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Canada Guide

Transportation: Shipping — Nationwide - Canada

From the Chambers Canada guide

What the team is known for Distinguished Vancouver firm widely recognised for the breadth and depth of its experience of commercial marine transactions and litigation. Acts for a number of the International Group of P&I clubs, as well as insurers, underwriters, terminal operators and shipowners based both in Canada and abroad.

Notable practitioners  

Gary Wharton has extensive experience of all aspects of maritime law, including charter party disputes, construction, marine pollution and collision. He also advises on non-marine insurance, fire and property loss.

Firm founding partner Peter Swanson is highly regarded for his work in the areas of vessel arrest, marine pollution, collision and transport documentation. He is also recognised for his expertise in health law.

Thomas Hawkins is a founding partner of the firm who is known for his litigation expertise including both maritime casualty and oil pollution matters. He provides advice to P&I clubs, shipowners, marine insurers and terminal operators in relation to all aspects of maritime law.

David Jones' practice encompasses a wide array of shipping-related matters, including shipowner defence, casualties, cargo cases, terminal work and advice to domestic and international P&I clubs.

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From the Chambers Canada guide

Basic facts about the department

Shipping - 10 partners, 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Maintains a first-class reputation for its national presence in the maritime industry, handling a variety of regulatory, commercial and litigation matters. Advises both Canadian and international shipowners, operators, charterers, liner companies, P&I clubs and underwriters. The firm offers advice on shipping in the Arctic through its Team North initiative.

Strengths 

"They are very responsive, very practical and very knowledgeable in maritime matters."

"BLG is our one-stop shop." 

Work highlights Assisted with the purchase, financing and reflagging of a Greek vessel on behalf of Project Resolve, a company affiliated with Chantier Davie Canada.

Successfully represented the North of England P&I Club and Navig8 Ship Management in setting aside the arrest and seizure of a vessel in Canada further to a shipbuilding dispute in China.

Significant clients Canada Steamship Lines, Shipowners Assurance Management, Gard North America, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MSC.

Notable practitioners  

Jeremy Bolger is widely viewed as an established authority on commercial, administrative and regulatory maritime matters. His clients include terminal operators, shipowners, charterers, financial institutions and P&I clubs. 

Peter Pamel is highly regarded for his experience of charter party disputes, defence claims, vehicle arrest, vessel finance and casualties. He acts for P&I clubs, H&M underwriters, shipowners and operators globally and his practice includes a notable focus on Arctic shipping. One source said: "Peter is very driven to please his clients. That sounds banal, but he's always very service-oriented. He is practical, which is huge, personable, and more importantly he's very knowledgeable."

Jean-Marie Fontaine is described by sources as "very meticulous" and "very much the brains of the operation." He has appeared before all levels of provincial and federal court and is known for his work involving cargo claims, construction and repair disputes, reflagging of vessels and marine insurance.

Graham Walker is the regional leader of the marine group in Vancouver, from where he acts for terminals, P&I and FD&D clubs, H&M underwriters, shipping lines and charterers worldwide. He is praised for his "good interpersonal skills and attention to detail."

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From the Chambers Canada guide

What the team is known for Enjoys a strong reputation as a significant maritime and transportation boutique in Montréal. Advises clients including P&I clubs, underwriters and shipping companies on all manner of marine litigation, as well as arbitration and mediation. The firm also provides advisory services in relation to a wide range of contracts and bills of lading.

New developments Richard Desgagnés joined the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright in January 2016.

Notable practitioners  

David Colford is well respected for his expertise in maritime litigation and multi-modal transportation matters. His practice also includes a strong emphasis on corporate/commercial law.

Danièle Dion has extensive experience in litigation and ADR, as well as commercial and regulatory matters relating to the maritime industry. Her expertise is grounded in over a decade of work for the Admiralty Section of the Canadian Department of Justice.

Richard Desgagnés is a recent addition to the team, who brings extensive expertise spanning both contentious and non-contentious maritime law. He advises a variety of clients including shipowners, charterers, terminal operators, financiers, manufacturers and government agencies on both domestic and cross-border matters.

Victor DeMarco's maritime practice covers a range of litigation matters, such as cargo claims, collisions, casualties and oil pollution. He also offers experience in mediation and arbitration.

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From the Chambers Canada guide

Basic facts about the department

Shipping - 7 partners, 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Offers considerable experience of maritime law, acting for an impressive client list on both wet and dry work. Expertise encompasses litigation, shipping contracts, vessel purchase and financing, shipbuilding and repair and marine insurance. Frequently represents shippers, vessel owners, P&I clubs, and major Canadian operators of tugs and barges. Acts for major Canadian airlines and aircraft manufacturers on a range of corporate/commercial matters, as well as advising on related IP, product liability and litigation concerns. The team also represents financiers and benefits from the support of the firm's transport expertise throughout its worldwide network.

Strengths 

"They are well respected and well known within the local maritime community. Their overall performance is excellent and they are our go-to legal representatives."

"They are probably the best firm we've ever used." 

New developments Vancouver firm Bull Housser completed its combination with global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright on January 1, 2017.

Work highlights Acted for Vancouver and Victoria Shipyards in connection with a subcontract for the repair and modernisation of ships belonging to the Canadian Department of National Defence, as well as advising Vancouver Shipyards on its agreement with BC Ferry Services for the construction of a passenger and vehicle cable ferry.

Advised Shipowners' Mutual Protection & Indemnity Association in relation to an investigation into the sinking of the 'Leviathan II' in October 2015.

Significant clients Seaspan, Northern Transportation Company, New Gold, Wärtsilä Canada, Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association.

Notable practitioners  

John Bromley is a distinguished lawyer who is particularly well known for his experience of dispute resolution, as well as advising on maritime insurance and shipbuilding matters. One client said: "We can comfortably rely on him to handle complex maritime issues. He is professional, knowledgeable and formidable - detail-oriented with a pragmatic approach to settling claims." 

Shelley Chapelski is a "very solid lawyer with a very good client base" who is "generally well regarded." She is representing Shipowners' Mutual P&I Association in connection with the capsizing of the 'Leviathan II' in 2015, which resulted in six casualties.

Associate Andrew Stainer is referred to as an up-and-coming maritime lawyer who is worth "keeping on the radar." His clients appreciate his "professional, approachable, friendly and witty" demeanour and say he "always works to get the best possible result."

Alain Ricard is the head of the Canadian transport team.

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From the Chambers Canada guide

What the team is known for Boutique firm with strong transportation expertise in both the marine and the rail and road sectors. Advises on a wide range of matters, including vessel financing, licensing and registration, arrests, cargo claims, salvage, collisions, railway security and M&A. Clients include trucking companies and short-line railways, as well as insurers and P&I clubs.

Notable practitioners  

Rui Fernandes' practice covers all aspects of maritime, trucking and rail and road law. His broad client base comprises both domestic and international companies.

Gordon Hearn is active on both the marine and the trucking sides, with a particular focus on representing shippers, carriers and insurers. He assists clients with the full range of their regulatory, commercial and litigation needs. 

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From the Chambers Canada guide

What the team is known for Well-respected shipping boutique with notable experience of both litigation and commercial matters. Represents P&I clubs, shipping companies, insurance underwriters, terminal operators and government agencies. Based in Vancouver, the firm enjoys a prominent reputation nationwide.

Notable practitioners  

Christopher Giaschi is dubbed "the best maritime lawyer in the country" by interviewees. His broad practice includes expertise in transportation litigation, marine insurance, charter parties and carriage of goods.

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From the Chambers Canada guide

What the team is known for Significant Toronto-based maritime and insurance boutique firm. Advises a range of both domestic and international clients, including marine insurers and insurance brokers, P&I clubs, freight forwarders and shipping companies. Experience encompasses ship sale agreements and shipbuilding contracts, cargo and casualty work and maritime personal injury, among other areas of expertise.

Notable practitioners  

The eponymous Marc Isaacs is an accomplished litigator who is described by interviewees as a "hard worker" and "a very nice guy all-around." He is well known and respected in the industry for his expertise in both maritime and insurance law.

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From the Chambers Canada guide

What the team is known for A significant player in Atlantic Canada with a large maritime practice. The team provides advice on casualties, collisions and insurance claims. It also regularly handles matters relating to financing and commercial disputes.

Notable practitioners  

Will Moreira QC has over three decades of experience in maritime law and commands the widespread respect of his peers. He represents shipowners and builders, insurers and lenders in a wide range of matters, including regulatory prosecutions, arrests and seizures, as well as advising on litigation and arbitration.

Paul Harquail devotes a significant part of his practice to maritime law, advising on matters related to insurance, tax and transportation agreements. He acts for P&I clubs, transportation and insurance companies.

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From the Chambers Canada guide

What the team is known for Supported by the firm's robust tax and litigation practices, the aviation group offers advice on all aspects of the industry to airlines, financiers, underwriters, lessors, manufacturers and operators. Operating primarily out of Montréal, the firm's maritime group acts for key players in the sector on a range of matters including litigation, marine insurance and commercial transactions.

Strengths 

"Our company has had a long and fruitful relationship with this firm. I have found their lawyers to be very effective and attentive to our requests for professional advice."

Work highlights Acted for QBE Marine and Energy on a claim brought by DCL against the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority concerning the insurance coverage for the construction of a new terminal.

Significant clients Algoma Central, St. Lawrence Seaway Management, AIG Canada, Great Lakes Pilotage Authority.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Cullen is praised as a "a solid adviser in maritime" and is an active presence in marine transportation, representing underwriters, insurance companies and financiers. He also advises on commercial insurance and international trade.

Clients appreciate the depth of Laurent Fortier's subject matter expertise, stating that "he knows the players and the industry on the shipping side." His practice covers maritime law as well as commercial insurance.

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Senior Statesmen

Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

David McEwen QC of Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP is recognised for his long-standing experience of maritime law. His particular areas of focus include casualties, marine insurance, tug and tow matters and yacht construction disputes.

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Band 1

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Jeremy Bolger is widely viewed as an established authority on commercial, administrative and regulatory maritime matters. His clients include terminal operators, shipowners, charterers, financial institutions and P&I clubs. 

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Band 1

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers Canada guide

John Bromley is a distinguished lawyer who is particularly well known for his experience of dispute resolution, as well as advising on maritime insurance and shipbuilding matters. One client said: "We can comfortably rely on him to handle complex maritime issues. He is professional, knowledgeable and formidable - detail-oriented with a pragmatic approach to settling claims." 

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Band 1

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers Canada guide

Shelley Chapelski is a "very solid lawyer with a very good client base" who is "generally well regarded." She is representing Shipowners' Mutual P&I Association in connection with the capsizing of the 'Leviathan II' in 2015, which resulted in six casualties.

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Band 1

Brisset Bishop

From the Chambers Canada guide

David Colford is well respected for his expertise in maritime litigation and multi-modal transportation matters. His practice also includes a strong emphasis on corporate/commercial law.

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Band 1

Giaschi & Margolis

From the Chambers Canada guide

Christopher Giaschi is dubbed "the best maritime lawyer in the country" by interviewees. His broad practice includes expertise in transportation litigation, marine insurance, charter parties and carriage of goods.

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Band 1

Isaacs & Co. Barristers & Solicitors

From the Chambers Canada guide

The eponymous Marc Isaacs is an accomplished litigator who is described by interviewees as a "hard worker" and "a very nice guy all-around." He is well known and respected in the industry for his expertise in both maritime and insurance law.

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Band 1

Stewart McKelvey

From the Chambers Canada guide

Will Moreira QC has over three decades of experience in maritime law and commands the widespread respect of his peers. He represents shipowners and builders, insurers and lenders in a wide range of matters, including regulatory prosecutions, arrests and seizures, as well as advising on litigation and arbitration.

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Band 1

Langlois lawyers, LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

John O'Connor of Langlois lawyers, LLP is a well-known name in the field of maritime law. His practice encompasses marine insurance in all its forms, commercial law and energy-related matters.

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Band 2

Stikeman Elliott LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Peter Cullen is praised as a "a solid adviser in maritime" and is an active presence in marine transportation, representing underwriters, insurance companies and financiers. He also advises on commercial insurance and international trade.

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Band 2

Brisset Bishop

From the Chambers Canada guide

Richard Desgagnés is a recent addition to the team, who brings extensive expertise spanning both contentious and non-contentious maritime law. He advises a variety of clients including shipowners, charterers, terminal operators, financiers, manufacturers and government agencies on both domestic and cross-border matters.

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Band 2

Brisset Bishop

From the Chambers Canada guide

Danièle Dion has extensive experience in litigation and ADR, as well as commercial and regulatory matters relating to the maritime industry. Her expertise is grounded in over a decade of work for the Admiralty Section of the Canadian Department of Justice.

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Band 2

Fernandes Hearn LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Rui Fernandes' practice covers all aspects of maritime, trucking and rail and road law. His broad client base comprises both domestic and international companies.

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Band 2

Bernard LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Thomas Hawkins is a founding partner of the firm who is known for his litigation expertise including both maritime casualty and oil pollution matters. He provides advice to P&I clubs, shipowners, marine insurers and terminal operators in relation to all aspects of maritime law.

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Band 2

Metcalf & Company

From the Chambers Canada guide

Frank Metcalf QC of Metcalf & Company is a seasoned maritime lawyer based in Halifax. He comes highly recommended for his "helpful local knowledge," and his "very practical and commercial" advice.

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Band 2

Oland and Company

From the Chambers Canada guide

Barry Oland of Oland and Company is regarded for his expertise in maritime and transportation litigation. He provides advice on insurance and collisions, and earns particular recognition for his cargo recovery practice.

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Band 2

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Peter Pamel is highly regarded for his experience of charter party disputes, defence claims, vehicle arrest, vessel finance and casualties. He acts for P&I clubs, H&M underwriters, shipowners and operators globally and his practice includes a notable focus on Arctic shipping. One source said: "Peter is very driven to please his clients. That sounds banal, but he's always very service-oriented. He is practical, which is huge, personable, and more importantly he's very knowledgeable."

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Band 2

Route Transport & Trade Law

From the Chambers Canada guide

William Sharpe of Route Transport & Trade Law has a long-standing practice which includes both maritime commercial transactions and maritime claims. He is praised by peers, who say he enjoys a "high profile in the national sphere."

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Band 2

Bernard LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Firm founding partner Peter Swanson is highly regarded for his work in the areas of vessel arrest, marine pollution, collision and transport documentation. He is also recognised for his expertise in health law.

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Band 2

Bernard LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Gary Wharton has extensive experience of all aspects of maritime law, including charter party disputes, construction, marine pollution and collision. He also advises on non-marine insurance, fire and property loss.

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Band 3

Brisset Bishop

From the Chambers Canada guide

Victor DeMarco's maritime practice covers a range of litigation matters, such as cargo claims, collisions, casualties and oil pollution. He also offers experience in mediation and arbitration.

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Band 3

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Jean-Marie Fontaine is described by sources as "very meticulous" and "very much the brains of the operation." He has appeared before all levels of provincial and federal court and is known for his work involving cargo claims, construction and repair disputes, reflagging of vessels and marine insurance.

^ Return to Top

Band 3

Stikeman Elliott LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Clients appreciate the depth of Laurent Fortier's subject matter expertise, stating that "he knows the players and the industry on the shipping side." His practice covers maritime law as well as commercial insurance.

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Band 3

Stewart McKelvey

From the Chambers Canada guide

Paul Harquail devotes a significant part of his practice to maritime law, advising on matters related to insurance, tax and transportation agreements. He acts for P&I clubs, transportation and insurance companies.

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Band 3

Fernandes Hearn LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Gordon Hearn is active on both the marine and the trucking sides, with a particular focus on representing shippers, carriers and insurers. He assists clients with the full range of their regulatory, commercial and litigation needs. 

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Band 3

Bernard LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

David Jones' practice encompasses a wide array of shipping-related matters, including shipowner defence, casualties, cargo cases, terminal work and advice to domestic and international P&I clubs.

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Band 3

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

From the Chambers Canada guide

Graham Walker is the regional leader of the marine group in Vancouver, from where he acts for terminals, P&I and FD&D clubs, H&M underwriters, shipping lines and charterers worldwide. He is praised for his "good interpersonal skills and attention to detail."

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Up and Coming

Metcalf & Company

From the Chambers Canada guide

The "bright and enthusiastic" Eric Machum of Metcalf & Company skilfully serves a roster of clients including shipowners, freight forwarders and marine service providers in connection with both regulatory and commercial matters.

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Associates to watch

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers Canada guide

Associate Andrew Stainer is referred to as an up-and-coming maritime lawyer who is worth "keeping on the radar." His clients appreciate his "professional, approachable, friendly and witty" demeanour and say he "always works to get the best possible result."

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