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Ince & Co

Work +852 2877 3221
Fax +852 2877 2633

Rory Macfarlane

Work +852 2877 3221
Ince & Co

Work Department

Commercial Disputes, Cyber Security, International Trade & Commodities, Shipping




Rory is a partner in the Hong Kong office. A dual qualified solicitor in England and Wales and Hong Kong, Rory practised in London before moving to Hong Kong in 2004.

Rory is a litigation and arbitration specialist, who handles complex cross-border litigation, international arbitration and mediation. His experience includes London LMAA, ICC and LCIA arbitrations, as well as cases in the Commercial Court and Hong Kong Courts. His practice encompasses the full range of shipping, international trade and commodities and commercial matters with a strong focus on charterparty and ship sale & purchase disputes, carriage of goods by sea and cargo claims, contentious commodities-based advice, and debt recovery actions for large corporations.

“diligent and analytical”, “Rory Macfarlane ‘takes a very commercial approach to problems and try to see disputes from a client’s perspective’” - Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017

Rory has also grown a regulatory and compliance practice, co-heading the Asia regional team, with a particular focus on cyber-security and maritime regulations.

The breadth of Rory’s international experience in Asia is matched by his deep familiarity with the Taiwan business environment. Rory heads the Taiwan team and offers comprehensive legal counsel to major Taiwan companies. Rory takes on leading roles as international counsel on cross-border matters having a significant Taiwan element. He also has very good working relationships with the leading local firms. This makes him a valued resource for clients doing business in this market.

An element of Rory’s practice is also focused on providing non-contentious advice to clients in these areas. He is able to put his considerable experience to good use in negotiating and drafting both standard form and bespoke agreements for his clients such as Voyage Charters, Time Charters, COA’s, Bills of Lading and FOB/CFR contracts. 


Highlight matters:

> Acting for a leading global logistics services provider, which has recently suffered a number of cybersecurity breaches, to conduct a comprehensive audit of its cybersecurity readiness and internal protocols, addressing both legal and technical issues (in conjunction with a leading cyber security consultancy). 

>Acting for a ship owner in a complicated case following an explosion during an off-shore STS crude oil transfer operation. Issues included crew death, crew injury, pollution, inter-ship liabilities, and apportionment of liability to third party loading master.

> Acting for ship finance banks on multiple ship re-possession and subsequent sales to recover monies secured by mortgages over vessels.

> Advising Greek shipowner clients on PRC charterers withholding tax from hire.

> Advised Owners/Operators in the negotiation of 2 separate 25 year iron ore COA’s, each involving the purchase and construction of 14 vessels.

> Assisting Owners/Insurers to secure the release of vessels seized by Somali pirates, including arranging for payment of cash ransoms sourced out of Hong Kong.

> Acted for European oil trader in a multi-jurisdictional fraud claim involving mareva injunctions, anton pillar orders and committal proceedings.

> Acting for defendant purchaser in a multi-shipment coal sale and purchase dispute. Issues determined at arbitration included contractual interpretation of ‘trial burn’ provisions, self heating in stockyard, fire risk on milling and burning, specification issues and emission control issues.

> Acting for the sellers in several FOSFA Arbitrations and Appeals arising out of contracts for sale and purchase of soybeans. Cases involved post appeal enforcement of arbitration awards in PRC.

> Acted for Singaporean based coal traders in a series of trade and carriage related arbitrations arising under various sales contracts and charter parties.

> Insolvency related work, advising creditors on claims against insolvent debtor companies including attending creditors meetings, nominated to Committee of Inspection and seeking to have provisional liquidators removed from office and liquidations turned from section 228A winding-up to compulsory court supervised winding-up.


Recently reported cases:

>Birnam Ltd v. The Owners of the Ship or Vessel Hong Ming [2011] HKCFI 577.

>The Ruby Star [2015] 1 HKLRD 453.

>The Almojil 61 [2015] 3 HKLRD 598.




>Law Society of England and Wales

>Law Society of Hong Kong

>Hong Kong Maritime Law Association - Committee


>Oxford Brookes University

>Nottingham Law School

Hong Kong


Within: Shipping

Ince & Co provides an ‘excellent and knowledgeable service’ across the panoply of transactional and litigation matters impacting the shipping sector on behalf of shipping companies (such as OOCL and COSCO Shipping) and P&I clubs (such as Gard and Swedish Club). Senior partner David Beaves has vast experience in the sector and is also a pivotal presence in relation to the firm’s continued development and expansion in Greater China. On the admiralty front, the team handles the full spectrum of work including maritime casualty investigations, collisions, groundings and pollution cases, and benefits from the expertise of two master mariners among its ranks – Richard Oakley, who is based in Hong Kong, and Harry Hirst, who splits his time between Hong Kong and Singapore. The ‘very commercialRosita Lau has an excellent reputation among clients in Hong Kong and mainland China across both wet and dry shipping matters and has developed a particularly strong track record representing clients in Hong Kong and London arbitrations concerning claims arising from non-performance of contracts, misrepresentation, and heavy machinery and container terminal casualties. Other recommended partners include ‘master tacticianMax Cross, who has ‘in-depth knowledge of the local arbitrators and local Bar’; Su Yin Anand, for dry shipping and logistics litigation; Rory Macfarlane, for his litigation and regulatory expertise, often in the context of Taiwan and Japan-related matters; and Gary Wong, who excels at commercial shipping work.

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Hong Kong: Dispute resolution

International arbitration

Within: International arbitration

Ince & Co handles a range of disputes including shipping and commodities matters, ranging from commodity sales though to debt recovery and cargo matters. Max Cross, Rosita Lau and Rory Macfarlane lead heavyweight mandates. Geographically, clients range from mainland Chinese and other Asian clients, as well as European and US players.

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Within: Litigation

The team at Ince & Cohandles disputes with real skill, great care, and painstaking attention to detail’. ‘Master tacticianMax Cross focuses on cases in the transportation and international trade sectors, while Rosita Lau advises on commercial, personal injury, commodities, trade, shipping and insurance disputes, and Rory MacFarlane handles contentious commodities matters and debt recovery actions for large corporations.

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