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Aston FFI (Suisse) SA v. Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse SA [2015] EWHC 80 (Comm)

In this appeal on questions of law against a GAFTA Appeal Award, the Court considered whether “inspection final” provisions in a contract of sale amounted to an exclusive code for determining the quality and condition of the goods.  The Judge was prepared to assume that the decisions in Agro-Export v. NV Goorden [1956] 1 Lloyd’s Rep.319, W N Lindsay & Co Ltd v. European Grain & Shipping Agency Ltd [1963] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 437 and Charles E Ford Ltd v. AFEC Inc [1986] 2 Lloyd’s Rep.307 supported the general proposition that where a contract prescribes a mandatory procedure for inspection of the goods and also provides, in effect, that the results of such inspection as contained in an inspection are “final” as the quality of the goods, then the buyer can only reject the goods by relying on a contractually compliant certificate demonstrating a relevant and sufficient disconformity of the goods.  However, he did not consider that the terms of the particular contract under consideration had this effect.

Michael Collett QC acted for the defendant (instructed by Reed Smith LLP)

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