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Shipping in South West

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP has an 'excellent national reputation for both marine regulatory and coastal development work.' The team acts as trusted advisor in harbour orders, vessel prosecutions and arrests, for various ports and harbours in the UK. Legal director Lara Moore is 'exceptional' and 'her knowledge is unrivalled'. She heads up the practice and is particularly well versed in marine licensing matters. Charles Hattersley retired in April 2020.

Practice head(s):

Lara Moore


‘Expert advice on harbour authority powers, duties and responsibilities. Ashfords LLP provide a collaborative approach to responding to and resolving customer legal questions. The speed of response to enquiries is impressive and work always delivered on time or ahead of deadlines. There has never been a need to follow up on administrative matters.’

‘Lara Moore is an industry leading expert in Ports, Harbours and Coastal Developments. Her professional approach to delivering port and harbour legislative reviews is a key skill we rely upon.’

‘The Team is exceptionally knowledgeable about Ports and Harbours. They are the ‘go to’ firm for Harbour Orders and have a excellent national reputation for both marine regulatory and coastal development work. Unsurpassed in my experience.’

‘Lara Moore is exceptional. Her knowledge is unrivalled. A top lawyer nationally in her field. Clear and concise. ’

‘Ashfords external industry engagement is excellent with representation at UK Maritime level. Knowledge of the Maritime sector is second to none.’

‘The individuals that we have been working alongside are clearly dedicated and enthusiastic no issue is to small to resolve and team members are happy to go the extra yard as required.’

Key clients

Portsmouth International Port (Portsmouth City Council)

Poole Harbour Commissioners

Shoreham Port Authority

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Chichester Harbour Authority

Langstone Harbour Board

Looe Harbour Commissioners

Department for Infrastructure (Isle of Man Government)

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

Dorset Council (Weymouth, Bridport and Lyme Regis Harbours)

Littlehampton Harbour Board

Fowey Harbour Commissioners

Dart Harbour & Navigation Authority

East Suffolk Council (Southwold Harbour)

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners (Port of Plymouth)

Flight 4 Whitby

Work highlights

  • Advising Portsmouth International Port in respect of a Harbour Revision Order to modernise and consolidate all of its existing statutory harbour legislation.
  • Advising the Department of Infrastructure in respect of a new Ferry Terminal being built in the Port of Liverpool.
  • Advising Littlehampton Harbour Board in respect of defending two harbour dues challenges brought against it, under section 31 of the Harbours Act 1964.


Bartons' members are 'experts in their field.' Consisting of solicitors and barristers, the team has established itself as go-to firm for marine insurers. It is often active in investigations and representation in sailing incidents, marine advocacy and fatal accidents. Practice head Jo Pummery also acts as contact person for yacht insurers, P&I clubs, Mutual clubs and brokers. Tristan Harwood left for Thomas Miller Law in October 2020.

Practice head(s):

Jo Pummery

Other key lawyers:

Lee Hassall; Alistair Tawse


‘A friendly and knowledgable team that goes out of its way to help its clients. They are a down to earth team with genuine experience and insight into the sector in which they operate. Undoubtedly the ‘go to’ team for shipping in the South West. ’

‘Lee Hassall – a seasoned litigator with fantastic experience of the Admiralty Court. He really understands his subject area and has a lovely manner in conveying complicated legal advice in a clear and straightforward manner. He is well liked by clients and has a loyal following.’

‘All the team members are high-calibre and engaging. Jo Pummery is always available to give advice.’

‘The team are very proactive in the marine casualty sector. I have used them for advice on all marine insurance related matters. I have found them to be very good at researching casualty incidents and advising on litigation risk. All the key staff have practical experience in yachting and general marine work including work experience onboard offshore fishing vessels. This makes them uniquely experienced in my view to understand risk and to advise accordingly.’

‘Jo Pummery: As Head of the Department, Jo leads the team at Bartons and undoubtedly deserves to do so. She is at the heart of the team’s client-driven approach and leads by example. Jo has a level of industry knowledge which can only be gained with years of experience in the field of shipping and ensures she well-placed to provide pragmatic and commercially realistic advice and to recognises the strengths and weaknesses in any case. Jo is straightforward to deal with and engenders confidence in her clients, colleagues and others who work with her. I particularly admire Jo’s commitment to delivering clear, cost-effective and timely advice to every client.’

‘Bartons have been extremely helpful in the management of one of my claims and have been keeping me informed at all times. They obviously know their stuff which enables me to make appropriate decision on the strategy of the claim and reach a conclusion. Their appointment was the right on for this file and I am very pleased with their detailed legal advices and recommendations.’

‘My experience of Bartons is that they are experts in their field. They communicate very well and act promptly upon instruction. They have a very reasonable approach to billing.’

‘The practical advice given by Alistair Tawse in particular is refreshing. So often when talking to legal professionals about an issue, they will tell you the law and then leave the decision up to you. The ‘hand-holding’ provided by Bartons is very reassuring and ultimately results in better outcomes.’

Key clients

Markel International

Sompo Canopius Marine

British Marine Ltd

Shipowners Protection Ltd

North P&I t/a Sunderland Marine

Pantaenius UK Ltd

RSA Insurance – Marine Claims

Beazley Group

British Marine Federation

Ribeye Ltd

Sailport Plc

Work highlights

  • Assisted Pantaenius UK Ltd with deflecting a proportion of third party claim costs and their own insured’s claim onto the Club which located the insured’s vessel in its own cradle.
  • Acted for North P&I, trading as Sunderland Marine, in an investigation, and advised on a claim for actual total loss of a fishing vessel, which foundered in the North Sea.
  • Assisted Markel International with a claim for breach of contract/negligence.


BLM fields a team of 'very experienced lawyers in a complex niche market, who are always at the forefront of changes in this area of law.' It deals with  the full range of matters arising from the wet, dry and other related trade services; the group has special expertise in representing insurers, reinsurers and P&I clubs in claims regarding collisions, unsafe ports, fatal accidents, pollution and environmental incidents. The firm's Bristol office was closed during 2020, with all staff moving to remote working. The highly rated Gemma Pearce leads the practice, whil associate Stephen Favali is well versed in large loss claims; the team works closely with colleagues in Belfast and Glasgow.

Practice head(s):

Gemma Pearce

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Favali


‘Attentive and quick in understanding the commercial challenges.’

‘Very experienced lawyers in a complex niche market. Always at the fore front of changes in this area of law. Keeping clients regularly updated.’

‘The team is young and agile, spread over all jurisdictions of the UK and Republic of Ireland, the team has a solution with that breadth of knowledge you need especially when tackling incident that straddle multiple jurisdictions.’

‘Gemma Pearce, the lead partner is very much solutions orientated and that filters down to the rest of team. Understanding the economics of the business is vital, providing solutions which fit with the facts, law and economics is a rare commodity which this team has in abundance.’


In July 2021 Ince secured the hire of Keoghs LLP’s Bristol marine team. Daniel Crockford is particularly knowledgeable in the yacht and superyacht industry; he, managing associate Clarissa Dumolo and Alex Penberthy ‘offer quick reliable advice and solutions.‘ The ‘professional yet flexible and pragmatic‘ team has experience in claims made originating from collisions, personal injury, product liability and regulatory breaches, among others. Key clients include marine insurers, P&I clubs, ports, yacht owners and ship management companies.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Crockford

Other key lawyers:

Clarissa Dumolo; Alex Penberthy


‘The Bristol team had mastered remote and flexible working well before the pandemic and I’ve not noticed a dip or change in any sense from what they were able to offer previously. They also stand out for their responsiveness and excellent commercial sense. They get good results.’

‘Daniel Crockford has an excellent eye for detail, and knows his subject matter and market inside out. He turns around queries quickly and resolves them. I’ve always been impressed when working with him how thoroughly he knows his cases. He is very friendly and approachable. He has excellent instincts and judgement and is a pleasure to work with. He is an excellent lawyer.

‘Clarissa Dumolo has an excellent manner with clients and is always focused on delivering the best result. I’ve always noticed how well clients are kept informed on every step, something which has not always been my experience with other firms doing this work. She is able to quickly get to the heart of an issue. Her commercial sense is excellent, and working with her I’ve seen her achieve excellent results both in and out of court. She is very easy to work with as counsel, and I am particularly impressed by how responsive she is in resolving queries with the client / the insured. She is one to watch going forward!’

‘A professional yet flexible and pragmatic team who are very aware of the wider insurance piece and how their services fit within our product offering.’

‘They provide an excellent service and listen to us as the client and we work very well together. They are always happy to discuss cases and offer guidance without making up a file. They also provide a regular file review service giving initial free advice. The firm have over the last few years become the popular go to firm within our particular yacht market as they are knowledgeable, efficient and provide sound legal advice at a sensible price.’

‘Daniel Crockford, Alex Penberthy and Clarissa Dumolo: my experience working with all three has been good, they offer quick reliable advice and solutions. The team work very well together offering fast and efficient service which over the years has proven very successful.’

Key clients

MS Amlin

Navigators and General


Arc Legal Assistance

Nautical Insurance

Sunderland Marine

Aston Lark

Brit Insurance


Work highlights

  • Acting for a variety of insurers in relation to a claim against Holyhead Marina after Storm Emma damaged 89 boats in 2018.