Dr. Ann Fenech (President of the Malta Maritime Law Association and Managing Partner and Head of the Marine Litigation Department of Fenech & Fenech Advocates in Malta) visited the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) on 22 November 2016 and delivered a set of lectures on ‘the Role of the Maritime Law Practitioner: Local and International’ to the IMLI Class of 2016 – 2017.
Dr. Fenech began her lecture with a brief introduction of Malta’s historic location as a maritime nation which attracted many maritime activities, including the construction of a naval dockyard now developed into a commercial dockyard.
On the role of a maritime law practitioner, Dr. Fenech described that such a role may come in various ways and situations across the entire spectrum of maritime activities. Maritime lawyers may be involved in contractual as well as transactional litigious cases such as ship repair contracts or post repair disputes between ship repairers and ship owners. Other areas which maritime lawyers may grapple with in their practice include the privatization of shipyards, industrial relations, and incidents during marine operations. She admitted that works concerning marine accidents could be heartbreaking in situations claiming lives.
Further, Dr. Fenech discussed with the students, the crucial role maritime lawyers play in the registration of vessels. She vividly explained how Malta’s Ship Registry successfully developed from one million tons in 1986 to sixty-five million tons today; from a flag of convenience to a flag of confidence; from a black-list to a white-list, and from a flag used by few to a flag used by many. The students learned that Malta is the 7th largest Registry in the world.
While assuring the students that IMLI is one of the very few Institutions worldwide where students are introduced to the entire spectrum of maritime practice, Dr. Fenech advised them to have confidence in themselves as maritime lawyers when dealing with clients. She also advised them to be firm with an open mind and flexibility for various options for settlement in the best interest of clients.
Dr. Ann Fenech obtained an LL.D. from the University of Malta in 1986 and joined the international shipping law firm of Holman Fenwick and Willan in London. She obtained her LL.M. Degree in Maritime Law from the University of London in 1989 and worked with the law firm, Chaffe, McCall, Phillips Toler and Sarpy, in New Orleans, the United States of America two years later. In 1992, she joined Fenech and Fenech Advocates (Malta) where she set up the Marine Litigation Department and was appointed Managing Partner in 2008.
She has been involved in the drafting of numerous shipping laws in Malta such as the Pilotage Act and amendments to existing laws including the Merchant Shipping Act and the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure, where she introduced the rules governing the jurisdiction in rem for the Maltese Courts. She has held several portfolios in her career including Council Member of the European Maritime Law Association; President of the Malta Maritime Law Association, and Maritime Arbitrator, Malta Maritime Arbitration Center, among others. She was awarded Best in Shipping Law at the European Women in Business Awards in 2012 and 2014 respectively. In June 2016, Dr. Fenech was elected to the Executive Council of the Comité Maritime International.
Dr. Ann Fenech lectures extensively on Maritime Law at the University of Malta and abroad.
Source: IMLI Newsletter, December 2016