Carter v Boehm – Utmost Good Faith 250th Anniversary Conference

Fort Marlborough Akadika Photography Bengkulu
Carter v Boehm 250th Anniversary’ Conference

Bengkulu, Sumatra on the weekend of 1 and 2 October 2016

This year is the 250th anniversary of Lord Mansfield’s seminal judgment in Carter v Boehm,[1] delivered in London at Easter time in 1766.  As Cory J remarked in the Canadian case Coronation Insurance Co v Taku Air Transport Ltd,[2] Carter v Boehm was decided when:

… the world was a little different. It was a simpler if not, in some respects, a gentler place.  The business of insurance was very different.  Then policies of insurance were issued most frequently to cover a vessel, or its cargo.  The contract was issued for the benefit of the insured.  It was the owner as insured who would have the detailed knowledge of the vessel or its cargo.  No one would know better than the owner of the incipient dry rot or the tendency of the ship to take on water in a fresh breeze.  This was knowledge that the insurance company could not readily attain and it was appropriate to relieve the insurer of all responsibility for obtaining it.  That principle held true in 1766.  It can hold true today where the policy is for the exclusive benefit of the insured.

The insurance issues in Carter v Boehm arose out of a French attack on Fort Marlborough, a British trading post in Bengkulu (then known as ‘Benkulen’ or ‘Bencoolen’), Sumatra in 1760.

The case of Carter v Boehm is particularly important to the Insurance industry as it was the landmark case driving the principle of Utmost Good Faith from Judge Mansfield, which today, is now a part of all insurance contracts. Because this is such a landmark ruling, someone equally as passionate on general insurance as myself, Greg Pynt and I are arranging a special one off conference at Fort Malborough.

As appears from the accompanying photograph, kindly supplied by Akadika Photography, Bengkulu, Fort Marlborough is presently in very good condition, thanks to restoration work completed by the Indonesian government in 1984.

Join us on our visit to Bengkulu City (population almost 400,000 people) on the weekend of 1 and 2 October this year.  The weekend will include presentations by qualified academics and others (including Professor Robin Pearson of the University of Hull) relevant to the legacy of Carter v Boehm each morning.  It will also include a guided tour of the Fort and perhaps visits in the afternoons to an active volcano, the tallest flower in the world, the largest flower in the world and other nearby attractions.

We expect to have a Registration brochure for the Conference later this month.  Logistics limit the Conference to 35 delegates.

This is a one-off visit to Conference in Bengkulu to acknowledge the origins of the arguably the most important case in the law of insurance.  Those behind the Conference will not financially profit by it. Anything over and above incurred costs will be donated to a worthy cause in Bengkulu, yet to be selected.

If you would like to register your interest in joining us in Bengkulu, please contact me on

You can also have a look at the event at :


[1] (1766) 3 Burr 1905; 97 ER 1162.

[2] [1991] 3 SCR 622.

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