Maritime and Admiralty Law

Maritime and Admiralty Law concerns the international shipment of goods by sea and all other facets of maritime transportation from shipbuilding and supply to cargo damage and accidents that occur on the high seas or on Canada’s inland waterways.

Our firm is most well-known for its expertise in Maritime and Admiralty Law. George Strathy, the firm’s founder, was widely recognized as one of Canada’s best maritime lawyers prior to his appointment to the bench of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In March 2006 and again in May 2010, Canadian Lawyer Magazine named Isaacs & Co. as one of Canada’s leading boutique law firms in the area of Admiralty and Transportation Law.

Marc Isaacs, the firm’s managing partner, has been named consistently one of the “Best Lawyers in Canada” for Maritime Law by his peers in since 2009.  Marc also teaches Admiralty Law at the University of Toronto Law School.

Our primary focus is litigation and dispute resolution of marine conflicts. We offer sound, timely and cost-effective solutions. When it has been necessary to go to trial, we have had great success.

We also have a significant practice in providing practical advice in the commercial setting for our shipping industry clients. This ranges from day-to-day business advice to the negotiation and completion of major corporate transactions affecting a shipping business.

Isaacs & Co. is regularly involved in all aspects of Maritime and Admiralty Law including matters involving:

  • Cargo damage claims
  • Arrest of vessels and enforcement of maritime liens
  • Maritime Collisions
  • Recreational and pleasure craft incidents
  • Maritime personal injury
  • Salvage claims
  • General Average claims
  • Tugs & Towage
  • Marine Insurance disputes
  • Shipping company bankruptcies
  • Oil or Noxious substances pollution incidents
  • Defence of environmental claims including charges by governmental authorities or civil liability claims
  • Maritime regulatory issues including government investigations
  • Ship sale agreements
  • Shipbuilding & repair contracts
  • Ship supply contracts and related disputes
  • Organization and finance of shipping companies
  • Chartering of vessels and related matters
  • Contracts of Affreightment

 

We also provide an emergency response for collisions, casualties, fire, explosions, oil spills or other incidents requiring an experienced maritime lawyer to be on the scene right away.

Representative Work

We have developed a successful and enviable record of verdicts on behalf of our clients, both at trial and on appeal.  We have responded to our client’s emergencies to obtain court orders for the immediate release of unlawfully detained cargo, an injunction to open a strike bound port and the arrest and bail of vessels.  We have also been responsive to attend on the scene at the time of a casualty in order to assist with an investigation whether it be from an insurance, claim recovery or potential regulatory prosecution perspective.  We have in the past attended at vessel collisions, groundings, ship board fires, dock strikings and oil pollution incidents.

When claims have to be litigated, we take a pragmatic approach to litigation and where appropriate, we promote early and cost effective resolution of claims through negotiation and mediation.  When it is necessary to go to court, we prepare thoroughly and have won the majority of our cases along with the respect of the court and the confidence of our clients.

Some examples of the typical matters that we have handled in the past few years include:

Shipping and Transport:

  • Regularly acting on behalf of cargo owners and cargo insurers in cargo damage claims of all types from heavy machinery to computer electronics and from bulk cargoes to fine wine.
  • Handled precedent setting case on the effect of foreign selection clauses in bills of lading under Canada’s Marine Liability Act.
  • Represented cargo owners in case involving the effect of “freight pre-paid” notations in intermediate freight forwarder bills of lading in multi party inter-modal carriage.
  • Successfully defended an international cargo insurer on a three week bi-lingual trial on an insufficiency of packaging defence arising out of corroded machinery.

 

Shipping Casualty:

  • Defended a shipowner in respect of a sizeable cargo damage claim due to an onboard fire.
  • Defended a shipowner with respect to multiple property damage claims arising out of a dock striking.
  • Acted for a shipowner in respect of total loss of the vessel including environmental abatement measures, salvage and wreck issues and the hull loss claim with underwriters.
  • Acted for a shipowner in a serious grounding incident and subsequent defence of property damage and personal injury claims.
  • Acted for cargo owner in the investigation and clean-up of a dangerous goods incident.
  • Acted for pleasure craft operator and insurers in multiple claims and injuries arising out of severe night-time recreational boating collision.
  • Acted for parties in Limitation of Liability actions.

 

Contract & Transactional:

  • Acted for shipowners in claims for dead freight.
  • Acted as marine counsel in a corporate merger wherein one of the subsidiary companies subsidiaries owned a fishing fleet.
  • Assisted shipowners and lenders with mortgage financing.
  • Acted for a shipowner in default of its loan obligations in respect of the sale of vessel to the mortgagee.
  • Assisted shareholders of a shipping company in a corporate reorganization.
  • Assisted in the creation of a shipping line joint venture.
  • Assisted shipowners with cabotage issues and obtaining Coasting Trade Act licenses for the temporary importation of foreign vessels.
  • Routinely advising on contracts of affreightment and Charterparty forms.

 

Environmental:

  • Acted for a shipowner with respect to an investigation of an oil pollution incident.
  • Attended, investigated and advised shipowner in connection with a hull breach and oil spill incident.
  • Defending an oil company in oil spills, including tank failures.
  • Prepared Transportation of Dangerous Goods response plans for shippers of Hazardous commodities.

 

Regulatory defence

  • Successfully defended a shipping company from multiple regulatory charges arising out of accident.
  • Defended the Master of a vessel in a criminal prosecution arising out of an allision and alleged breach of Canada Shipping Act
  • Defended ship owner in connection with charges laid for oil discharge.

 

Product Liability:

  • Acted for a shipowner in product liability claims against engine manufacturer.
  • Acted for hull insurers in total loss of vessel due to defective electrical wiring.
  • Acted for a shipowner in a claim for the supply of defective parts froma specialty manufactuerer.