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Ashfords LLP

With ‘unrivalled expertise in maritime law, particularly ports and harbours’, Ashfords LLP covers the whole gamut of maritime work and fields particular strengths in harbour order and Brexit-related work, as well as marine licensing and regulation. Harbour dues litigation and high-value coastal development are further areas of specialism. Based in Exeter, practice head Lara Moore is praised for her ‘specific and detailed knowledge of port and harbour legislation‘ and her ability to draw from ‘in-depth industry experience’.

Practice head(s):

Lara Moore


‘Unrivalled expertise in maritime law, particularly ports and harbours.’

‘Lara Moore has a specific and detailed knowledge of port and harbour legislation with the ability to not only provide advice and interpretation of points of law, but to back this up with examples drawn from in-depth industry experience.’

‘Lara Moore – Always reliable; always delivers; and always maintains contact despite her other workload.’

‘A small friendly team who genuinely care about their sector. Highly regarded within the industry, they give advice across the whole sector to ports large and small with the same degree of care.’

‘Ashfords is the top firm for Port and Harbour clients in the UK. They have exceptional links with industry and advise on all aspects of law, servicing all of our legal needs.’

‘I consider Lara Moore to be exceptional. Her subject matter knowledge is at the highest level and she is regarded throughout the industry as an authority, particularly in port governance and planning.’

‘This practice is unique in its understanding of Ports and Harbours and the centuries of legislation that is still relevant when dealing with marine assets.’

‘Ashfords from the beginning set a professional and client-focused tone. It was with a real sense of genuine sensitivity. Always willing to go the extra mile to achieve the aim and support the client.’

Key clients

Peel Ports (Clydeport)

Portsmouth International Port (Portsmouth City Council)

Poole Harbour Commissioners

British Ports Association

UK Harbour Master’s Association (UKHMA)

Shoreham Port Authority

Department for Infrastructure (Isle of Man Government)

Littlehampton Harbour Board

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

Dorset Council (Weymouth, Bridport and Lyme Regis Harbours)

Chichester Harbour Authority

Langstone Harbour Board

Looe Harbour Commissioners

Fowey Harbour Commissioners

Dart Harbour & Navigation Authority

East Suffolk Council (Southwold Harbour)

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners (Port of Plymouth)

Flight 4 Whitby

St Mawes Pier and Harbour Authority

Work highlights

  • Advising Peel Ports (Clydeport) in connection with the Clydeport (COP 26 etc.) Harbour Revision Order 2021.
  • Advising the Department of Infrastructure (Isle of Man Government) 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 (including the related 4 day Public Inquiry).


Bartons‘ maritime team is regularly instructed by marine insurers, often in matters pertaining to marine engineering disputes and injury at sea. Jo Pummery, who leads the Plymouth practice, is ‘very well respected by the P&I Clubs, and incredibly well versed in wide ranging shipping disputes’. The ‘commercially savvy’ Lee Hassall specialises in marine incidents with a focus on total loss claims. Barrister Alistair Tawse sports expertise in injury claims, fire investigations, contractual disputes and professional negligence claims.

Practice head(s):

Jo Pummery

Other key lawyers:

Lee Hassall; Alistair Tawse


‘I’ve dealt with this team for many years and have always found the practice knowledgeable and professional. They are able to translate what are at times very complex and difficult subjects, pitching their level of technical “speak” appropriately.’

‘Lee Hassal – down to earth and totally unaffected by how successful he has been in the shipping sector. A real pleasure to spend time with and very commercially savvy.’

Jo Pummery – very well respected by the P&I Clubs, and incredibly well versed in wide ranging shipping disputes. A real class act, and somebody who clients instantly warm to.’

Key clients

Sompo Canopius Marine

British Marine Ltd/QBE

Shipowners Protection Ltd

Pantaenius UK Ltd

RSA Insurance – Marine Claims

Beazley Group

North P&I t/a Sunderland Marine

Helvetia Marine Services Ltd

Markel International

Sailport PLC

Sedgwick International UK

The Wolf Rock Boat Company Ltd

CAL Ltd (Guernsey)

Hemel Marina Limited (UK Company)

Work highlights

  • Instructed by QBE Insurance (Europe) Limited to defend multiple claims brought by passengers who had been injured whilst travelling onboard the insured’s chain ferry.
  • Acting for Markel International to investigate and defend motor yacht fire in marina, causing damage and loss to other vessels and marina.
  • Instructed by the Wolf Rock Boat Company Ltd to draft and advise upon their Distributor Agreement for dealers throughout the UK and Europe.

Clyde & Co

Having merged with BLM in July 2022, Clyde & Co provides clients with support in domestic and international maritime litigation as well as a broad range of wet and dry shipping matters. Praised as a ‘true professional’, Gemma Pearce leads the practice and routinely handles all aspects of claims, particularly those pertaining to P&I and FD&D insurance issues. Associate solicitor Stephen Favali is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Gemma Pearce

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Favali


‘I have had the pleasure of working with Gemma Pearce. Gemma is amongst the very best of the lawyers that I have had the opportunity to work with. Her attention to detail is meticulous, evident from her reporting which is superb. Gemma is a true professional but incredibly personable with it.’

‘Location is key, servicing the SW and wales in a niche area is vital. That being said the service and knowledge are second to none. Their extensive knowledge of maritime employment and passenger claims makes them an invaluable partner in some of the most complex and delicate claims.’

‘Feeling part of a team is rare with external lawyers, however, Gemma Pearce manages this effortlessly. The ease to access her knowledge particularly in matters of passenger and crew claims set her apart from rivals.’

Work highlights