Stephen Askins

Stephen was listed in the Lloyd’s List Top 10 Law Personalities in the past three years which lists the most influential people in shipping.

‘Interviewees praise him as a confident and aggressive advocate who often advises on wet and piracy matters.’ Chambers and Partners UK 2014

“Stephen Askins is recognised for his knowledge of piracy matters and has advised extensively on the use of armed security.” Chambers and Partners 2013

Stephen’s primary area of expertise and experience is wet and dry shipping acting for owners and their insurers in the aftermath of maritime incidents including salvage, wreck removal, collisions and piracy. He advises on all areas of Admiralty law as well as on contractual issues arising out of charterparties and bills of lading. He acted for the owners of the Voutakos, a LOF salvage case which went to the High Court and considered the controversial issues arising out of rescue tow cases and the “disparity principle”.

In recent years he has become recognised as one of the leading experts advising on piracy, maritime terrorism and the use of armed guards. He advises on the legal and practical issues that arise for clients operating in complex environments including Libya, Crimea, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea. He has handled many hijackings and kidnappings on both east and west Africa working with owners and their Crisis Management Teams.

He was part of the GUARDCON drafting committee and appeared in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee looking into piracy off Somalia. He was also part of the Industry Advisory Panel working with the International Task Force set up to debate the legality and payment of ransoms.

More recently he has been advising on the issues arising out of trading to areas affected by Ebola working with insurers and owners to develop specific charterparty clauses to cover this.

Stephen has developed a strong following in crisis management in both the marine and non-marine sectors providing training, guidance and advice. His past military training combines well with a strong commercial and legal understanding of contractual and liability. He regularly lectures on this and general crisis management and speaks and writes extensively on the legal issues arising from piracy and hijackings.