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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 over our nearly 140 years in business is carried into our yacht practice.

Our yacht team has been an integral part of the yacht industry for over 30 years and has a physical presence in many of the major yachting jurisdictions. The enduring relationships developed with the owners, builders, designers, financiers, insurers, brokers and managers of yachts, our in-depth knowledge of the yacht industry and our international reach ensure we are pre-eminent in the field.

The team’s advice is ‘spot on and perfect: they are perfectly reliable, prompt, give detailed feedback, are client-savvy and very efficient.
Chambers HNW 2019

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

The “always excellent” HFW has extensive experience in the yachting sector. A source explains: “They have a really strong, dedicated team, and are really good. They are specialists in the area.

Chambers HNW 2020

HFW is highly regarded in the yachts and superyachts industry, with sources noting the firm does a “very good job” acting for both “ship builders and also owners.” The team advises clients on a wide variety of matters such as the construction, operation and chartering of vessels, as well as regularly handling sale and purchase transactions.

Chambers HNW 2019
Sources highlight the client service of HFW’s team. “They are always a professional outfit,” notes one, and another says its lawyers are “quick to respond and provide concise and relevant advice.”
Chambers HNW 2020

what we do

Our yacht team is positioned to assist with any aspect of constructing, purchasing and operating a yacht. We, of course, cannot disclose details of our clients or any of the projects in which we have been involved. However, we are routinely involved in some of the largest and most complex projects in the yacht industry.

  • Design agreements and intellectual property issues

  • Construction agreements

  • Pre and post-delivery financing, restructuring and work out arrangements
  • Yacht sale and purchase transactions

  • Ownership structures

  • Registration arrangements

  • Import and export formalities

  • VAT/Customs issues

  • Management agreements

  • Crewing and employment matters

  • Refit and repair contracts

  • Charter agreements
  • Sale and purchase of berths

  • Physical and cyber security arrangements

  • Health, safety and regulatory compliance

  • Business jets and helicopters

  • Tenders, submersibles and other ancillary equipment
  • Yacht arrest and dispute resolution

  • Admiralty and crisis management

  • Insurance arrangements, including questions of coverage

our experts

Team Heads

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

Andrew Charlier

An experienced transactional lawyer, Andrew specialises in superyacht purchase and sale, construction, finance, chartering and registration with 30 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

Europe

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

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

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

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

Tom Walters

Before joining HFW in 2002, Tom worked for seven years for a naval architecture practice on the UK’s south coast designing superyachts. 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 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 works with the Society of Underwater Technology (SUT) advising on various legal issues. He is also 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. He has advised both yacht owners and insurers on a variety of matters 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 also advised on yacht casualties including those requiring salvage assistance. Alex has 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

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

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

Mark Thompson

Mark is a Senior Master Mariner and forms part of our shipping emergency response team. Mark deals with yacht casualties, including fires, collisions, groundings, helicopter incidents, tender/PWC related accidents, pollution, total loss and salvage. Mark attends the scene of yacht casualties in order to manage the casualty response, liaise with other interested parties and protect or Clients’ interests.

Before joining HFW, Mark had 17 years seagoing experience, and has sailed as Master on high speed passenger vessels and freight RoRo vessels. Mark has a background as a marine casualty investigator, holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Navigation, HND in Nautical Science and is qualified as a Specialist Navigating Officer with the Royal Navy.

Position: Senior Master Mariner
Specialism: Admiralty & Crisis Management

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

Denis Nifontov

Denis is a transactional shipping lawyer acting for financiers, owners, brokers and yards in transactions involving yacht finance, building, sale and purchase, registration, and the application of the Maritime Labour Convention to yacht crewing. Denis also has experience in acting on contractual matters for various yacht designers.

Position: Associate
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8092
Email Denis

Zoe Triantafyllou

Zoe advises yacht finance providers and yacht owners on a wide range of transactional matters including debt finance, export credit finance, leasing structures, restructuring, refinancing and sale and purchase.

She has also spent time working at HFW’s Piraeus office and speaks fluent Greek.

Position: Associate
Specialism: Transactional

London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7264 8243
Email Zoe

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 & VAT

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

Stéphanie Schweitzer

Stéphanie has extensive experience in yacht-related employment and personal injury matters. She regularly advises yacht owners and insurers in relation to passenger claims, crew contracts and claims and social security issues. Stéphanie also often assists clients of the yachting industry in relation to contract of carriage, charter parties and yacht arrests.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Disputes & Personal Injury

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

Rosina Dyke

Rosina specialises in the transactional aspects of yachting. She primarily advises owners and financial institutions on the sale, purchase, construction, refit, financing, and registration of yachts and the corporate entity that holds them.

Position: Associate
Specialism: Transactional

Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 94 31 62
Email Rosina

Ian Cranston

Ian is particularly lauded for his shipping and yacht expertise. He has close to 30 years’ experience in successfully handling yachting disputes in arbitration and court proceedings and generally advising owners, charterers, brokers and yards on matters related to yacht sale & purchase, charter, refit and construction.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Disputes

Monaco
Tel: +377 92 00 13 21
Email Ian

Marco Crusafio

Marco advises and represents international clients in yachting disputes before the English national courts and in international arbitral proceedings. His expertise includes yacht sale and purchase and charters, as well as collisions and piracy. Marco also has experience of obtaining arrest orders and other protective measures in various jurisdictions. An Italian national, Marco also has a good knowledge of the Italian shipping market and regularly advises Italian clients.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Disputes

Monaco
Tel: +377 92 00 13 23
Email Marco

George Kaye

George specialises in dispute resolution and regularly advises owners, charterers and brokers on matters involving yacht construction, sale and purchase and charter.

Position: Associate
Specialism: Disputes

Monaco
Tel: +377 92 00 13 26
Email George

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

Middle East, Asia Pacific and the Americas

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 transactional experience, with a special focus on ship and yacht building, sale and purchase, registration and finance as well as private jet finance, registration, management and operation agreements.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3983 7778
Email Patrick

Angie Lo

Angie is a corporate and finance lawyer with a broad non-contentious practice. Her yacht expertise includes yacht sale and purchase, construction and yacht registration, as well as yacht finance and other commercial yacht-related matters.
Fully tri-lingual in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, Angie often advises clients within Hong Kong and mainland China.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

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

Henry Fung

Henry has an established transactional and contentious practice. His transactional experience includes yacht and construction, sale and purchase and finance matters. On the contentious side, Henry acts for 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 and enforcement.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Disputes & Transactional

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

John Forrester

John heads the firm’s Asia Pacific Ship Finance practice. He specialises in asset finance and other transactional work across the maritime sector. 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.

Position: Partner
Specialism: Transactional

Singapore
Tel: +65 6411 5350
Email John

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

Stephen Thompson

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

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

Melbourne
Tel: +61 (0)3 8601 4526
Email Owen

Ranjani Sundar

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

Position: Senior Associate
Specialism: Transactional

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

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, damage in transit, pollution, fire and explosion, salvage, wreck removal and towage, as well as security, political violence, piracy, kidnap and ransom and cyber breaches. Our yacht team includes several leading crisis management and marine insurance experts and is supported by our global admiralty and crisis management team. Members of our admiralty and crisis management team are available year round 24/7 to attend emergencies. 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 incident response support

  • 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 marine insurance and crisis management team

In addition to the support available from our firm’s world renowned admiralty and crisis management team, our yacht 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, warships and passenger vessels. Our key contacts for yacht related crisis response and marine insurance issues are:

Tom Walters

Tom Walters

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

Alex Kemp

Alex Kemp

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

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

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

24 hour emergency telephone number
+44 (0)20 7709 7702

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, damage in transit, pollution, fire and explosion, salvage, wreck removal and towage, as well as security, political violence, piracy, kidnap and ransom and cyber breaches. Our yacht team includes several leading crisis management and marine insurance experts and is supported by our global admiralty and crisis management team. Members of our admiralty and crisis management team are available year round 24/7 to attend emergencies. 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 incident response support

  • 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 marine insurance and crisis management team

In addition to the support available from our firm’s world renowned admiralty and crisis management team, our yacht 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, warships and passenger vessels. Our key contacts for yacht related crisis response and marine insurance issues are:

Tom Walters

Tom Walters

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

Alex Kemp

Alex Kemp

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

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

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

24 hour emergency telephone number
+44 (0)20 7709 7702

our network

We have a strong international brand and a rapidly growing network of offices. We 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 yacht team.

Our yacht team includes lawyers fluent in English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Chinese and is able to draw on the support of colleagues across our wider firm who between them speak over 40 different languages.

Contact us
HFW Worldwide Offices

latest updates

September 18|

Comprehensively Yachts:

Industry Briefing

With the 2018 Mediterranean yacht season fast closing and attention turning to the yacht shows and winter cruising grounds, we publish our latest market briefing covering a range of topical subjects from the transport of yachts, developments in Panama and US flagging, the threat of super storms, clarification of French social security law, our regular casualty focus and the implications of recent high profile casualties for the insurance market.

Read the full briefing

May 18|

Comprehensively Yachts:

Industry Briefing

With the early season yacht shows over and thoughts turning to summer cruising, now is the time for those in yachting to consider both recent changes and possible challenges ahead.

Read the full briefing
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