Legal Subject: Deviation

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
John Steven and Company v. John Douglas 20 Dec 1774 Insurance, Deviation Defender John Douglas provided an insurance policy to pursuer John Steven and Company for a shipment of goods on the Belfast Trader. The planned shipment route was from Belfast to Greenock or Port Glasgow. Before the ship set sail, however, merchants in Stranraer requested that the ship transport some goods from Belfast to Stranraer. The owner of the Belfast Trader agreed to transport these goods. In the course of trying to reach Stranraer, the ship encountered a storm and sank off the coast of Girvan in Ayrshire. Douglas refused to reimburse Steven and Company. Douglas claimed that the voyage taken by the Belfast Trader was different than the voyage provided for in the insurance policy. Steven and Company sought reimbursement, arguing that the voyage to Stranraer on the way to Greenock or Port Glasgow was not a significant deviation from the original route.
Mackies v. Houston and Others 1774 Insurance, Deviation Pursuers Alexander and John Mackies obtained insurance for their ship, the Marshall of Gardenston, and its cargo. Although the ship was bound for Dundee, it docked at Down (now known as Macduff) during the voyage, and the cargo was stolen by a mob. The pursuers applied to the insurance underwriters for indemnification and eventually brought suit against them. However, the underwriters argued that they were not required to pay because the ship-master had deviated from the insured voyage by going to Down and taking on cargo there. Relevant documents are reproduced in an appendix to the defenders’ court filing.