Shipping in France

Clyde & Co LLP

Specialised across both contentious and non-contentious maritime work, Clyde & Co LLP is retained by a range of clients including traders, insurers and oil companies. The team also advises shipowners on the drafting of agreements and on handling incidents at sea and is highly regarded for its work on insured liability claims. Gildas Rostain leads the shipping practice and is experienced representing clients in high-value litigation both domestically and abroad. Rozenn Lopin is another key name in the practice, typically advising industrial companies on risk management.

Practice head(s):

Gildas Rostain

Other key lawyers:

Rozenn Lopin


HFW fields a full-service maritime practice with a strong international reach. The team undertakes both wet and dry shipping work, acting for P&I clubs, underwriters and shipowners on matters including indemnity claims, sale and purchase agreements and is regularly instructed on major casualties off the French coastline. Additionally, the practice has in-depth knowledge of the cruise and tourism industries, in particular relating to commercial yachting. Dispute resolution specialist Guillaume Brajeux heads the department, with Stanislas Lequette, whose practice includes both transactional and contentious matters, ship arrests, collisions and charter party disputes expert Stéphanie Schweitzer, commercial litigator Vincent Bénézech and senior associate Mona Dejean as key members.

Practice head(s):

Guillaume Brajeux

Other key lawyers:

Stanislas Lequette; Stéphanie Schweitzer; Vincent Bénézech; Mona Dejean


A modern practice with the ability to work well as a team.

Key clients

AXA Corporate Solutions



Corsica Linea


Ingepar (BPCE Group)




The Shipowners’ Club

The Swedish Club

North of England


Lewis & Co AARPI

Lewis & Co AARPI is sought out for significant maritime casualty cases, being retained by a number of P&I clubs following collisions. Other key areas include commercial disputes, trade, and insurance, all with a strong international element due largely to the practice's strong presence in francophone countries in North and West Africa. Lars Lewis leads the group and undertakes the full range of shipping work. Cross-border litigation specialist Leila Esnard is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Lars Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Leila Esnard


Easy to approach and communicate with, quick responses, cost efficient.

Lars Lewis is a true asset if you need someone with shipping knowledge in France or in the “Francophile countries”.

Good communication skills. Service in English. Comprehensive knowledge of maritime law as well as jurisdiction.

Lars Lewis and his team are exceptional. They are always available, quick to reply, very supportive and helpful. You truly feel that you are in good hands with them.

The team at Lewis & Co is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with. Experts in their field, rapid in their response.

Leila Esnard has very good knowledge on shipping matters and responds quickly.

Reed Smith

The team at Reed Smith advises clients on both French and English law covering all aspects of shipping transport and logistics, international trade and customs law, including charter party disputes. The group is regularly instructed by clients involved in the African market, particularly for contract negotiations and to advise on transactions. Jointly led by litigation and arbitration specialist Ana Atallah and financing expert Florent Rigaud, the team has further depth in contentious matters in Andrew TetleyVictoria Westcott is another name to note for her advice on asset and export finance.

Practice head(s):

Ana Atallah; Florent Rigaud

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Westcott; Andrew Tetley


Andrew Tetley is my go-to person in France for litigation matters.  He is smart, practical, and efficient. He provides an excellent bridge to a civil law system for business counsel and business persons accustomed to a common law system.

The firm is extremely open to alternative billing arrangements where appropriate. The firm works with its clients to find win-win solutions.

Stream – Avocats et Solicitors

Stream – Avocats et Solicitors' shipping department is experienced in handling litigation and transactions. On the contentious side, the team has represented clients in all types of casualty work including collisions, assistance, rescue and pollution. Non-contentious work includes assistance with chartering agreements, construction, sale and purchase, and the financing of all types of vessels. The key contacts for the group are Alexandre Besnard and Aymeric de Tapol.

Practice head(s):

Alexandre Besnard; Aymeric de Tapol

Key clients











Work highlights

  • Advised on the transport and fall of the elements of an aircraft carrier catapult in the Toulon arsenal.
  • Acted for cargo insurers in claims in respect of salvage indemnity further grounding and total loss of the Kea Trader near Nouméa.
  • Advised the owners of CSL Virginia on the vessel’s collision near Corsica, which led to coastal pollution.

Nicolas & Associés

The departure of Henri de Richemont in December 2020 to form Richemont Delviso preceded the dissolution of boutique maritime law firm Richemont Nicolas & Associés and the subsequent creation of NICOLAS & ASSOCIES. The firm is particularly experienced in advising on transport, insurance, commercial and international law matters. The practice also litigates on the full range of shipping issues including marine casualty, contracts of carriage and charter party disputes and ship arrest. Christophe Nicolas is the key name.

Practice head(s):

Christophe Nicolas


Christophe is an extremely experienced ‘transport’ lawyer. He is particularly user friendly and extremely responsive which is most welcome because it is not necessarily the norm in small and medium-sized Parisian law firms.

Christophe Nicolas distinguishes himself from his peers by his responsiveness, his skilled strategic approach and his written and spoken English. He is also very careful to ensure his services represent good value for money.

Key clients












Work highlights

  • Acted for Grimaldi in relation to a vessel sunk off the coast of France in March 2019.
  • Advised Peche Avenir on a faulty vessel leading to damage and loss of earnings claims.
  • Represented Chipolbrok in proceedings before the Commercial Court of Bordeaux relating to damage to a military ship.