Graduated with a degree in law and was articled at Hill Dickinson in London, qualifying as a solicitor in 1979. Between 1980 and 1984 he established the shipping practice at Bird & Bird. He then went on to join Stephenson Harwood in 1985, where he played a major role in building up the shipping department. He left there at the beginning of 2002 to establish, with an ex-colleague and partner, the new firm of Howe & Keates, again practising in shipping, insurance and commodities but as a niche small firm. That firm became Keates Ferris in 2008.
Throughout his career he has specialised in shipping litigation, particularly charterparty and cargo claims but also numerous other aspects of commercial business related to the maritime industry including bunkering, construction and repair, agency, management and oil and commodities trading. He also acted frequently in the recovery, operation and sale of mortgaged and distressed vessel including the Adriatic Tankers group’s vessels when the group became insolvent
In addition he has had considerable experience in the yacht and superyacht industry having acted for many different entities dealing with both contentious and non-contentious aspects of newbuilding, sale and purchase, registration, supply of services and goods, damage and repair and refit.
As well as speaking at conferences and seminars in the UK he has given many papers at international conferences in places such as Hamburg, Piraeus, Stockholm, Tehran and Hong Kong. For the past ten years he has chaired the Lloyd’s semi-annual International Voyage Charterparties Seminar and has contributed substantial modules regarding safe ports and ship performance for Lloyd’s distance learning courses.
He served in the Royal Naval Reserve and has been a supporting member of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association for over 25 years.
Mike Stevens is a solicitor and master mariner with 12 years’ experience as a deck officer in the Merchant Service and has spent 30 years practising maritime law. He has handled many collision, salvage, total loss and unsafe port claims for owners, P&I Clubs and hull underwriters. He has professional contacts worldwide, particularly in the Far East. Mike spent 11 years as senior Admiralty partner of a leading maritime law firm.
- Collision claims – investigation and dispute resolution. Three on-going matters with claims approaching US$ 20 million.
- Salvage – LOF and Appeal arbitrations.
- Collision damages: liability of a charterer to an owner for employing an incompetent pilot.
Jonathan Kemp qualified as a solicitor in 1990, after serving as a navigating officer in the Royal Navy. He specialises in maritime dispute resolution, particularly in relation to bulk and food products, and also shipbuilding and other maritime commercial contracts.
Jonathan has a particular interest in the ballast water management regulations and has advised the United Kingdom’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency on the challenges in enforcing the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention requirements.
Jonathan has worked in Singapore and London and is now based in Newcastle upon Tyne. He also practices as a notary public. Jonathan regularly speaks and leads workshops on maritime legal topics in the United Kingdom, India and the Far East. He advocates the use of plain English and is a member of Clarity International.
- Advising oil tanker owner on shipbuilding contract re-negotiation and on related guarantees.
- Edible cargo damage claims: acting for shipowners, P&I Clubs and a UK importer.
- Advising the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency and others on IMO International Ballast Water Management Convention issues.
- Ship and large yacht sale and purchase.
- Advice on and London arbitrations relating to shipbuilding contract disputes.
- Advising a shipyard on contracting terms and risk management.
- Acting for the purchaser of a 56-metre superyacht in relation to the yacht construction contract, loan finance, yacht management, tax issues and eventual sale.
- Advising a UK Governmental agency on outsourcing of ship management functions.
- Advising on the importation of biofuel into the UK for electrical energy generation.
- Reviewing maritime equipment standard form sale contracts.
Practised for many years in the City and Hong Kong with Stephenson Harwood as a corporate finance and commercial partner; consultant to Keates Ferris since 2003.
Patrick specialises in corporate organisation, mergers and acquisitions and in project finance and management structures and agreements. Fluent in French, much of his work is with international clients or partners.
Patrick also undertakes work for charities, having himself been a trustee of the Friends of the Tate and the Brooke Hospital for Animals.