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Shipping in South West

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP is 'at the forefront of maritime legislation and regulation', specialising in ports and harbour work. The firm acts in the sale and purchase of high-value vessels, as well as providing expertise in regulatory matters in the sector. The team is co-led by legal director Lara Moore, who has particular expertise in ports and harbours, and ex-mariner Charles Hattersley, who specialises in marine transport and commercial litigation, as well as heavyweight transactional work involving the sale and purchase of a variety of vessels.

Practice head(s):

Lara Moore; Charles Hattersley


‘The quality of the team within Ashfords LLP makes them a one-stop shop for all the complexities that operating a port involves and they have the legal expertise in-house rather than outsourcing some aspects of a query’ 

‘A good knowledge of fishing practices in the south coast area, which is beneficial for us’

‘Charles Hattersley has been very helpful with cases, vessel registrations and sale documents’

‘The team’s experience, knowledge and confidence in understanding the issues concerning their clients’ requirements is second to none’

‘Lara Moore is very well respected by her peers who operate at the highest level in the UK maritime industry and who value her knowledge and true understanding of the issues at hand’

‘Always available and committed to providing excellent advice and service. Unsurpassed in my experience’

‘They are on the ball and not long winded, and when a team member is assigned to your case he or she will be the person you deal with on a regular basis’

‘Charles Hattersley is very polite, helpful and thorough. He is a very smart person and never fails to assist you’

Key clients

Littlehampton Harbour Commissioners

Department of Infrastructure (Isle of Man Government)

Poole Harbour Commissioners

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)

Shoreham Port Authority

Dorset Council (Weymouth, Bridport and Lyme Regis Harbours)

East Suffolk Council (Southwold Harbour)

Fowey Harbour Commissioners

Cornwall Council (Penzance, St Ives, Bude, Truro, Penryn, Portreath, Portscatho, Newquay, Prince of Wales Pier (Falmouth) and Portwrinkle Harbours)

Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority

Charlestown Harbour Authority

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners (Port of Plymouth)

Flight 4 Whitby

Metmar Denizlek Cilik Sanayi Ve Ticarat Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the Department of Infrastructure (Isle of Man Government) in relation to a new ferry terminal in the port of Liverpool.
  • Acting for Cornwall Council in respect of a harbour revision order and a harbour empowerment order to enable the management of ten of its harbours under the same statutory regime.
  • Defending Ocean Venture Limited against prosecution brought by the Marine Management Organisation in relation to 14 fisheries offences (including release of vessel).


Bartons has particular expertise in acting for marine insurers, as well as experience advising on strategic planning. The firm also provides a strong marine litigation practice. Jo Pummery leads the team and is known for assisting ship insurers and P&I clubs. Also notable is associate Tristan Harwood, who specialises in marine litigation.

Practice head(s):

Jo Pummery

Other key lawyers:

Tristan Harwood


Marine litigation specialist BLM advises on a range of disputes, wet work and indemnity matters. The firm’s experience includes collisions, unsafe ports, environmental incidents, bailment, goods in transit and fatal accidents. ‘Very capable advocate and litigatorGemma Pearce leads the team and has expertise handling pre-litigated and litigated matters, as well as advising on personal injury and loss of life cases.

Practice head(s):

Gemma Pearce


‘The team are flexible and can turn their knowledge to anything shipping related’

‘The team are able to deal with serious and catastrophic PI cases arising out of accidents related to shipping as well as commercial shipping cases’

‘Gemma Pearce is a standout individual. She is as astute and clever as they come. A superb strategic operator who leaves no stone unturned in fighting a case’

‘The BLM marine team led by Gemma Pearce have a high level of expertise and knowledge in this specialised area of litigation’

‘Gemma Pearce keeps her clients well informed and updated in relation to litigation trends in this area. She has her finger on the pulse of changes and issues and assists her clients to respond to these issues’ 

Keoghs LLP

The ‘commercial, efficient and effective' Keoghs LLP acts for P&I clubs, marine insurers, ports, yacht owners and ship management companies. The firm has particular expertise in shipping regulatory matters, as well as advising on casualty investigations, cargo claims, property damage claims, pollution and logistics. Daniel Crockford leads the team and is a marine insurance litigator with notable expertise in the yacht and superyacht industries. Also notable are Alex Penberthy, who focuses on accident investigation and marine litigation, and Clarissa Dumolo, who joined from DAC Beachcroft LLP in 2019 and brings experience in marine insurance claims.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Crockford

Other key lawyers:

Alex Penberthy; Chris Newton


‘This team is the best of all worlds.’

‘Daniel Crockford and Alex Penberthy are the most responsive, flexible and dedicated team in the market’

‘They understand the market and its needs better than anyone’

‘A very hardworking team, who demonstrate an excellent knowledge of the sector’

‘Members are very approachable and commercially minded’

‘Alex Penberthy is approachable, measured and incredibly knowledgeable. He has a fantastic manner with clients, instantly reassuring them and offering pragmatic solutions’

‘Daniel Crockford is a true thought leader in the sector. He has the ability to handle a huge range of claims on behalf of UK and international marine insurers, ports and P&I clubs’

‘Chris Newton is great on the health and safety aspects of shipping. A calming influence on any investigation concerning a fatality or serious work place injury’

Key clients

MS Amlin

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty


Hiscox MGA

Arc Legal Assistance

Nautical Insurance

Next Plc

Sunderland Marine

Work highlights

  • Acting for Sunderland Marine following reports of an alleged accident aboard a fishing vessel.
  • Acting for Allianz following a passenger boat collision with the police engineering pier on the River Thames.