Decision ID: 003261

In June 1993, in the context of the general discussion concerning claims that had arisen in the context of the Haven, Aegean Sea and Braer incidents, the 1971 Fund Executive Committee addressed one type of claim which gave rise to special difficulties, namely claims relating to so-called “pure economic loss”. The Committee took note of the fact that there had been a great reluctance in most jurisdictions to recognise claims for pure economic loss, for fear of the far-reaching consequences that the acceptance of such claims would have. It was recognised that in most legal systems a claim for compensation was accepted only if it related to damage to a defined and recognised legal right (e.g. a right of property or a right of possession). The Committee recalled that the 1971 Fund had in previous cases agreed to compensate economic losses suffered by certain persons who depended directly on earnings from sea-related activities, namely fishermen and hoteliers, restaurateurs and shopkeepers at seaside resorts, even if the person concerned had not suffered any damage to property. It was noted that in the three incidents under consideration, some claims for compensation for pure economic loss related to activities which were less directly linked to the pollution than for example the economic loss suffered by fishermen. The Committee acknowledged that in respect of claims relating to pure economic loss it would in any event be necessary to assess for each individual claim the link between the contamination and the alleged loss. It was emphasised that there must be reasonable proximity between the contamination and the pure economic loss for the claim to be admissible. The Committee recognised that although the Fund was established to pay compensation to victims of oil pollution, it was important that the Fund should exercise a certain caution in accepting claims beyond those admissible under the general principles of law in Member States. The Committee also underlined that when the quantum of the alleged losses was assessed in respect of a particular claim, it had to be examined whether and to what extent the loss resulted from the oil pollution incident or was due to other factors.

Date: 31.05.1993
Categories: Admissibility Criteria and Claims Manuals, Pure economic loss (general)
Subjects: Consideration of claims admissibility criteria, Admissibility Criteria