Firm Profile > MFB > London, England


Shipping Tier 2

With a 'very well-established and trusted shipping practice', the team at specialist firm MFB has experience across a broad range of shipping matters including emergency response, ship finance, shipbuilding, and insurance. The team is also very active in the superyacht space. The practice is praised by clients as 'big enough to handle high-value and complex transactions, yet small enough to provide a personal touch'. Practice head Edward Gray handles both contentious and non-contentious work, including arbitration. Andrew Hughes has significant expertise in handling matters in the Far East, while Mark Seward and Asad Naqvi are also 'stand-out individuals'. Assistant solicitor James Foley-Comer joined in September 2019 from Stephenson Harwood; he is well-regarded as 'very commercial and extremely personable.'

Practice head(s):


‘MFB operates as an old-style law firm where relationships with clients matter and service is uppermost in the fee earners’ minds rather than how much can be billed. This is refreshing since so many of the City law firms have lost this touch and have become corporate machines.’

‘The team is very flexible, responsive at any time of the day with clear-cut answers. Very helpful and understanding of client needs.’

‘James Foley-Comer’s strengths lie not only in his industry expertise and input into the underlying contracts, but also his ability to coordinate multiple parties and manage the transaction process efficiently. James is very responsive, proactive and he communicates well, making sure all parties are kept in the loop. I believe these attributes together with his ability to see the bigger picture are qualities which demonstrate why he is very highly valued by his clients.’

‘The firm is focused on the superyacht and shipping markets and related transactions without the distractions of attempting to cover too many ancillary practice areas. They are highly responsive both to new instructions and equally exchanging ideas and taking soundings. MFB has a strong knowledge of key providers and the current marketplace and practices.’

‘Jonathan Watson is superb, always competent, diligent and reactive to client demands.’

‘MFB has a strong breadth of knowledge and experience across the maritime industry, including in the superyacht space. As a large boutique firm, they are big enough to handle high-value and complex transactions, yet small enough to provide a personal touch and competitive rates. Their lawyers come across as sharp, responsive and focused on delivering timely and commercially aware advice.’

‘James Foley-Comer is very commercial and able to explain risks and consequences in a way which is easy to understand. James is extremely personable, highly responsive and always focuses on driving transactions forward which is why he is a pleasure to deal with and very highly regarded.’

‘MFB has an excellent reputation in the commercial shipping market and the firm clearly places a heavy emphasis on working closely with its clients and understanding their business requirements.’

‘Mark Seward and Asad Naqvi are very experienced and commercially-minded shipping litigators.’

Firm history: MFB (formerly More Fisher Brown) was established in June 1988 – over 30 years ago.

At the start, there were seven lawyers who saw the need for a boutique firm specialising in “dry” shipping work. Their belief was that the large firms were increasingly focusing on corporate and banking work, which was seen as being more profitable, and that shipping clients deserved a dedicated service provider.

The aim then – as now – was to provide efficient advice to clients across the shipping world,  placing great importance on working closely with our clients and understanding their business requirements.  Whether clients need a big team to handle the largest of matters, or just one adviser for a single call, they will always get a personal touch from experienced practitioners, at reasonable cost.   

Over time, we have also developed very good relationships with a network of specialist lawyers in other countries, with whom we regularly act in relation to multi-jurisdictional matters.

The firm has grown to the present complement of about 30 lawyers, making it one of the largest shipping teams in the City of London. Likewise, the breadth of the work we do has grown and we now advise on all areas of shipping and related law, both contentious and non-contentious.

Practice areas: Historically, we are known for our work with owners and operators and their insurers, but we also regularly assist insurers, shipyards and boatbuilders, ship managers, salvors and trading clients.

MFB advises across the full range of contentious matters in the shipping sector.  Although our aim is to reach an acceptable solution short of trial or arbitration wherever possible (including through Alternative Dispute Resolution), MFB handles matters in arbitration and the High Court, having acted on some of the leading shipping and insurance cases over the past three decades at all levels, including the European Court of Justice, the House of Lords/Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.  Two recent such examples are our successful conduct of the Ocean Victory matter up to and including the decision of the Supreme Court, a case that had significant implications for both the shipping and insurance sectors, as well as our involvement in Enka v Chubb, a “seminal” case for the arbitration community that also reached the Supreme Courts.

Our wet shipping team has expanded over the years, most recently in 2018 with the recruitment of three senior joiners from other firms such that we are able to handle even the largest shipping accidents: our Casualty Response practice continues to expand and our capability can be seen here.  

MFB’s corporate team handles a range of high value, complex commercial shipping and insurance-related transactions: for example, vessel sale and purchases, business acquisitions, start-ups and reorganisations, cross-border joint ventures and offshore projects.  It also has significant yacht and superyacht related experience, advising ultra-high net worth owners, managers, corporate service providers and shipyards on newbuild and sale and purchase projects, finance, ownership structures and insurance claims: see here for more details about our superyacht capability. 

We have also widened our offering to include insurance (both marine and non-marine) and advise on sale of goods, cross-border insolvency and other similar issues. 

Lastly, responding to the growing demand for advice from industry legal experts on the development of compliance policies and procedures that balance our clients’ legal obligations and commercial needs, we also advise clients on regulatory and compliance issues such as anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, data protection and sanctions, environmental compliance and cyber security.

Department Name Email Telephone
Shipping Edward Gray +44(0)20 7330 8000
Photo Name Position Profile
 Joanna Bruce  photo Joanna Bruce Partner
 James Burrows  photo James Burrows Solicitor
 Francesca Cappa  photo Francesca Cappa Solicitor
 Kevin Cooper  photo Kevin Cooper Partner
 Alex Ferrigno  photo Alex Ferrigno Solicitor
 James Foley-Comer photo James Foley-Comer Solicitor
 Peter Gercans  photo Peter Gercans Partner
 Edward Gray  photo Edward Gray Partner
 Peter Harris  photo Peter Harris Solicitor
 Ian Hawkes  photo Ian Hawkes Partner
 Gerard Hopkins  photo Gerard Hopkins Solicitor
 Andrew Hughes  photo Andrew Hughes Partner
 Kirsten Jackson  photo Kirsten Jackson Solicitor
 Simon Johnson  photo Simon Johnson Partner
 Pernille Kuld Eriksen  photo Pernille Kuld Eriksen Solicitor
 Clio Lamboura  photo Clio Lamboura Solicitor
 Benjamin Middleton  photo Benjamin Middleton Solicitor
 Matthew Montgomery  photo Matthew Montgomery Partner
 Asad Naqvi  photo Asad Naqvi Partner
 Baris Oztoprak  photo Baris Oztoprak Solicitor
 Helene Peter-Davies  photo Helene Peter-Davies Partner
 Eduardo Prim  photo Eduardo Prim Partner
 Nico Saunders  photo Nico Saunders Solicitor
 Mark Seward  photo Mark Seward Partner
 Jonathan Steer  photo Jonathan Steer Partner
 Adam Vrahnos  photo Adam Vrahnos Solicitor (Australian Qualified)
 Jonathan Watson  photo Jonathan Watson Partner
 Nick Wilson  photo Nick Wilson Partner
 Vaughan Wise-Dolpire  photo Vaughan Wise-Dolpire Solicitor
 Simon Wolsey  photo Simon Wolsey Partner
 Charlie Young  photo Charlie Young Partner
Chinese (Mandarin)

MFB is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive work environment within our community of talented lawyers and staff. It is important to us that the diversity of our clients and wider international community is represented by creating a culture in which everyone can succeed and progress. In this way we believe we can work better to provide our clients with the best possible outcomes.