About the event

The TC Beirne School of Law and the Federal Court of Australia, invite you to the 2022 Richard Cooper Memorial Lecture presented by Gregory Nell SC. The lecture will be held in person in Brisbane's CBD while simultaneously live-streamed for those out of state. 

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Event Topic: 'Protecting a shipowner against the consequences of arrest: is it time for a change?'

Subject to compliance with the provisions of Part III of the Admiralty Act 1988 (Cth), a ship may be arrested in Australia in respect of a “maritime claim” ex parte as of right, with the plaintiff not having to provide any undertaking as to damages and only being bound by a limited duty of disclosure. Even if the plaintiff’s substantive claim is unsuccessful, the circumstances in which a shipowner may recover compensation for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of the arrest of its ship are constrained. This is especially compared to the position of a person affected by a freezing order.

In England, an attempt to challenge this orthodox position was firmly rejected by the Court of Appeal in the “Alkyon” [2019] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 406. Despite some criticisms of that judgment, there have been no further attempts to reform the orthodox position in England, at least via litigation. To date, the issues raised in the “Alkyon” have not been the subject of judicial consideration in Australia.

This Address looks at whether the reforms of the type proposed but rejected in the “Alkyon” should be considered in Australia (especially in light of the reasoning of the Court of Appeal), and if so how such reforms might be introduced here.

About the speaker 

“One of the most prominent shipping practitioners in the region” (Who’s Who Legal Shipping (2020)

Gregory Nell SC has been practicing at the New South Wales Bar since 1991, predominantly in the area of Admiralty and Maritime Law. 

He graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in December 1983.

From 1984 to 1987, he was employed with Norton Smith & Co, solicitors in Sydney.

From 1987 to 1989 he was employed by London shipping lawyers Hill Dickinson, during which time he will admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England.

Upon returning to Australia, Gregory briefly resumed employment as a senior associate in the shipping department of Norton Smith & Co., before being called to the Bar in August 1991.

Gregory graduated with a Master of Laws from Sydney University in 2000 and was appointed Senior Counsel in October 2006.

Since his admission to the Bar, Gregory has appeared in many of the leading cases on admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.

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About Richard Cooper Memorial Lecture Series

Justice Richard Cooper
Justice Richard Cooper

The Richard Cooper Memorial Lecture is a joint initiative of the TC Beirne School of Law and the Federal Court of Australia. The series was established in 2005 in honour of the late Justice Richard Cooper of the Federal Court of Australia, who passed away suddenly on 14 March 2005. It is dedicated to the strong interests in maritime and native title law which he developed over the course of a long and distinguished legal career.

Find out more about the Richard Cooper Scholarship 



Federal Court, Court 1, Level 7 Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts 119 North Quay, Brisbane