Universe Tankships Inc of Monrovia v International Transport Workers Federation Case Summary
Universe Tankships Inc of Monrovia v International Transport Workers Federation Case Citation  2 All ER 67
The International Transport Workers’ Federation black listed a Universe Tankship Inc. ship in the context of a trade dispute. To secure the release of the ship, Universe Tankships Inc. paid $6,480 into ITWF’s welfare fund.
ITWF admitted this was an agreement procured by duress, but it argued its actions were protected by immunity from tort in Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 s 13.
Had the new contracts been signed under duress.
Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 s 13(1) and 29(1)
Application of economic duress protected under immunity
The money had been extracted under economic duress and could be recovered. The House of Lords held that earlier case law had been wrong to look at coercion of the will so as to vitiate consent.
During an analogy with the defence in criminal law where it is recognised that a defendant acting under duress has the intention to commit the offence but is excused from the crime because they had no choice but to submit.
- Compulsion of will or absence of choice – the court observed that the aggrieved party was out of alternatives and this resulted in entering the agreement unwillingly. Hence, Universe Tankships Inc. were out of choice or alternatives in order to get their ship back. So they made an unwillingful decision to enter ointo the agreement i.e, to pay in for the welfare fund of International Transaport Workers Federation in order to get their their ship back which was blacklisted.
- Illegitimate pressure– The illegimate pressure applied by International Transaport Workers Federation on Universe Rankships Inc. can be analysed by stating the former’s power and authority over the latter. Not only this, International Transport Workers Federation also used its status and position to pressurize Universe Tank ships Inc. to pay in for their welfare fund in order to let go the latter’s ship.
Current day significance
In Puri Construction P. Ltd. and, Ors. v. Larsen and Toubro Ltd. and, Ors. it was seen that the premise of coercion doesn’t just rely on the nonappearance of assent, however on the mix of pressing factor and nonattendance of useful decision. In this specific circumstance, two inquiries become immensely significant. The first is whether the pressing factor or danger is authentic; and besides, its impact on the person in question.
In DSND Subsea v. petroleum Geo Services it was seen that the courts should consider a scope of variables in deciding if there has been ill-conceived pressure or excluding whether there has been a real or undermined break of agreement; regardless of whether the individual supposedly applying the pressing factor has acted in positive or negative confidence; whether the casualty has any reasonable functional other option yet to submit to the pressing factor; whether the casualty fought at that point and whether he attested and looked to depend on the agreement. It was additionally seen that ill-conceived pressure should be recognized from the crude of the pressing factors of ordinary business haggling.
- Universe Tankships Inc of Monrovia v International Transport Workers’ Federation  2 All ER 67
- Puri Construction P. Ltd. and, Ors. v. Larsen and Toubro Ltd. and, Ors FAO(OS) Nos. 21, 22, 23, 194; 2009
- DSND Subsea v. Petroleum Geo Services ASA  BLR 530
This Case Brief has been written by Faiz Iqbal, from NMIMS’S School of Law.