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The Mihalis Angelos [1970] 3 WLR 601

The owners of the ship, The Mihalis Angelos, chartered the ship to the defendant to use for the carriage of some cargo. A clause in the agreement stated the ship was expected ready to load on 1st July. In fact the owners had no grounds for believing the ship would be ready to load on that date as it was in Hong Kong at the time and would not be ready until at least the 14th of July and in fact it was not ready at that date. The defendant cancelled the contract on 17th of July. The cargo that they expected to be carrying had not arrived due to the bombing of a railway in Vietnam. The ship owners brought an action against the defendants for anticipatory breach. The defendants argued that the claimant was in breach of condition of the contract by not be ready to load on the specified date.

Held:

The expected ready to load clause was a condition despite the fact it had caused no loss to the defendant. The classification as a condition was said to be because of the need for commercial certainty in shipping contracts.