Marine Law

Bartons’ marine department has developed a reputation as a niche practice meeting the diverse needs of the industry.

Our clients range from UK and international marine insurers, P & I clubs, ship owners and operators to yacht clubs, local ports and harbours, marine-related businesses and the fishing industry.

For contentious issues, we are fully committed to helping you resolve your dispute/claim using Alternative Dispute Resolution and mediation as preferred methods.  We can advise on defence claims, marine insurance disputes, surveyors’ negligence and salvage claims.

For non-contentious issues, we can provide a complete package of marine services, including advice on ship and yacht sale, purchase and registration, marine finance and mortgages, shipbuilding and crew issues.  For commercial marine matters, we can assist with the acquisition or sale of Marinas and their operating businesses, the sale or purchase of other marine businesses either by assets or shares, the grant and assignment of leases and underleases, the renewal of leases and deeds of novation.

We can provide quick advice in relation to ship arrest and detention, shipping casualties, collisions, personal injury and fatal accidents.

We have close links with marine insurers and the shipping industry and play an active role in the British Marine Federation.

Our marine advocacy department deals with the defence of criminal acts, including prosecutions brought by the MCA and MMO and prosecutions for fisheries offences including by IFCAs.

Jo Pummery is cited as a leading individual’ in the Legal 500 2024 for the 10th year running.  In the testimonials, it is commented that she is “the full package, having the right combination of legal experience, professionalism and personality. She has a keen eye for the issues in a case which matter and I have yet to meet a client who did not feel confident in her ability to achieve the best result for them.”

Alistair Tawse is described as “a details man and this shines through in his work. His ability to understand technical expert evidence is very impressive. His advice is measured and demonstrates that he is not only a good lawyer but understands the commercial implications of his advice.”

Praise is also bestowed on the team for their knowledge and professionalism: “Barton’s are leading experts in their field who are very pragmatic issuing their advice but also always looking for the best solutions to the problems you require assistance with.”

 In 2018, Bartons’ marine department were awarded the prestigious Firm of the Year (Regional) in Transport by the Legal 500. The award citation states “Bartons is praised not only for its excellence in law, but for its impressive knowledge of the practicalities of the area”.

In September 2019 the department were pleased to welcome back barrister Alistair Tawse, who has expertise in high value personal injury and fatality claims, as well as experience in handling a breadth of marine insurance matters, including collision claims, shipping casualties and salvage, contractual disputes and professional negligence.

Chambers Guide 2019 listed Bartons as a recognised practitioner and Jo Pummery as a Band 5 lawyer: ‘Joanne Pummery serves as head of Bartons’ shipping department and offers expertise in a variety of marine matters, including passenger personal injury, salvage and negligence claims.  Her clients describe her as a “personable, practical and sensible lawyer.”  Lee Hassall was a Band 5 lawyer: “He is a skilled mediator and continues to offer clients a wealth of experience in marine-related matters, with an emphasis on total loss claims”.

The department was awarded the Devon and Somerset Law Society Client Services Award in 2017 and were delighted to be recognised nationally by The Law Society in the Excellence in Client Service category at the prestigious Excellence Awards ceremony, which took place in October 2019.  The award citation states: “Bartons is praised not only for its excellence in law but for its impressive knowledge of the practicalities of the area”.

In 2020 the department won another national award; the Customer Focus category at the Lexis Nexis Legal Awards 2020.

The team is pleased that their commitment to client service has been recognised and they look forward to assisting you with your marine related enquires.

Marine Law Services

Get in touch…

Contact our Marine Law Team

Lee Hassall

Jo Pummery

Alistair Tawse

Mihaela Hyett

Legal 500 2023 noted “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.”

“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.”

“A friendly and knowledgeable team that goes out of its way to help its clients. They are a down to earth team with genuine experience and insight into the sector in which they operate. Undoubtedly the ‘go to’ team for shipping in the South West.”

 “Just a short note to thank you for your attention to our court case… Finally, we can close this chapter and look forward to returning, comfortably, to sailing in the beautiful Greek Islands again. We wish you and your team all the very best for the future.”

  • Shipping Casualties
  • Personal Injury & Fatal Accident Claims
  • Defence Claims
  • Marine Insurance Disputes
  • Collisions (including yacht racing)
  • Ship Arrest & Detention
  • Pollution
  • Salvage
  • Ship Sale/Purchase/Registration from yachts to fishing vessels
  • Ship Building & Repair
  • Marine Finance/Mortgages
  • Surveyors’ Negligence

  • PACE Interviews
  • Dockyard Health & Safety
  • Health & Safety Advice aboard Superyachts
  • Superyacht Crisis Management
  • Prosecutions/Defence: MCA, MMO, IFCA, EA or HSE
  • Marine Safety
  • Coroners’ Inquests
  • RYA Disciplinary Boards
  • Representation - MAIB Investigations under Caution
  • Fisheries/Quotas Advice