James is a Partner and Head of the Dispute Resolution team and primarily handles commercial…View Profile View all
Head of Schofield Sweeney’s litigation team, James Staton, recently appeared before the Chambre Arbitrale Internationale de Paris to represent a Bradford based company in a dispute with a Swiss company about the sale of skins destined for a Turkish tannery.
James represented the respondent in a claim being brought by the Swiss company relating to the sale of skins under the terms of the International Contract No. 6 – Hides & Skins. The dispute resolution provisions of the contract provided for arbitration in Paris.
The dispute related an allegation that a significant proportion of the skins were defective by reason of a condition known as hairslip. That was disputed by James’ client and its position was subsequently (post issue of the proceedings) vindicated by an inspection in Turkey at which it was established that the condition affected only a miniscule 0.125% of the skins and not the 20% claimed. The respondent argued that the alleged quality issue was manufactured in an effort to avoid a contract when there had been a big fall in the price of skins on the international market thus making it a bad bargain for the Turkish end user. Having been left with several container loads of skins which the buyer had not taken up the respondent sold the remaining skins and deducted the loss on the resale from a deposit of $50,000 which it held. That course of action was disputed by the buyer and led to the arbitration proceedings in which the return of the deposit, loss of profit, reputational damage and costs were all claimed.
The proceedings and the hearing were in English. The result is awaited. The Arbitrator initially was to deliver his judgement by 31 October, but like Brexit there has been an extension of time; the Tribunal allowing the until him until the 29 November to make his award. The hearing in Paris was relatively informal; throughout the hearing the Arbitrator, an expert in the hide trade, had a silk scarf draped around his neck.
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