who we are

HFW is an international law firm with over 600 lawyers working across our global network. We advise clients on legal issues in relation to all aspects of international commerce and we are regarded as one of the world’s leading shipping law firms. The expertise, experience and reputation earned in commercial shipping is carried into our yacht practice.
Our yacht team has over 25 years’ experience of working in this intimate industry and our in-depth knowledge combined with our international reach ensures we are pre-eminent in the field.

We recently strengthened our global yachts practice with the hire of a market-leading team in Monaco.
Click here for more information.

Holman Fenwick has a market-leading yacht practice which draws on the experience of its world-renowned shipping team. Holman Fenwick is regarded as “one of the most prominent firms around,” with a “very high profile in the yachting world.” The firm represents some of the world’s leading shipyards as well as a number of prominent HNW yacht owners.

Chambers

Sources highlight the quality of the team’s work, with one lawyer noting that they are “a very solution-driven firm who always find a mutually beneficial result.” Holman Fenwick is also described as having an “extensive network of international contacts” and as being “one of the most visible firms in this market.”

Chambers

We are very pleased to have HFW’s yacht team assisting us with our Volvo Ocean Race matters and particularly impressed by their fast turnaround and commercial approach.

Estefania Esteve, Head of Finance & Legal - Volvo Ocean Race

It’s one of the top law firms in the world in this area of law, so you’re going to the right people with the right experience and the right knowledge.

Chambers 2018

what we do

Confidentiality and privacy are paramount in the yachting industry. We, of course, cannot disclose details of our clients or any of the projects we have been involved in. However, our team is positioned to assist with any aspect of constructing and operating a yacht and we are routinely involved in some of the largest and most complex projects in the yachting industry. We advise on the full lifecycle of yachting issues including, amongst other things:

  • Design agreements and intellectual property issues

  • Construction agreements

  • Financing and leasing arrangements

  • Yacht sale and purchase transactions

  • Ownership structures

  • Registration arrangements

  • Import and export formalities

  • VAT and other tax issues

  • Management agreements

  • Crewing and employment matters

  • Refit and repair contracts

  • Charterparties

  • Sale and purchase of berths

  • Restructuring of distressed loans for yacht owners, banks and builders

  • Physical and cyber security arrangements

  • Health, safety and regulatory compliance

  • Business jets and helicopters

our experts

Jay Tooker

Jay specialises in yacht and ship building, yacht and ship sale and purchase, yacht, ship and asset finance, corporate law and international trade.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8386
Email Jay

Adam Shire

Adam has over 20 years’ experience in the industry and acts regularly for banks and other financial institutions as well as for owners, advising them on finance transactions and sale and purchase of yachts, as well as registrations, management and operating issues.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8264
Email Adam

Elinor Dautlich

Elinor has been advising on yacht related contracts at HFW for more than 20 years. This includes contracts for the design and construction of yachts, the financing, yacht sale and purchase, charters, and yacht management and refit/repair contracts.
Elinor has particular experience in physical and cyber security issues as they relate to yachts and is Co-Chair of the International Bar Association Maritime and Land Transport Committee.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8493
Email Elinor

Alistair Feeney

Alistair has more than 15 years’ experience of handling disputes relating to yacht construction, sale and purchase, refit and repair, charters and broking.  He has acted for builders, owners, charterers and brokers in arbitration and court proceedings in many jurisdictions, including obtaining arrest orders and other protective measures.  Alistair works closely with other members of HFW’s yacht team in managing disputes from an early stage, with the aim of achieving early, successful outcomes.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Disputes

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8424
Email Alistair

William MacLachlan

William advises on a wide range of yacht related matters with a particular focus on VAT, design/intellectual property, construction, sale and purchase, charter, management, refit and repair. William also advises on physical and cyber security on board yachts and on the developing issues relating to the use of drones in the maritime environment. William spent 8 months seconded to a leading German yacht builder.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8007
Email William

Neil Adams

Position: Partner
Specialism: Employment & Disputes

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8418
Email Neil

Alex Sayegh

Alex specialises in the transactional aspects of the commercial yachting industries; advising owners, shipyards and financiers on the construction, refit, repair, sale and purchase of various types of vessels. He has a particular focus on construction contracts for new builds and has extensive experience of negotiating with shipyards and yacht builders throughout the world. Alex also regularly lectures on the subjects of shipbuilding and sale and purchase contracts.

Position: Legal Director
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8394
Email Alex

Jessica Taylor

Jessica specialises in the transactional side of yachting and commercial shipping, advising owners, shipyards, financial institutions, brokerage houses, and designers on all aspects of the construction, refit, sale and purchase, design, management, crewing and chartering of large yachts.

Position: Senior Associate
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8020
Email Jessica

Pauline Arroyo

Ian is a banking and finance lawyer with specialist experience in the shipping, superyacht, offshore and aviation sectors. Ian advises banks and other financial institutions, funds, Islamic investors, insurance companies and owners on a variety of matters including new financings, sale and purchase, leasing, restructurings, work outs and enforcements.

Position: Senior Associate
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8274
Email Ian

Patrick Cheung

Thomas specialises in asset finance, with a particular emphasis on ship, superyacht and aviation finance.
He advises commercial and private wealth banks and other financial institutions, investors, owners, charterers and manufacturers in connection with pre- and post-delivery bilateral and syndicated financings and general banking arrangements.
His work also covers sale and purchase, leasing arrangements, restructurings and workouts.
Thomas has spent time on client secondment at a specialist transport finance bank.

Position: Senior Associate
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8544
Email Thomas

Owen Webb

Owen specialises in yacht-related disputes. He regularly handles matters concerning the sale and purchase, charter, mortgaging and arrest of superyachts for owners, charterers, brokers and financial institutions.

Position: Senior Associate
Specialism: Disputes

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8788
Email Owen

Lizzie Gray

Lizzie advises on all aspects of both contentious and non-contentious employment law and regularly represents employers in the yachting industry and wider maritime sector. She has experience of advising on complex and confidential employment issues including grievances, restraint of trade and business protection, redundancy, drafting employment contracts and procedures and advising clients in discrimination and whistleblowing claims.

Position: Senior Associate
Specialism: Employment & Disputes

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8752
Email Lizzie

Pauline Arroyo

Pauline has a broad experience in yacht-related Customs matters. She advises on EU and French customs issues in all types of yacht transactions and assists in the context of customs controls and litigation in France.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Insurance & Disputes

Paris
Tel: +33 1 44 94 40 50
Email Pauline

Stéphanie Schweitzer

Stéphanie has a broad experience in yacht-related employment and personal injury matters. She regularly advises yacht owners and insurers in relation to passenger’s claim, crew contracts and claims, social security issues. Stéphanie also often assist clients of the yachting industry in relation to contract of carriage, charter party and yacht arrests.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Disputes & Personal Injury

Paris
Tel: +33 1 44 94 31 64
Email Stephanie

Andrew Charlier

An experienced transactional lawyer, Andrew specialises in superyacht purchase and sale, construction, finance, chartering and registration with over 20 years’ experience of representing owners on all aspects of the yachting industry. He also has considerable experience of advising clients on business aviation (purchase and sale), construction and financing of corporate jets.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

Monaco
Tel: +377 92 00 13 22
Email Andrew

Kalliopi Karaiskaki

Kal is a transactional lawyer with diverse experience in international contracts and yacht related matters. She advises banks and owners on sale and purchase, leasings, financings and corporate issues with particular focus on the Greek and Middle East markets.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

Piraeus
Tel: +30 210 429 3978
Email Kalliopi

Tien Tai

Tien has extensive experience in our non-contentious practice, with special focus on yacht building, sale and purchase, registration, crewing and finance in all the major yacht registries including the UAE. His recent experience includes negotiation of yacht refit contracts with GCC yards. Tien has spent time on client secondment at the ship finance team of an international bank.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

Dubai
Tel: +971 4423 0555
Email Tien

Patrick Cheung

Patrick has extensive experience in our non-contentious practice, with special focus on
(i) yacht building, sale and purchase, registration and finance,
(ii) private jet finance, registration, management and operation agreements and
(iii) cruise and leisure industry.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3983 7778
Email Patrick

Henry Fung

Henry has an established shipping practice, handling a wide range of work in both the contentious and non-contentious spheres. He has extensive experience in all aspects of ship, yacht and cruise transactions including construction, sale and purchase and finance matters. On the contentious side, Henry’s work involves acting for ship and yacht owners, buyers and sellers and shipyards on matters including shipbuilding and MoA disputes, charterparty disputes, personal injury claims and insurance claims. He also acts in crew claims, enforcement and ship mortgages.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Disputes & Transactional

Hong Kong/Shanghai
Tel: +852 3983 7777
Tel: +86 21 2080 1111
Email Henry

Angie Lo

Angie is a corporate and finance lawyer with a broad non-contentious practice covering, amongst others things, yacht sale and purchase, yacht building, yacht registration, yacht finance and other commercial yacht-related matters. Being fully tri-lingual in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, Angie often advises clients within Hong Kong and mainland China. Her recent experience includes advising a Hong Kong yacht dealer on the onward sale of an M class super yacht.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

Hong Kong/Shanghai
Tel: +852 3983 7779
Tel: +86 21 2080 1133
Email Angie

John Forrester

John heads the firm’s Asia Pacific Ship Finance practice. He spent the first 30 years of his career working in London, before relocating to HFW’s Singapore office in 2017. John specialises in asset finance and other transactional work across the maritimesector. He represents clients on a wide range of transactional matters, including financing, construction contracts, vessel sale and purchase, vessel registration, charters, joint ventures and debt restructuring/work-outs. John is named as a leading ship finance practitioner by Chambers & Partners Global Guide.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

Singapore
Tel: +65 6411 5350
Email John

Stephen Thomson

Stephen has over 20 years in the industry, advising on yacht sale and purchase, the importation and exportation process under Australian law, as well as management and refit/repair contracts. He also represents clients in relation to ligation arising out of yacht construction disputes and personal injury claims.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Disputes

Sydney
Tel:: +61 (0)2 9320 4646
Email Stephen

Ranjani Sundar

Ranjani has broad experience in yacht-related matters, including in relation to the sale and purchase of yachts, Australian Customs considerations for the import and/or export of yachts and personal injury matters. Ranjani acts for yacht owners, insurers and cruise-lines in both contentious and non-contentious matters.

Position: Senior Associate
Specialism: Transactional

Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)2 9320 4609
Email Ranjani

Gavin Vallely

Gavin has more than 25 years’ experience advising on contentious and non-contentious matters concerning commercial shipping and international trade.
His work in relation to yachts has included advising on Australian flag and survey requirements, sale and purchase, construction and repair, importation and related duty and taxation considerations.
He is consistently recognised as one of Australia’s leading maritime lawyers and is ranked as a Band 1 practitioner in Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide and Legal 500. He is described in the Legal 500 as having “unsurpassed maritime sector knowledge“.
Gavin is admitted to practice as a solicitor in Australia and England & Wales.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional & Disputes

Melbourne
Tel: +61 (0)3 8601 4523
Email Gavin

24/7 Crisis Management

Universally regarded as one of the world’s leading crisis management law firms, we advise on all legal issues arising from yacht related emergencies, including collisions, grounding, pollution, fire and explosion, salvage, wreck removal and towage, as well as security, political violence, piracy, kidnap and ransom and cyber breaches. Our admiralty and crisis management team is available 24/7 to attend emergencies worldwide and with our global network, a bespoke team can be assembled and, if needed, on location within 24 hours practically anywhere in the world.

Our expertise in managing crisis of all types, combined with our understanding of the specialised and sophisticated operations involved in yachting and the yachting industry’s specific concerns regarding confidentiality and privacy, enable us to protect our clients’ interests in the most appropriate and timely manner.

We operate a dedicated crisis management suite in our London office, which can be immediately utilised by our clients and become an extension of their own in-house team. Our admiralty and crisis management team are media trained and on hand to offer:

  • Immediate response to an incident

  • Advice on regulatory and compliance issues arising out of an incident

  • Reputation management / media response

  • Advice on post incident claims handling

In addition, we recognise the importance of preparation in mitigating liability and we regularly advise clients on their crisis management procedures and emergency response policies, including ensuring that their appetite for risk and potential contractual liabilities dovetail with their insurance coverage and internal crisis management procedures.

Our Admiralty and Crisis Management Team

Our admiralty and crisis management team includes experienced casualty response lawyers, a former naval architect experienced in the design of large yachts and master mariners with experience of navigating and operating large yachts and passenger vessels. Our core yacht admiralty and crisis management team consists of:

Tom Walters

Tom graduated in 1995 after which he worked for a naval architecture practice on the UK’s south coast designing superyachts. He joined HFW in 2002 and became a Partner in 2014. Tom regularly deals with yacht casualties, insurance claims and transportation disputes. His technical background means he has also been involved with a number of technical cases and construction disputes concerning yachts. Tom advises on the use of Maritime Autonomous Systems (MAS) technology in the marine sector in response to the increasing demand for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs). Tom is a member of The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) and also works with the Society of Underwater Technology (SUT) advising on various legal issues as well as being a member of various SUT Sub-Committees, including Salvage & Emergency Subsea Response and Technology and Innovation.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Insurance & Admiralty & Crisis Management

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8285
Email Tom

Alex Kemp

Alex specialises in marine insurance and crisis response and has advised both yacht owners and insurers on a variety of insurance and affecting large yachts including fires, groundings, missing vessels, damage sustained whilst being transported, structural defects, main engine damage and damage to gel coatings. He has advised on yacht casualties including those requiring salvage assistance. Alex has also undertaken a secondment at a leading London marine insurer.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Insurance & Admiralty & Crisis Management

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8432
Email Alex

Mark Thompson

More information to come soon.

Position: Master Mariner
Specialism: Admiralty & Crisis Management

London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7264 8528
Email Mark

24 hour emergency telephone number
+44 020 7709 7702

our network

We have a strong international brand and a rapidly growing network of offices. We now have over 600 lawyers working in offices across Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. We have a presence in many of the major centres of yacht ownership and operation in the world. Frequently we resource our matters with team members drawn from different offices and time zones and this allows us to provide our clients, wherever they are, with the resources of a truly global superyachts team.

We speak 40 languages across the firm.

HFW Worldwide Offices