Liability for marine oil pollution

In a rare prosecution under the Prevention of Oil Pollution Act 1971, the question of who should be liable under that Act has been considered for the first time by the Scottish High Court of Judiciary.

In Davies v Smith (Scottish Law Times, 11 November), both master and owner of the tanker Cast Fulmer were charged with discharging two tonnes of oil in the Firth of Forth contrary to section 2(1)(a) of the 1971 Act. The Act, however, expressly provides that the "owner OR master" of a vessel shall be guilty of this offence. On a preliminary point of law, the High Court considered whether the word 'or' in that context should be given its

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