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Editorial

The aviation sector has been dominated by several high-profile and unusual losses, and airport and airline security is a priority across the sector. As the use of unmanned aerial vehicles is increasing and the technology is utilised across different sectors, law firms have noted an increase in instructions, particularly pertaining to the developing regulation governing this area.

The rail industry is benefiting from significant investment in the UK, as well as globally. Domestically, plans for HS2 are progressing, and new infrastructure projects such as HS3 and Crossrail 2 are in the pipeline. In 2016, The Rail Supply Group launched its strategy to grow the UK rail industry and support exports. Although the Shaw report, which published its final recommendations in 2016, rejected wholesale privatisation and breakup of Network Rail, the possibility of bringing more private finance into the sector remains, and firms anticipate interest and activity from outside investors.

The shipping market remains in turmoil. The appetite for disputes is cooling, and has created an increasingly competitive legal market. The dry bulk sector continues to experience poor rates of return, high levels of debt and low asset values, while low oil prices has led to a halving of bunkering costs and a rise in demand for oil tankers. However tanker rates remain well adrift of pre-global financial crisis levels and the Chinese slowdown continues to make its mark. The uncertainty surrounding the UK’s EU referendum has also impacted market confidence. In contrast, there has been an uptick in insolvency work, and many firms have been involved in the fallout after the OW Bunker bankruptcy.

The travel sector is strong despite uncertainty surrounding the 2016 EU referendum in the UK, coupled with travel concerns brought on by the global threat of terrorism. Enquiries regarding flight-delay compensation remain prevalent. Personal injury practices continue to advise on high-profile instructions throughout the world.

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