Transport and shipping in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a widely respected transport and international trade practice that works with the firm's regulatory and corporate defence team and other specialist to provide a full service to logistics clients. The practice is particularly well known for wet and dry shipping work, trade disputes and road transport regulation. The majority of its clients are based overseas or in London. Shipping specialist and accredited mediator Nicholas Woo and head of litigation Matthew Gowen lead the practice from Ipswich, where Alex Davey and Henry Adams are key partners in the shipping practice. Senior associate Sarah Holsgrove is recommended for contentious matters, particularly charterparty disputes.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Woo; Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:

Alex Davey; Henry Adams; Sarah Holsgrove


Birketts LLP is able to provide a value-added service. To be honest the fee rate is relatively lower than big law firms in London. They can also do capped fees but the service they provide is worth much more than the money. They have a more flexible facility to liaise with clients and handle cases, which makes the total charge better.

Lawyers of Birketts LLP do the same good job as those of Ince or Holman – maybe better. Some of them have specific professional [expertise] in respect of areas we are quite familiar with in the shipping industry, such as underperformance and over-consumption claims, off-hire and low-sulphur bunkers matters.

Nicholas Woo is able to speak [fluently] in both English and Mandarin. He is also quite capable of locating the key issue out of a complicated situation with his legal and commercial sense. This gives us a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages to help us make our decision how to proceed.

Key clients

West of England

Tradhol Internacional

Allianz Global & Specialty France

AXA Corporate Solutions Assurances (France)

Filhet-Allard Maritime

SIACI Saint Honoré

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ameropa SA in a dispute in which the Court held that the delay at the discharge ports had been caused by the Claimant Owners failing to care for the cargo by ventilating in accordance with a sound system.
  • Advised a Spanish litigation funder on a dispute under a utilities contract with a large US multi-national manufacturer of diagnostic equipment, subject to Spanish law and English High Court jurisdiction. The matter was eventually settled at mediation.
  • Advised successful claimants in an arbitration claim for loss of / damage to a grain cargo carried in bulk from Germany to West Africa.

Ashtons Legal

'I found that their in-depth knowledge of our area and the issues we were facing was excellent,' says a client of the road transport and regulatory practice at Ashtons Legal. Operator licensing of fleets in the goods and passenger sectors is a key focus for the firm, which also handles public inquiry hearings before Traffic Commissioners. Partner Tim Ridyard in Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge-based solicitor Tim Norris are specialists in this area of law and act for a large number of logistics companies across the UK.

Practice head(s):

Tim Ridyard

Other key lawyers:

Tim Norris


‘I found that their in-depth knowledge of our area and the issues we were facing was excellent. They helped us navigate to a solution quickly and with a minimum of fuss.

Tim Norris was excellent at communicating and explaining the specific issues and offering straightforward advice that we could understand and digest easily. His knowledge of our area was exemplary.

I use Ashtons services to assist with CEX’s high-level data protection complaints. The team is always on hand to understand the complexities of the second-hand trade market and work with me, in my role as the company DPO, to improve policies and procedures and help protect the brand.

Tim Norris is clear in his communication and his ability to handle the information commissioner for our cases has set an incredible standard.

Ashtons Legal’s transport team is approachable, knowledgeable and extremely expert in all aspects of the transport industry. Their forward thinking innovative approach makes them industry leaders.

Tim Ridyard and Tim Norris lead their highly motivated team. Their individual and collective knowledge makes them stand out in a crowd.

Work highlights

  • Advising a large waste recycling business in a prosecution brought for environmental permitting and duty of care offences brought against multiple defendants. The case involved complex legal argument and confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
  • Ongoing retainer for large construction business covering all aspects of road transport regulatory law.
  • Providing advice to a national supermarket chain in relation to road transport regulatory issues affecting the national fleet concerning operator licensing and drivers’ hours.

Gotelee Solicitors

Transport, logistics and shipping work are key areas of focus for Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich. The firm's office in the busy port of Felixstowe is a boon to its trade and transport clients, which turn to the practice regulatory and criminal matters relating to international supply chains. This frequently involves inquiries and investigations with HMRC on the other side. Practice head Howard Catherall and key partner Hugh Rowland are also involved in the niche area of law relating to the fulfilment house sector.

Practice head(s):

Howard Catherall

Other key lawyers:

Hugh Rowland


The practice has a very high level of corporate and individual integrity which is the foundation of all they do. Building on this, they have an incredible attention to detail and a very strong hard work ethic. All this is delivered in a friendly and utterly professional manner. The culture of openness and support I have seen across the practice enables the organisation to improve and learn in total confidence. They are utterly top class but do not rest on their laurels.’

Howard Catherall and Hugh Rowland are the two standout partners I have dealt with. They are utterly professional and dedicated to giving their best in all situations. Their openness and transparency breeds trust across all their interactions. They build trust and are trusting of others both within the practice and outside. I have built up a good relationship with both Howard and Hugh despite coming from, what might have appeared from the outset, a different perspective being a law enforcement specialist.

Gotelee Solicitors has a thorough and in-depth knowledge of HMRC legislation. They understand the implications of these regulations on the day-to-day activities of companies engaged within the international supply chain. This allows their clients to identify and manage risks within their business as well as correctly managing their tax affairs.

Work highlights

  • Provided employment law advice to a transport and logistics company for a number of years on a broad spectrum of issues, including large-scale reorganisation and defending the company in Employment Tribunal proceedings.
  • Negotiation of an agreement for lease and satisfactory lease of a building to be constructed once planning obtained on 143,000 sqft new warehouse premises for Chinese e-commerce trader.

Leathes Prior

Leathes Prior in Norwich 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. Practice head Tim Cary and associate Tej Thakkar are the key figures in the firm's regulatory and defence practice.

Practice head(s):

Tim Cary

Other key lawyers:

Tej Thakkar