the fault of two or more vessels, damage is caused to one or more of those vessels or to another vessel or to the cargo of any of those vessels or any property on board, and an action is brought for such damage, the liability of each vessel in respect of such damage shall be in proportion to the degree in which such vessel was in fault and accordingly there shall be no right of contribution in respect of such apportioned liability: provided that—

(i) if, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is not possible to establish different degrees of fault, the liability shall be apportioned equally among the vessels in fault;

(ii) nothing in this subsection shall affect the liability of any person under a contract of carriage or any contract, or shall be construed as imposing any liability upon any person from which he is exempted by any contract or by any provision of law, or as affecting the right of any person to limit his liability in the manner provided by law.

(b) For the purposes of paragraph (a) of this subsection the liability of a vessel for damage shall mean the liability of those responsible for the proper navigation and management of the vessel.

(c) Paragraph (a) of this subsection shall not apply to a claim for loss of life or personal injuries.

(2) Where, by the sole or concurrent fault of a vessel damage is caused to that or another vessel or to the cargo or any property on board either vessel, or loss of life or personal injury is suffered by any person on board either vessel, then, subject to subsection (3) of this section, no action shall be maintainable to enforce a claim for damages or lien in respect of such damage, loss of life or injury unless proceedings are commenced within two years from the date when such damage, loss of life or injury was caused; and an action shall not be maintainable to enforce any claim for contribution in respect of an overpaid proportion of any damages for loss of life or personal injuries unless proceedings are commenced within one year from the date of payment.

(3) Any court having jurisdiction to deal with an action to which subsection (2) of this section relates may, subject to any rules of court, extend the period referred to in that subsection to such extent and subject to such conditions as it thinks fit, and shall, if satisfied that there has not during such period been any reasonable opportunity of arresting the defendant vessel within the jurisdiction of the court or within the territorial waters of the country to which the plaintiff’s vessel belongs or in which the plaintiff resides or has his principal place of business, extend any such period to an extent sufficient to give such reasonable opportunity.

(4) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) of this section, references to damage caused by the fault of a vessel shall be construed as including references to any salvage or other expenses, consequent upon that fault, recoverable at law by way of damages and such expenses shall be deemed to be a damage caused when they are incurred.

(5) The provisions of this section shall be applied in all cases heard and determined in any court having jurisdiction to deal with the case and in whatever waters the damage in question was caused or the salvage services or other expenses in question were rendered or incurred.

(6) This section shall be construed as one with the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1952.


Modifications (not altering text):


Application of section not restricted (1.03.1994) by Merchant Shipping (Salvage and Wreck) Act 1993 (34/1993), s. 36, S.I. No. 32 of 1994.

Limitation of certain actions.

36.(1) No action shall be maintainable to enforce a claim relating to payment under this Part if arbitral or judicial proceedings have not been duly instituted within the appropriate period.

(2) This section shall not apply in cases to which section 46 of the Civil Liability Act, 1961, applies.