UK: Clyde & Co In Landmark Victory For Sea Shepherd UK
Last Updated: 1 April 2015

Clyde & Co has successfully represented Sea Shepherd UK over claims that they helped facilitate an attack on a fishing boat belonging to Fish & Fish Ltd, in a campaign against illegal fishing.

Clyde & Co represented Sea Shepherd UK and two US-based defendants (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Mr Paul Watson) for their alleged involvement in an incident in June 2010. Fish & Fish Ltd (claimant) were transporting live Bluefin Tuna in the Mediterranean Sea when divers entered the water and cut cages, freeing the fish (in a campaign against illegal fishing 'Operation Blue Rage'). There was a trial of a preliminary issue as to whether Sea Shepherd UK was liable for the acts of those involved in the incident, on the basis of Paul Watson's role as both Master of the vessel and also director of SSUK, SSUK's legal ownership of the vessel, and being joint tortfeasors pursuant to the doctrine of common design. The defendants were sued for the value of the tuna.

"Partner Michelle Crorie led the matter and commented that the decision came after years of hard work from the Clyde & Co team: The case was extremely hard fought, with a great deal of emotional investment on both sides. Receiving leave to appear before the Supreme Court is a rare opportunity in a lawyer's legal career and we are particularly pleased to have emerged triumphant. This achievement is a testament to the team's careful attention to detail, tenacity and outstanding strategic thinking, which ultimately delivered Sea Shepherd UK the much hoped for win.

In a majority of three to two the Supreme Court found that SSUK was not liable as joint tortfeasor, and that the role they played in the event was of "minimal importance".

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