Transport and shipping in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has the region's leading shipping practice, which is led by Nicholas Woo who handles all aspects of dry shipping. Leading light Henry Adams handles shipping, transport and marine insurance work, which includes charterparty disputes and cargo claims. Shipping, transport and international trade expert Alex Davey is also recommended. Barrister Laura Thomas leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice and specialises in road transport matters. She acts for commercial vehicle operators including road haulage companies and vocational drivers. Up-and-coming partner Lisa Wortley and senior associate Sarah Holsgrove are also recommended for shipping matters.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Woo; Laura Thomas


“Our company have had the privilege of working with Birketts for five years now, mostly on different types of claims in all aspects of shipping and international trade law. In the very first engagement, through the smart handling, skilled analysis of facts, and most importantly, through delivering this analysis to the counterparty in a clear way, we got a quite successful settlement and a very good result.”

“We have been highly satisfied with the quality of the work. We would rate the overall level of their service as excellent. The client’s concerns and questions have been handled with the utmost respect and due patience.”

“Careful attention is commonly given to each and every detail in each and every case. Their advice is always carefully crafted and well-reasoned.”

“Alex Davey is a highly motivated and responsible lawyer who handles matters in a very professional and competent way and, most importantly, he listens to the client.”

“Alex Davey’s relationship skills and winning personality are obvious strengths. He engages easily with people and makes himself available to assist with the issues which are brought to his attention.”

“Lisa Wortley is extremely strong in handling claims. She has no hesitations and no doubts, she just softly hammers the opponents in the battle.”

“Sarah Holsgrove is intelligent and clever, with ability to bring sound clarification and judgement to the twisted issues. This is something that some lawyers are, unfortunately, missing.”

“The team at Birketts exists of highly professional trained solicitors with a profound knowledge on English maritime law.”

“The team is always ready to give advice in a timely fashion, meeting the sometimes urgent requirements of the client.”

“The team strives for solutions which are for the benefit of the client from both a legal and an economic aspect.”

“Alex Davey certainly stands out – his ad hoc knowledge of maritime law is excellent. He is a highly skilled negotiator who looks to find realistic resolutions which serve the interests of his clients. One can be assured that the legal opinions rendered by him will almost certainly materialise in reality.”

Key clients

West of England

Tradhol Inernacional

Allianz Global & Specialty France

AXA Corporate Solutions Assurances (France)

Filhet-Allard Maritime

SIACI Saint Honoré

Work highlights

  • Represented Seatrade Group NV in a claim for damages for detention involving a dispute as to the meaning of “always accessible”.
  • A claim for general average contribution arising out of the BI JIANG’s loss of her propeller in the South China Sea in 2009.
  • Acting for Navigators Insurance Company and the Master and crew of the vessel MALAVIYA TWENTY in respect of outstanding wages that were due to the crew following the insolvency of the owners of the vessel.
  • We act for the Spanish insurers of 300 containers which suffered damage and/or which are due to contribute to salvage costs in relation to a fire on board the containership “MAERSK HONAM” in March 2018.
  • General Average dispute and damage to cargo relating to flooding of engine room of the vessel “KOZA” off Sierra Leone in suspicious circumstances.

Ashtons Legal

Two years ago, Ashtons Legal formed its regulatory practice, which focuses on road transport matters. It supports clients with both regulatory compliance and enforcement actions, as well as disciplinary matters. Among its clients are public listed companies, a major utility seeking niche advice, a national food and drink company, and a large construction company. Practice head Tim Ridyard is currently in a major truck cartel case, concerning the pricing of vehicles over a 14-year period. The practice also handles day-to-day advice on matters including trading standards, taxi licensing, data protection and police investigations. Specialist regulatory and road transport solicitor Tim Norris is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tim Ridyard

Other key lawyers:

Tim Norris


“Ashtons Legal provides a professional and tailor-made service which recognises your individual legal requirements.”

“Both Tim Ridyard and Tim Norris have a great depth of knowledge, enabling them to offer sound advice and legal direction.”

“The firm has a knowledgeable team that is experienced within the industry.”

“Tim Norris has provided valuable advice in areas pertaining to our industry, offering practical advice with a friendly approachable manner.”

Key clients


Severn Trent

Moores Refrigeration Controlled Transport (MRCT)

Thomas Ridley & Son Ltd (Thomas Ridley Food Service)

Whites Transport Services Ltd

GMA Warehousing & Distribution Ltd

R Turner (Haulage) Ltd

Debach Enterprises

Panther Taxis

Goff Petroleum


Severn Trent

Work highlights

  • Tim Ridyard is acting for a large international shipping and transport group in relation to the restructuring of companies and consequential operator licensing issues including new applications.
  • Tim Ridyard is advising a national food and drink PLC on operator licensing and environmental objections relating to site parking, which involves representation before the Traffic Commissioner at Public Inquiry.
  • The firm is acting for a large national chilled goods operator in regard to emergency operator’s licence application and securing expedited grant of same.
  • The firm is representing an international import/export business at a Traffic Commissioner Public Inquiry in relation to major drivers hours’ investigation of fleet and all drivers.
  • The firm is advising a heavy haulage and waste operator on operator licence applications to increase its fleet and advising with regard to interpretation issues in regulations for heavy haulage operations.

Gotelee Solicitors

Gotelee Solicitors is the only only recognised road transport law firm with an office in the major trading port of Felixstowe. The firm has a growing roster of transport and logistics work in the highly specialist area of Fulfilment Houses and the e-commerce supply chain. Last year, the firm assisted a national trade association on the commencement of HMRC’s new Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme. It also launched the Gotelee Guardian app to help distributors with safety-related compliance checks. Howard Catherall leads the practice and Hugh Rowland defends businesses investigated by Trading Standards, HMRC and other regulatory bodies.

Practice head(s):

Howard Catherall

Other key lawyers:

Hugh Rowland

Work highlights

  • Advising and representing UK arm of a global logistics company, headquartered in China, upon its application to register for HMRC’s Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme.
  • Advising a global ecommerce company, headquartered in China and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, on the knock-on impact upon their business of the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme.
  • Advising and assisting a company in respect of a criminal investigation into its directors.
  • Advising and representing at Public Inquiry a road haulier in respect of multiple concerns raised by both DVSA and the Traffic Commissioner.
  • Advising and assisting a road transport operator in relation to operator licensing compliance: (i) regulations relating to holding and subsidiary companies (ii) an application for a new licence and (iii) responding to DVSA concerns.

Leathes Prior

Leathes Prior has a strong track record in road transport law and it frequently acts for operators of passenger and goods vehicles in contentious matters, as well as handling licensing and employment issues. The firm's Traffic Lawyers online service provides a national service to UK drivers, giving them access to specialist knowledge of laws and procedures. Tim Cary and associate Tej Thakkar  are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Tim Cary