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Marine Environmental Law

Marine environmental law is a unique area of public law and international law that lies at the intersection of admiralty law, law of the sea, and international environmental law. ​Since the mid-1900s, a number of conventions on marine environmental law have been enacted. Many of these conventions focus on oil pollution and provide corresponding guidance or law on oil spill prevention, liability, and compensation. A great number of States, including Canada, have absorbed these conventions into their domestic law. Others, such as the United States, have developed their own unique regime on oil spills. Substantial understanding of oil spill liability and compensation has been acquired over the course of working with various governmental actors and stakeholders (e.g., Canadian Coast Guard, Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund, Transport Canada, United States Coast Guard (including United States National Pollution Funds Center), International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds).


Get in touch to discuss your marine environmental matter.


Services available include:

Claiming for Oil Spill Damages, Losses, and Costs

Oil spills can cause significant environmental damage, business losses, response costs, etc... How you attain compensation for your oil spill damages, losses, or costs can depend on the location of the damage, the type of oil involved, and the source of the oil. ​​Services are provided with the aim of oil spill compensation maximization. This includes filing of oil spill damage/loss/expense claims, help navigating the oil spill liability regime, and reasonability review of a given oil spill response measure.

Assessing Your Oil Spill Liability Exposure

Carriers, consignors, and consignees may be unnecessarily exposed to third-party liability arising from the spilling of oil. As well, this liability may not be sufficiently covered by insurance. Get in touch for a review of the relevant contract for carriage and insurance policy to determine your exposure and coverage to third-party liability before any liability issues arise.

Advising on Novel Environmental Liability

Recently, a number of novel types of loss have been identified as potentially arising from an oil spill (e.g., loss of non-use value; loss of hunting, fishing, and gathering opportunities; etc.).  Clarification of whether and how these and other novel damages apply to you can help ensure that you are not caught unprepared by a novel claim for such damages.

Other services include:

  • advise and facilitate project impact assessment pursuant to the Impact Assessment Act (S.C. 2019, c. 28, s. 1).

  • compliance review of organization policies and practices with marine environmental law.

  • support filing a coasting trade licence application and any related submissions per the Coasting Trade Act (S.C. 1992, c. 31).

Facilitating Environmental Disaster-Related Prep Work

Inter and intra-governmental collaboration is necessary for countries to be ready to handle the complex and often multi-jurisdictional response, liability, and compensation matters arising from a marine environmental disaster. Such collaboration involves regular discussion and work amongst public and private parties, including responders, potential claimants, the potential polluters, insurers, and any public funds.​ Touch base to learn about services available to facilitate and promote the movement needed to ensure readiness.

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Let's Work Together

Be it helping you to navigate a trade issue or contest a marine, rail, or aviation-related enforcement measure, the support you need is here.

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