Partner – Fenech & Fenech Advocates
T: +356 21 241 232
What sort of clients do you advise?
Our Yachting Department assists both owners and financiers of superyachts with sale and purchase, registration, financing, chartering, yacht leasing, importation, corporate and fiscal requirements and solutions. We have gained substantial experience in handling projects involving the acquisition of yachts intended for both private and commercial use.
How did you end up in superyacht law?
You could say I fell into the yachting sector as a result of how my career progressed. I specialised in international maritime law and shipping on graduating as a lawyer. When I joined the Marine Litigation Department at Fenech and Fenech Advocates nine years ago, the head of the department and Managing Partner of the firm Ann Fenech, who had been closely following changes being made to the yachting sector both on an international and on a domestic level, asked me to research and commence to build a practice within the firm. The Government was at the time recognised yachting as a niche superyacht sector and had introduced a number of measures in a bid to attract owners and financiers to our shores. Today our Yachting Department has garnered considerable experience in the field and is supported by the Ship Registration, Ship Finance, Tax and Corporate Departments. As leaders in the shipping law sector has meant that we offer our clients a 360 degree service.
What makes a good superyacht lawyer?
A solid understanding of the manner in which the industry operates, the role of the various players, e.g. yards, brokers, managers and the realisation that in today’s environment it is imperative to guide the client properly to seek appropriate legal advice in particular jurisdictions where the lawyer may not himself operate. In my practice I sometimes find that unfortunately some service providers try to portray themselves as being experts in all the laws of the various jurisdictions which may need to be taken into consideration for the acquisition or operation of a yacht and this may mislead the client and even lead to incorrect advice being given.
What do you most like about your job?
The fact that owners very often have a very hands on approach when it comes to the acquisition of their yacht and the handling of all related matters. The acquisition of a yacht is personal and owners associate it with plans to spend time with family and loved ones. You therefore get the opportunity of building a one on one relationship with the client. As a result I have had the pleasure of meeting some lovely and inspirational people during my years of practicing in this field.
What one piece of advice would you give to potential yacht buyers?
To ensure that legal advice is obtained from reputable advisors as early on in the process of acquisition as possible. This very often saves time and money in the long run since all facets of the transaction can be discussed and a clear plan laid out from the very beginning.