Now more than ever, those of us promoting the virtues of English law in commercial shipping and trading contracts need to remember the flexibility, pragmatism and consistency of approach which is its real strength. 

The idea that sophisticated commercial entities should, with very few exceptions, be able to contract on whatever terms they like ("freedom of contract") is one of the great hallmarks of English commercial law. 

It encourages parties to do business without interference, acting as an engine for economic growth at a time when it is needed most. There will always be disputes in shipping, but the English Courts' regular restatement of the principle of freedom of contract is to be welcomed.