Recreational crafts, Competent courts and (non-) limitation of liability

A recent Supreme Court Judgment dated on the 28th of June 2017 has confirmed previous decisions in matters relating to recreational crafts and civil liability insurance, namely:

  • Competent courts: civil and not mercantile courts are competent to decide on claims filed against the owner and civil liability insurer of recreational craft.
    This is so because the mandatory civil liability insurance for recreational craft is regulated by the Spanish Insurance Act and not by maritime or transport law.
  • Limitation of liability: The Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 does not apply to recreational crafts. Only vessels operated in the course of a business activity can benefit from the limitation of liability provided for in the Convention.

The Supreme Court had already decided on a similar case in 2015 (claim against owner and civil liability insurer for damages caused to several yachts as a result of a fire originating in another recreational yatch while berthed in port). For further details on the reasonings of the Supreme Court on the above and other issues please see our article dated on the 18th of August of 2016, “Recreational crafts. Relevant judgment of the Spanish Supreme Court”