Philippine Legal 'Garnishment' Heightens Shipowner Concerns
'Garnishment' is the legal term relating to the collection of a monetary judgement on behalf of a claimant from a defendant. In the Philippines, this routinely occurs before the case has concluded and is central to the UK P&I Club Members' many concerns relating to crew claims in this jurisdiction.
The International Group Personal Injury Sub-Committee's - Philippine Working Group (on which the UK P&I Club's Tony Nicholson sits), has been monitoring the prejudice caused to owners & employers for a number of years, in addition to seeking to educate all interested stakeholders about the need for an equitable solution, to this continuing problem.
The UK Club says it is acutely aware of Members' concerns in relation to various problems faced when handling Filipino crew claims, particularly if a Writ / Summons is pursued before the NLRC or NCMB. At the heart of these concerns, is the need for a fair / equitable legal system, and as importantly, changes in the system which addresses the alarmingly increase in the number of Claimant lawyers being attracted to "handle" seafarers claims, Claimant lawyers that have diverse backgrounds, and in some instances, concerning links, both directly and indirectly, with the Labor Court.
The UK Club, amongst others, have ensured these concerns are raised and dealt with at International Group level, giving consideration to the significant number of Filipino seafarers deployed across the world fleet, every year.
At the heart of the problems faced by employers, which also attracts an increasing number of Claimant lawyers to "handle" seafarers claims, or those of their next of kin, is the issue of "Garnishment", namely the enforcement of the NLRC / NCMB's decisions, notwithstanding the ability to elevate the case to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court thereafter.
The UK Club issued a series of 3 LP Bulletins in 2009, which included an overview of "Garnishment". At that time, the International Group recognised that significant and unquantifiable damage was being caused to our Members, through Garnishment, with the likelihood that the situation would deteriorate significantly going forward.
For that reason, the IG started to closely monitor the situation, in addition to meeting with key stakeholders in Manila, on a regular basis. This is also an issue which has been communicated to various Shipowner Representative Bodies and the UK Club says it is particularly grateful for the support the IG has received from IMEC (International Maritime Employers' Council).
More information on this issue at: http://bit.ly/1nVsZhl
Source: UK P&I Club