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Bentleys, Stokes and Lowless is dedicated to shipping and has been advising on admiralty and shipping law for almost 80 years.

The firm: Bentleys’ team of lawyers has great practical experience and expertise in most areas of shipping, insurance, international trade and finance. The firm is committed to providing high-quality advice and service, and its philosophy is to be approachable, professional and known for getting it right.

The firm works closely with clients, providing strategic, commercial and practical advice 24/7 to help achieve the best possible result. Bentleys draws on the relevant experience, expertise and judgement of its lawyers, and has a wide network of like-minded legal contacts throughout the world with whom it works to provide the necessary international reach for its specialisms.

Bentleys’ expertise encompasses advice and support to clients in connection with transactions, as well as dispute resolution, and the firm operates an emergency response team for marine casualties.

Types of work undertaken:

Cargo claims: Bentleys has extensive experience in prosecuting and defending cargo damage recovery claims and regularly acts for ship owners and P&I clubs, cargo insurers, recovery agencies, commodity companies and trading houses. The firm’s expertise covers most types of dry bulk and liquid/gas cargoes, container and special project cargoes, and it regularly works in conjunction with a worldwide network of suitably qualified and experienced external experts.

Charterparties and other transportation contracts: the firm has advised on all the major charterparty forms, including demise, time and voyage charterparties, pool and slot agreements, contracts of affreightment and joint venture agreements. Its clients include some of the world’s largest owners and charterers but it also acts regularly for smaller shipping companies, P&I and other insurers.

Insurance/reinsurance: Bentleys advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious insurance and reinsurance issues in both the marine and non-marine sector. These include matters such as coverage issues under marine and non-marine insurance policies, total loss investigations (where it can call upon the expertise of its team of master mariners) and reinsurance disputes between underwriters.

International trade and CMR: the firm advises on a wide range of issues arising out of the sale of goods, letters of credit, joint venture agreements and other aspects of international trade. It also has considerable expertise in issues arising out of the carriage of goods by road (CMR). This work involves conducting disputes in the High Court and the various commodity arbitration forums such as GAFTA, FOSFA and the RSA.

Marine casualty investigation and response: the firm’s strength in admiralty law is maintained by a team led by partners with extensive experience of marine casualty handling and response, including a British-certified Master Mariner and other lawyers with a broad range of seagoing and navigational experience. They are experienced in casualty investigations and the management of collision and salvage cases on behalf or ship, cargo and contractor interests.

Personal injury: Bentleys’ prominent position in the shipping industry and insurance markets and its reputation for handling casualty claims has inevitably led to it providing advice in cases involving personal injury and death. Often this arises from marine casualties, but the firm has experience of handling personal injury cases throughout the marine sector and involving all types of vessels including bulk carriers, container vessels, ferries and cruise ships, fishing vessels, offshore installations, supply vessels and super yachts.

Shipbuilding, sales and finance: Bentleys provides advice on all aspects of shipbuilding, conversion and repair contracts, guarantee claims and related litigation/arbitration. It has developed specialised computer software to facilitate document management and to speed up and simplify the handling of disputes arising from complex shipbuilding, repair and conversion contracts. The firm has considerable experience in acting for the buyers and sellers of new, second-hand and scrap vessels.

Ship management, broking and agency: the firm is able to draw on its extensive experience and understanding of the shipping market to provide effective advice and assistance to intermediaries in resolving or avoiding disputes, whether involving allegations of negligence or breach of duty, misdirected claims from third parties or claims for payment of fees or commission.

Yachts: the combination of Bentleys’ commercial shipping experience and its international connections makes it ideally placed to advise on yacht- and superyacht-related matters.

Number of UK partners 9

Number of other UK fee-earners 12

Above material supplied by Bentleys, Stokes and Lowless.

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