Rising Stars

Shipping in Hong Kong


HFW has a large team of long-term Hong Kong shipping specialists. It is highly rated for ship finance and shipping disputes, including both wet and dry shipping matters, being one of the most active firms in the Hong Kong High Court and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. The firm represents the full spectrum of those involved in the industry, from shipowners and charterers to marine insurance underwriters and governments. Christopher Chan leads the practice and is noted for his capabilities in wet and dry matters for a plethora of stakeholders, including P&I clubs, charterers, and owners. Patrick Yeung is another senior practitioner in disputes and transactional shipping-related matters, along with Henry Fung, who is qualified as a China Appointed Attesting Officer. George Lamplough is well-known for his kidnap for ransom and piracy work, while Patrick Cheung focuses on cross-border asset finance and corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Chan

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Yeung; Henry Fung; Patrick Cheung; George Lamplough; Peter Murphy; Angie Lo; Nicola Hui; Edward Beeley


‘HFW exhibits comprehensive knowledge of the shipping businesses and outstanding professionalism in advising on shipping-related commercial transactions.’

‘The team is exceptionally competent, pragmatic and commercially focused. Their attention to detail is unmatched.’

‘The team understands and appreciates the objectives quickly and executes in line with those objectives.’

Key clients

Shanghai Shipyard Co. Ltd,

The Swedish Club Hong Kong Ltd

China Merchant Industry Holdings Co Ltd


Bright Shipping Limited

Ince & Co

Ince & Co has a ‘long-established reputation as an all-rounder admiralty law firm’, demonstrating prowess in both wet and dry shipping cases, as well as in a wide range of matters, such as assisting banks and corporates with ship finance and addressing novel issues like green shipping initiatives. The team is led by Rosita Lau, a veteran shipping lawyer frequently representing clients in cross-border commercial disputes in high courts. This adept team has the valuable support of a robust lineup of partners, notably including Max Cross, lauded for his ‘very experienced advice’ in handling complex arbitrations and related matters. Former joint practice head David Beaves departed to Hill Dickinson Hong Kong in October 2023.

Practice head(s):

Rosita Lau

Other key lawyers:

Max Cross; Simon Cheng; Lorraine Mok


‘Ince has an excellent team. Ready to go the extra mile for clients. I am very impressed with their professionalism and their strategic thinking.’

‘Rosita Lau is an outstanding, high-quality maritime solicitor in the region.’

‘Max Cross is superb in maritime and international trade disputes, especially cross-borders ones.’

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP’s shipping team is co-led by Matthew Lam, who has over 20 years’ experience in handling litigation and arbitration cases in Hong Kong and across the wider APAC region, and head of the banking and finance group Fei Kwok. Many of the team’s matters are high-value and often cross-border in nature, and it frequently advises on collision and salvage cases, pollution liabilities, and insurance disputes, as well as on all types of asset finance, including secured lending, leasing and export credit financing. The team is supported by the dispute resolution expertise of Christopher Jobson, who often acts for energy companies, insurance and financial institutions, and transport organisations. Associate Rita Hung specialises in shipping litigation and has experience in enforcing foreign judgments in Hong Kong, while Michael Ng, who is dual-qualified in Hong Kong and New Zealand, focuses on sale of goods, carriage of goods by sea, and charterparty claims.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Lam; Fei Kwok

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Jobson; Rita Hung; Michael Ng


‘I think the business characteristic of this team is to do things quickly and give appropriate opinions.’

‘Michael Ng and Matthew Lam are very patient to answer our questions. And the response is very fast.’

‘Good customer service and attention to detail.’


While it is best known for its shipping litigation expertise, CMS also has a strong core of senior shipping specialists who frequently advise on restructuring and insolvency-related disputes, shareholder and director disputes, and shipping finance matters. Andrew Horton co-leads the team with an outstanding record in Asia Pacific shipping work, particularly in international trade disputes matters. Co-head Steven Wise is experienced in advising on a full range of contractual and tortious disputes, especially those regarding charterparties, bills of lading, sale and purchase contracts, and insurance policies. The team expanded its shipping litigation and arbitration credentials with the hire of Fontaine Lai as an associate from the Swedish Club, and in October 2023 it welcomed Richard Oakley, a master mariner who joined from Ince & Co.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Horton; Steven Wise

Other key lawyers:

Helen Tang; Elliot Woodruff; Fontaine Lai


‘This is a team that is focusing solely on what it is good at and it delivers consistently excellent results.’

‘No one in HK is better at fighting and settling a cargo claim than Andrew Horton.’

‘Steven Wise is unique in his ability to grapple with complex legal questions and yet deliver clear and concise advice to clients.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for the insurer and their assured in a case involving the shipping of a cargo which exploded whilst the vessel was in Thailand.
  • Acting for a shipping company in a series of claims against a company for failure to pay freight and damage under 16 separate voyage charter parties.
  • Acting for a shipping company as disponent owners in relation to disputes arising under a voyage charter relating to non-payment of freight, issuing of bills of lading, alleged deviation, and arrest of vessel in Kenya by the sub-charterers.

DLA Piper

The DLA Piper team offers ‘practical recommendations in solving the dispute cases and formulating strategies in arbitration cases in the shipping industry’, in addition to providing shipping law advice and related services to its global clientele, which encompasses shipowners, insurance companies, and banks. Ernest Yang co-heads the team and advises on claims arising from shipbuilding, ship sale and purchase, and cargo and charterparty contracts claims, among other areas. Xiaoshan Chen jointly heads the team and handles some of the largest commercial arbitration matters in and outside of mainland China. Kevin Chan is ‘a pre-eminent shipping practitioner’ who specialises in cross-border dispute resolution and international arbitration, while Tom Van Hoof is a finance lawyer and a key port of call for a number of Chinese and international banks and financial institutions.

Practice head(s):

Ernest Yang; Xiaoshan Chen

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Chan; Tom Van Hoof


‘The firm stands out in providing assessment on the degree of legal and commercial risks against certain circumstances in a timely manner and was able to demonstrate sound judgement in planning and managing the dispute resolution matters.’

‘DLA Piper impressed by giving practical recommendations in solving the dispute cases and formulating strategies in arbitration cases in the shipping industry.’

‘The team as a whole demonstrated outstanding efforts of professionalism in analysing the merits and demerits of an arbitration case. They realistically anticipated the possible issues and unexpected events beforehand arising from the arbitration proceedings.’

‘The team is led out of HK, and Kevin Chan is a pre-eminent shipping practitioner in the region.’

‘Kevin Chan is a serious player in this area. Very poised, legally astute, and commercial. Great with clients.’

Key clients

Third Eye Capital

Work highlights

  • Assisting Third Eye Capital with ascertaining the corporate structure of the targeted entity and whether there is any elaborate scheme to evade the creditors and explore a viable route to recognition and/or enforcement in Hong Kong.

Hill Dickinson Hong Kong

Hill Dickinson Hong Kong‘s shipping group is praised by a number of clients for its capabilities in both contentious and non-contentious matters, frequently representing owners, charterers, banks, and insurers on a range of shipping issues. Practice chair Damien Laracy is a highly experienced litigator and arbitrator who specialises in both commercial and maritime matters. Antony Cowie is a prolific advisor who brings over 25 years of experience to bear on shipping, corporate, and financing transactions. Yvette Yu‘s extensive experience makes her a key contact for clients in the telecoms sector, while Jim James‘s expertise is concentrated in shipping arbitration and litigation, as well as shipping finance and leasing. The team welcomed the highly regarded asset finance and corporate practitioner David Beaves who joined from Ince & Co in October 2023.

Practice head(s):

Damien Laracy

Other key lawyers:

David Beaves; Antony Cowie; Yvette Yu; Jim James; Felix Cheung; Raymond Chan; Anabelle Ng


‘Experts in their field with high standards of client service and responsiveness.’

Work highlights

Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP

The shipping practice at Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP leverages the bench strength of its worldwide network and offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing to provide expert guidance to high-profile clients operating in the shipping industry, covering both wet and dry aspects. Co-led by renowned shipping disputes specialist Lianjun Li and the experienced Peter Lee, who has background in representing shipowners, builders, and banks, the group excels in various areas, including litigation, shipping-related corporate finance, and M&A work. The team receives additional support from Min Li, an authority in China-related disputes, Tat Pan, a specialist in general banking and ship financing, Donald Sham, a member of the Hong Kong Maritime Arbitration Group; and Zeldar Wang, who joined the firm from Ince & Co in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

Lianjun Li; Peter Lee

Other key lawyers:

Min Li; Tat Pan; Donald Sham; Zeldar Wang; Angus Yu


‘Reed Smith has a highly professional team of lawyers who can provide comprehensive, concise advice. In addition, Reed Smith lawyers are well aware of the practical arrangements and latest developments in the shipping industry, enabling them to give us reasonable solutions when the law does not have a clear answer.’

‘Lianjun Li is definitely the leading legal elite in the shipping industry. Based on his many years of experience in the shipping industry, different shipping giants regard him as their preferred lawyer, so he has a solid client base. At the same time, he communicated very smoothly with our personnel and always responded to our needs quickly.’

‘Lianjun Li always considers the client’s interests and goals from the perspective of the client, so we know he will strive for the best results for us.’

Key clients

Changhong Group (HK) Limited

China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited

China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited

COSCO Petroleum Company Limited

CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping Company Limited

Perusahaan Perseroan PT Pertamina

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood has a large team of Hong Kong shipping specialists and has further expanded with the arrival of Paul Ho in October 2023 from Ince & Co who excels in maritime and international trade, and ship finance. It is highly rated for ship financing mandates and shipping disputes, covering the full spectrum of shipping litigation work, from dry and wet charterparty work to insolvency and restructuring matters. In addition to its work for major international banks, credit agencies, owners, and operators, the group also acts for commodities finance companies. The practice is jointly led by Elizabeth Sloane, who is an expert in distressed enforcement and crisis management of urgent situations across both dry and wet sides of shipping, and Hongkai Zhou, who is noted for his shipping finance capabilities. Andrew Rigden Green is another senior practitioner experienced in marine and international trade matters, and Jason Toms is noted for his extensive experience in both wet and dry shipping matters and commercial litigation. Elton Chan is a shipping finance expert.

Practice head(s):

Hongkai Zhou; Elizabeth Sloane

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Rigden Green; Jason Toms; Elton Chan; Paul Ho


‘Andrew Rigden Green is a standout lawyer. He is hardworking, commercial and astute, and he instinctively knows when a transaction calls for a firmer approach or a more measured tone. We genuinely feel like Andrew is part of our team and understands our business and our priorities, which is all too rare in external counsel.’

‘The Stephenson Harwood team is excellent. They are commercial, helpful, responsive and focus on what is important to the client. They do this by getting to know your business through the transaction and your priorities, and then focus on achieving the end result you are looking for.’

‘A commercial approach to litigation, combined with technical acumen. Stephenson Harwood has a knowledgeable team that is great to worth with.’

‘Andrew Rigden Green is calm and measured in his approach. He is extremely well-regarded in the market. Elizabeth Sloane is an excellent maritime lawyer, who works hard for her clients and is thoughtful in her litigation strategy.’

‘Impressed with not only the quality of the individuals we work with, but also the firm’s effort in supporting and promoting female lawyers.’

‘Our go-to lawyers at SH HK are Elizabeth Sloane. Elizabeth is impressive in her speed and clarity.’

‘A very excellent team that has always maintained stable and advanced service quality in the industry.’

‘A very stable team. that does a well-done job. Excellent and efficient.’

Key clients

China Development Bank

China Development Bank Financial Leasing

Everbright Fortune International Leasing

ICBC Financial Leasing Ltd.

Michharry and Company Nigeria Limited

The People’s Insurance Co of China (Hong Kong) Ltd

The Export-Import Bank of China

CMB Financial Leasing Ltd.

Pantainer (H.K.) Limited

Panalpina World Transport (Japan) Ltd

Maersk Line

Societe Generale

Work highlights

  • Acting for Damco Hong Kong Limited in prosecuting and defending claims in the Hong Kong Court arising out of a large fire casualty in a warehouse at the Tuen Mun River Trade Terminal in Hong Kong.

Haiwen & Partners

Haiwen & Partners specialises in the resolution of maritime and commodities disputes, often handling cross-border cases related to various aspects of contentious wet and dry shipping matters. The firm also provides guidance to significant insurers in the Hong Kong market, addressing concerns like data privacy, policy coverage, and recovery claims. Heading the team is Edward Liu, who maintains strong working relationships with Chinese and international shipping companies, frequently representing them in arbitration and commercial mandates.

Practice head(s):

Edward Liu

Other key lawyers:

Lori Ng; Bridget Yim


‘Prompt and efficient legal advice.’

‘The shipping team based in Hong Kong and led by Edward Liu is very good, fair and sensible to deal with on matters. The team always deliver on time, especially if something is urgent.’

‘Edward Liu is an excellent lawyer, who is able to understand difficult transactions involving several jurisdictions with different legal systems. He is pragmatic, very smart and analytical. He has impeccable judgement and a tireless work ethic.’

Key clients

SEC Ships Equipment Center

Yiu Lian Dockyards Limited

Mediterranean Shipping Company

Foili Pte. Ltd

Universe Prosperity Shipping Co., Limited

China Taiping Insurance (HK) Company Limited

China P&I Club

London P&I Club

The Swedish Club

West of England P&I Club

Qingdao Jinxiang Ship Management Co., Ltd

Bering Marine Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting SEC Ships Equipment Center, Bremen, Germany, and SEC Shanghai with defending against a claim arising from the MS One Apus incident in 2020, in which the vessel lost approximately 1,900 containers in the Pacific Ocean, with a matter value of USD100m.
  • Representing Yiu Lian Dockyards Limited in an action brought by AFSC Operations Limited and the Airport Authority.
  • Assisting Great Prosperity Shipping Limited with claiming against sub-charterers for loss of hire, costs of bunkers, and outstanding hire arising from the sub-charterers’ repudiatory breach.

Howse Williams

Howse Williams has unique expertise in advising shipowners and terminal operators in relation to personal injury matters. The team is headed by Chris Howse, a seasoned practitioner in maritime disputes. Assisting him is David Coogans, who has over 25 years of experience in all types of wet and dry matters, and William Leung, an experienced commercial litigator.

Practice head(s):

Chris Howse; William Leung; David Coogans

Other key lawyers:

Bernard Murphy


‘The team is led by Chris Howse and David Coogans, who are two highly experienced and capable shipping lawyers.’

‘Howse Williams is a market leader for shipping law. David Coogans is one of the best.’

‘David Coogans has commercial common sense and is always alert to the commercial implications of the work that he handles.’

‘Chris Howse is very responsive and practical with his advice. David Coogans is very knowledgeable about a wide range of shipping matters.’

‘The team provides good, solid advice.’

Work highlights

Norton Rose Fulbright

At Norton Rose Fulbright's Hong Kong office, Becky Tai spearheads a diverse shipping finance practice with a focal point on Greater China. Beyond conventional financing transactions, the team dedicates itself to providing solutions by harnessing the strengths of its capital markets and corporate divisions, thereby catering to clients on a cross-border scale. A testament to its recent growth lies in the fact that the practice frequently represents Chinese leasing companies in their sales and leaseback transactions, as well as its being heavily engaged in LIBOR discontinuation matters.

Practice head(s):

Becky Tai

Key clients

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

China Merchants Financing Leasing (Hong Kong) Holding Co. Limited

CIMC Financial Leasing (Hong Kong) Ltd.

CITIC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

CMB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.


ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

Tsui & Co

The ‘responsive and tenacious’ shipping and litigation practice at boutique firm Tsui & Co handles a range of both contentious and non-contentious mandates. The group is led by Sam Tsui, who  frequently advises P&I clubs, insurers, owners, and charters, and his practice spans across a variety of arbitration and financing mandates, as well as insurance matters.

Practice head(s):

Sam Tsui


‘Sam Tsui is accessible, approachable and knowledgeable. He also provides commercially sensible solutions.’

‘Sam Tsui is a very hands-on partner and a walking encyclopaedia on maritime and insurance legal matters in the Hong Kong jurisdiction. He is very meticulous and has a sharp eye for details, and he is comfortable making judgement call on tough matters.’

‘Despite the small size of the team, they have very fast turnaround times and are able to handle work under tight timelines. Despite their reputation as a shipping and insurance law firm, they are quite adept at handling a wide range of other commercial matters as well.’

‘Energetic, helpful, efficient, and comprehensive legal advice.’

‘They are responsive and tenacious.’

‘Sam Tsui can always provide prompt legal advice and offer choices of solutions to tackle matters.’

Key clients

Deyesion Shipping and Trading Company Ltd

Swedish Club

Itiro Corporation BVI

Steamship Mutual P & I

Watson Farley & Williams

Underpinned by a network of offices in the key shipping hubs, Watson Farley & Williams's Hong Kong office has a wide-ranging shipping practice, acting for many international and Chinese banks, leasing houses, export credit agencies, insurance companies, and investment funds. The group is jointly headed by Christoforos Bisbikos, cross-border shipping finance deals specialist and Marcus Gordon, an experienced litigator and arbitrator. Other key names include Madeline Leong, who has particular experience in the transportation, natural resources, and energy sectors, and Guan Jian, a specialist in financing transactions across the maritime and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Christoforos Bisbikos; Marcus Gordon


Other key lawyers:

Madeline Leong; Guan Jian; Dora Ying; Valerie Lee; Sylvia Shi

Key clients

CMB Financial Leasing

Minsheng Financial Leasing

ICBC Financial Leasing

China Merchants Commerce Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

SPDB Financial Leasing Co Ltd

China Huarong Shipping Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

Jiangsu Financial Leasing

CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping Company Limited

AVIC International Leasing Co Ltd

CCB Financial Leasing Corporation Limited

Minsheng Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

CITIC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised SPDB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. on two sale and leaseback transactions involving the acquisition from, and bareboat charter back to Ciner Shipping group of eight bulk carriers.
  • Advised CITIC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. on US$700m operating lease for three new building 7000CEU dual-fuel Pure Car and Truck Carriers, three new building 8600 CEU dual fuel PCTCs, and four 7200DWT General Cargo Carriers.
  • Advised ENN LNG (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. on its international tender for the construction and long-term chartering of six 174,000-cbm LNG carriers, where the LNGCs will be constructed in Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd. in China for two consortiums of international LNGC operators and chartered to ENN upon the LNGCs’ delivery.