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Providing expertise in the Marine Sector; including International Trade & Shipping, Marine (Re) Insurance, Legal Risk Management Regulatory and land developments in Ports, Harbours and Marinas.

Trading and shipping ventures involve financial and legal risk. This can often lead to misunderstandings, giving rise to disputes and disagreements which need to be resolved quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.

Setfords can also advise and assist the parties with the drafting of the various contractual documents which are required to record the agreements between the parties in respect of various trading and shipping ventures, in resolving the differences and disputes or any litigation arising and where appropriate or necessary, investigate or pursue claims or recoveries.

The development and management of ports and harbours in the UK and internationally is an area that is seeing immense evolution. Changing political, regulatory and technological factors are all playing a part in making the port and harbour sector increasingly complex. This includes technological advancement in unmanned or Marine Autonomous Surface Ships (known as MASS) where the International framework of Regulation and Legislation is currently under review.

As such the need for holistic legal guidance that incorporates specialism across, insurance, marine and contract law and commercial property is vital.

With strong links to industry, government and academia in the sector, Setfords can provide strategic advice for the future based on its unique industry and commercial insight.

A range of services is offered by the expert team at Setfords:

  • Site assembly, sales and acquisitions
  • Development agreements and leases
  • Port concessions
  • Estate and project management
  • Regulating leases including Crown Estate leases of the sea bed and local authority leases
  • Industrial estates
  • Regeneration
  • Corporate support
  • Dispute resolution
  • Insurance (Marine & Non-Marine)

Download power point on US & MASS

Download power point template US & MASS amended

Read more about our marine services


Our team

Our marine services

Andrew was the appointed Liaison Officer, observer and rapporteur for IUMI @IMO for five years, after the financial crash of 2007/8.

IUMI was one of the original six Non-Government Organisations at IMO in 1948/1958, which is the only UN Agency in the British Isles, and represents marine (re)insurers [and their US$ 35+ billion annual turnover, where IUMI is the only NGO which represents financial services community @IMO.]

He dealt with such politically-sensitive issues as Piracy and Armed Robbery in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, Guidelines for Privately-Contracted Armed Security Guards aboard merchant ships, UN/EU Sanctions, the amendments to SOLAS required to improve weighing of cargo containers prior to loading in Cargo Container Ships in ports and harbours world-wide, and the IMO SOLAS review of Passenger Ships post the M/S “COSTA CONCORDIA” casualty, in January 2012.

Moray Hughes and Andrew Higgs have acted for insurers and insureds on various Marine and Non-Marine (Re) insurance matters; both domestically and internationally; including hull & machinery, cargo, liability, kidnap and ransom, professional indemnity and political risks.

International trade & shipping, including carriage of goods by sea, admiralty matters and the sale & purchase of ships, and other sea going vessels.

Moray Hughes has acted in various international trade and other cross-border commercial transactions and has advised on transport, banking and insurance documents, including letters of credit, bills of lading and insurance policies. He has acted for importers and exporters, freight forwarders, agents and distributors. Also;

  • Various trading disputes involving oil, gas and other commodities
  • A wide range of shipping transactions including charterparty disputes and cargo claims, collisions and salvage
  • Sale and purchase of ships and other sea going vessels including oil rigs
  • Fraudulent aspects of shipping transactions

Sue has acted for a member of the Major Ports Group in relation to Commercial leases and licenses across the dock estate and for tenants of a vehicle handling compound.

She also acted for Harbour Commissioners in the grant of a Regulating lease of a river from the Crown Estate.

Setfords is an Associate Member of the British Ports Association where Andrew and Susan will be presenting at the BPA Annual Conference on 11 October 2018 which is hosted by the Port of Tyne.

Susan Macpherson has acted for four marina-owning clients in relation to the acquisition and development of their properties in some 32 sites, both in the UK and in Europe. Her work has been recognised by her clients as being first class.

Susan's work has been both varied and very complex, involving:

  • UK and European joint ventures
  • Advice on the tendering process for a marina site in Cyprus
  • The purchase and development of unusual sites such as a Quarry, an operational ferry service including an ancient pier and train
  • Site assembly
  • Advice when dealing with the Environment Agency on river based marinas
  • The development of industrial estates, inner city regeneration and land assembly for construction of a Premier League football club
  • Advising on and project managing the legals in relation to the development construction and use of mixed use estates comprising offices, hotels, cinemas, blocks of flats, housing estates, marinas, boatyards, locks, sea walls, dredged channels, land reclamation, yacht clubs, bars, restaurants, retail, an innovation centre, an Edwardian pavilion and multi-storey car park
  • Infrastructure projects - project managing representation of objectors at local plan and port planning inquiries, instructing expert evidence ad writing evidence. Negotiating unilateral undertakings and agreements
  • Instructing Queens Counsel at planning inquiries
  • Managing pre planning agreements and planning application process, s106 and other planning agreements
  • Working with Parliamentary Agents in seeking amendments to draft statutory legislation
  • Negotiating local authority, port authority, harbour commissioners and crown leases of the foreshore, sea bed and the bed of inland lakes and tidal and rivers and the carrying out of major and minor works
  • Corporate support and secured lending and receiverships sales for major banks

Latest example: Purchase of a Marina in Glasgow for James Watt Marina Limited

In 2017, Susan project managed the legal work in conjunction with Scottish lawyers relating to the Purchase of a Marina business with a Development lease at James Watt Dock from Landlord James Watt Dock LLP. The right to purchase the site came as the result of a Competitive Tender process and completion within 4 weeks. This involved negotiation of a long lease and purchase of the business as a going concern.

Public International Law involves all aspects of national, regional and international shipping regulation, safety and compliance, including marine pollution.

Andrew Higgs was invited by the Committee Chairman to participate in this Maritime UK Working Group in January 2016, and has been one of a small group of BMLA lawyers actively participating in the regular meetings. He has recently suggested editorial amendments from a legal and regulatory view to the first published version of the Code of Practice, where a second iteration is due to be published in the summer of 2018. This is a world-leading, thought leadership protocol document of UK so-called “soft law” Guidelines for “Small Ships” of less than 24 metres Length Over All.

He spoke at the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton on the insurance implications of US/MASS in November 2016, and then was invited by The Greenwich Forum to speak in the House of Commons on the legal implications of US/MASS, in January 2017.

He was one of the editors of the UK-led paper presented to MSC @IMO [“MSC98/20/2”], which first proposed that US/MASS be on the IMO agenda, and attended the LEGAL Committee meeting at IMO at the invitation of IFSMA in April 2018, where the legal issues raised by US/MASS were discussed at IMO for the first time, and where CMI presented a key IMO Information Paper [“LEG 105/11”].

Moray Hughes has acted in various matters involving marine pollution and has acted for shipping interests in the defence of marine pollution prosecutions.

Dispute Resolution includes;

  • Negotiation, compromise & early neutral evaluation of claims
  • Litigation in the commercial court/admiralty court, including personal injury
  • Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including arbitration, conciliation and mediation
  • Jurisdictional disputes
  • Security & enforcement proceedings including ship arrests
  • Insolvency proceedings including recovery of assets
  • Injunctions
  • Supervising legal proceedings in foreign/overseas jurisdictions