The work done by Maritime & Shipping Lawyers generally includes litigation work and solicitors’ work which may be described as follows: litigation work involves breach of charter-party disputes, cargo and bills of lading claims, general average claims, arrest of vessels and cargoes, marine insurance claims (including partial and total loss of ships), ship repairers' liability claims, collision, towage, salvage, environmental liabilities, arbitrations, personal injury, oil pollution liability, the enforcement of securities and applications for extraordinary relief such as injunctions and mandamus.
Solicitors’ work includes preparation of contracts for construction, purchase, sale, financing and charter of deep sea, coastal, fishing and pleasure vessels, flagging and registration, customs and licensing and preparation of carriage documentation such as contracts of affreightment, charter-parties and bills of lading.
Please note that the Lexpert directory has separate pratice areas for:
Transportation law is the general law which primarily governs the regulation of the transportation sector, whose application can be divided to three areas – air, land, and sea. These three areas have its respective laws, governing licensing procedures, standard conduct of operations, specific definitions of parties in a contract of transportation, their rights and obligations, offenses and penalties that may be imposed in a breach of contract or in cases of accidents, among others.
The laws on the transportation through the sea – called maritime law or admiralty law – are concerned with commercial and leisure shipping, and the persons or entities involved in a contract of carriage. As with the other areas of transportation law, the legal practice carried out by a shipping and maritime lawyer is intimately connected with contracts law and the law on torts and damages, such as when passengers are injured or death occurs, when goods are damaged or destroyed, and when these are coupled with alleged negligence on the part of the ship owners and their representatives.
A maritime lawyer does not only apply maritime law, but also applies public and private international law in instances when contracts of carriage include an international element (i.e., transporting goods or passengers from Canada to other countries, or vice versa).
Generally, shipping and maritime law in Canada are governed by numerous federal statutes. These laws do not only apply to issues regarding incidents in the sea (namely, collisions), but also prior arrangements for shipping (e.g., registration and licensing, insurance, forging contracts of agency or carriage), and liabilities which might ensue arising from the relationship between any of the ship owners or charterers, shipbuilders or ship repairers, passengers, cargo owners, port authorities, stevedores, salvors, and agents or representatives of these parties. Thus, a maritime lawyer may represent any of these parties when litigations arise, or even when complying with federal statutes.
A shipping and maritime lawyer is best consulted with regards to the specific applicable maritime law on any of the parties to a maritime contract, but some of the major ones are the following:
The Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001) covers most of the maritime activities in Canada, and some of its provisions are implemented by separate regulations, such as:
CSA 2001 mainly governs all commercial ships operating in Canada, except for those which are operated by the Canadian Forces or a foreign military force. Thus, the Act provides for the registration, listing, and recording of all vessels (Part 2); promotes the safety of the personnel, crew, and passengers of a shipping vessel (Part 3 and Part 4); and the rights and obligations of any party in case of an accident, casualty, or collision (Part 6).
The Act also aims to protect the sea as a natural resource through its provisions on preventing and responding to an oil pollution incident or any other pollution (Part 8 and Part 9). These are specifically directed for implementation by the Department of Transport and Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The Marine Transportation Security Act (MTSA) is a federal legislation which seeks to protect or provide security to the maritime sector in Canada. Similar to CSA 2001, the MTSA does not only apply to vessels and maritime facilities operated by the Canadian Forces or a foreign military force.
Through the Act, the Minister of Transport is authorized to formulate regulations (Section 5), security measures (Section 6), and security rules (Section &) which are aimed at protecting the security of Canada’s maritime system.
Canada’s navigable waters are protected under the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA), previously known as the Navigation Protection Act (NPA). The CNWA enumerates the public navigable waters of Canada under the Schedule found in the Act, and protects these through various ways, such as prohibiting any construction, alteration, or decommissioning of any work in a navigable water (Section 3), or by ordering any obstruction to be removed by persons responsible for said obstruction (Section 14), among others.
The Pilotage Act regulates pilotage in Canada’s maritime industry, through the establishment of pilotage authorities (Section 3), and by empowering the Minister of Transport to issue licences or pilotage certificates according to the Act’s set eligibility criteria (Section 38).
Under Part 4 of CSA 2001, Section 106 provides for the general duties of an authorized representative with regards to ensuring the safety of their ship or vessel. An “authorized representative” is basically the ship or vessel’s owners, or in the case of a bare-boat chartered vessel, the bare-boat charterer.
Section 106 is important since it imposes liability upon these authorized representatives to ensure the seaworthiness of their ships or vessels, including the safety of its passengers and cargoes. The said Section also provides that authorized representatives are also responsible for the safety training of all its crew and passengers and ensuring that the vessel and its machinery are properly inspected as a condition to acquire the necessary maritime documents for its operation. Hence, as an authorized representative, it is highly important to consult with a maritime lawyer to comply with Section 106 of CSA 2001.
The maritime industry in Canada is mainly regulated by Transport Canada, along with the authority granted to it by the above-mentioned laws and regulations. Additionally, shipping and maritime law in Canada also provides for regulations of Canadian ports and its systems.
The Canada Marine Act established port authorities to implement policies and regulations concerning the regulation of these ports. A maritime lawyer can assist in dealing with these regulating authorities for compliance purposes or for any other transaction.
Canada’s maritime industry provides for substantial contribution to the Canadian economy, being one of the cheapest methods of transporting goods across national and international borders, connecting supply chains for other industries, and with the thousands of jobs that the industry generates. Canada’s marine lawyers are part of an important ecosystem of jobs that keep the country’s economy strong.
A shipping and maritime lawyer may help various actors of the maritime industry in a lot of ways. Head down below for the list of the best maritime and shipping lawyers in Canada.