BIMCO has decided to start labelling all versions of its standard clauses with the year of publication, including the original edition, with the aim to reduce disputes over which version parties have agreed to.
Today, BIMCO does not state the year of publication in the title when publishing a standard clause. The year of publication is added to the title only if the clause is revised, to distinguish it from the original or previous version.
Disputes have occurred because parties have disagreed about whether the reference to a particular clause meant the original version, the version current at the time the contract was agreed or the most recently published version of the clause - which may have been produced after the contract was agreed.
Since BIMCO’s standard clauses are occasionally added to contracts by reference without including the full text, such as “as per the latest edition of BIMCO’s Law and Arbitration Clause”, BIMCO is now changing its way of labelling its standard clauses, including all existing clauses.
From now on, BIMCO will label all versions of our clauses with the year of publication, including the original edition. An example is BIMCO’s two Hull Fouling Clauses for Time Charter Parties: the first version from 2013, which does not state the year of publication in the title, and the revised version produced in 2019, which does include the year in the title. These clauses are now labelled “Hull Fouling Clause for Time Charter Parties 2013” and “Hull Fouling Clause for Time Charter Parties 2019” respectively.
BIMCO strongly recommends that users of our standard clauses adopt the new labelling policy when incorporating our clauses into charter parties and other agreements. In case of questions regarding the correct labelling of a BIMCO standard clause, please consult the clauses section of the BIMCO website.
While the new policy is unlikely to resolve all disagreements about which BIMCO clause the parties intended to apply, it should reduce the number and likelihood of such disputes in the future.