As comfortable on the deck of a vessel as in the courtroom.


Burness Paull's marine and shipping clients include ship owners, P&I clubs, marine insurers, port and harbour authorities and companies providing logistics services to the sector across Scotland.

With deep roots in the North Sea oil and gas industry, we regularly advise marine and shipping clients on litigation, health and safety, employment, construction, corporate law and banking. The team has significant experience in carrying out incident investigations. We represent clients during investigations by the MCA, MAIB through to any prosecution and Fatal Accident Inquiry.

We are instructed by P&I clubs and marine insurers to defend personal injury claims following accidents at sea and in port. This includes fatalities, catastrophic injuries and claims with contractual, indemnity and international convention issues. We act for shipowners in respect of long-tail liabilities arising from exposure to asbestos dust, noise, vibration and other industrial diseases.

The team's marine and shipping lawyers cover the full range of commercial shipping disputes including contract, charterparty and cargo claims, advising on sale and purchase of ships, providing advice on shipping finance for both borrower and lender and negotiating shipbuilding contracts. We frequently work with legal teams from other jurisdictions on cross-border matters including ship arrest.

Burness Paull's expertise in shipping law:

The firm's expertise in shipping law includes:

  • Marine casualty investigations
  • Personal injury and disease
  • Fishing claims
  • Ferries and cruise ships
  • Arbitration
  • Ports
  • Collisions
  • Salvage
  • Cargo claims
  • Scottish ship arrest: arresting vessels/defending owners in response to arrest
  • Negotiating LOUs
  • Charterparty disputes
  • Drafting and negotiation of charterparties (from BIMCO to bespoke)
  • Rig towage and mooring
  • Vessel finance
  • Vessel sale/purchase options
  • Shipbuilding contracts
  • Terms of memoranda of agreement and bills of sale
  • Reflagging
  • Vessel mortgages

Whether dealing with a major incident, a contractual dispute or a vessel purchase/sale, we have the right people to provide the shipping law advice you need.