MFB > London, England > Firm Profile

MFB
FISHMONGERS' CHAMBERS
1 FISHMONGERS' HALL WHARF
LONDON
EC4R 3AE
England

Transport > Shipping Tier 2

In 2020, MFB handled high-profile disputes related to groundings, cargo damage, collisions and ship detentions. The firm's wet shipping work is complemented by its active dry shipping practice, which encompasses both contentious and non-contentious matters. The sizeable team is led by Edward Gray, who predominantly acts for ship owners, shipyards and charterers. Elsewhere, Kevin Cooper focuses on international casualty response matters, while Mark Seward is experienced in charterparty and bills of lading disputes. James Foley-Comer made partner in January 2021; he is 'client-focused and calm under pressure'. Andrew Hughes is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Edward Gray

Testimonials

‘MFB operates as a boutique firm but has the scalability to respond to the largest of cases. The team have a wealth of experience across both wet and dry shipping. They are responsive as well as being acutely aware of their clients’ priorities and commercial interests.’

‘MFB is a very approachable and collegiate firm packed with experienced solicitors who can more than hold their own against the larger firms.’

‘MFB is a law firm that combines top qualities of large law firms with the flexibility of a boutique law firm.’

‘A highly responsive, boutique shipping specialism with superb breadth, making them the “go-to” London shipping firm.’

‘James Foley-Comer has acted for us on a number of ship financing transactions. With his background of advising banks and financial institutions, James is very dialled-in to the needs of both lenders and borrowers, and by drawing on this expertise, he is able to focus on the key points that matter.’

‘Kevin Cooper is highly qualified and experienced. He provides practical advice in an efficient and solution-oriented manner.’

‘Kevin Cooper is rigorous in his strategic approach, ensuring all avenues are explored in a case whilst keeping fees reasonable – and therefore ideal for multijurisdictional disputes.’

‘Mark Seward is quick-thinking and very commercial. He has great experience and has good relations with a lot of charterers, and he always performs well in resolving charterer disputes.’

Key clients

American Club

Dominion Marine (Monaco)

MYA Monaco

Britannia

MECO/Charterers Club

Gard

Japan P&I

West of England

London Club

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company

North of England

Norwegian Hull Club

Oldendorff Carriers

Minerva Bunkering Pte Ltd

Skuld

Standard

Steamship Mutual

Swedish Club

UK P&I Club

Shipowners

Andrew France/Elusive Yachting

Work highlights

  • Advised Enka LLC on strategy and insurance issues leading to their appeals to the English Court of Appeal and UK’s Supreme Court during 2020 in relation to the refusal of an anti-suit injunction.
  • Successfully acted for Kawasaki Kaisen Kaisha Ltd in the Court of Appeals case KAWASAKI KAISEN KAISHA LTD v JAMES KEMBALL LIMITED, which clarified the law on certain economic torts, in a matter in which £30m was at stake.
  • Acted for Andrew France/Elusive Yachting in successfully pursuing claims against the suppliers of a luxury yacht for defects, including countering opponents’ tactics such as entering into company administration.

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.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Shipping Edward Grayegray@m-f-b.co.uk+44(0)20 7330 8000
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WISTA

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.