I have extensive dry cargo experience and spent my career with Cargill as a shipbroker, trader and team manager. I have been a member of the Baltic Exchange since 1977 and served as a Director from 1994-1997 and again from 2014 to November 2016. I have just completed 4 years as a Baltic Council Member but am still on the Membership council.
I am trained in Mediation with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), participated in the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (C.I.Arb.) and hold introductory certificates in International and Domestic Arbitration.
In addition, I’m a supporting member of the L.M.A.A. and served on its Liaison Committee for six years until 2016.
My area of expertise is dry cargo, I was a dry cargo broker for almost 40 years, I have also been a tanker broker. In addition, I was responsible for the induction and training of Cargill’s trainees in London, so I’m very keen on teaching the basics of chartering. I’ve also taken on an interest in Baltic Ethics after delivering training lectures.
The Expert Witness work I’ve been involved with is mostly ‘quantum’ in legal terms. I haven’t been doing Expert Witness for very long and I’m definitely still learning.
From the disputes I have seen so far, the question ultimately comes down to: ‘how much is my ship worth, what other ships could have done the business and what money have I lost?’.
How did you get involved?
I’ve always been quite interested in the legal side of chartering. I was one of the senior members of the London chartering team at Cargill and we were forever getting involved in what we called ‘problem solving’ – or mediating of sorts in matters between our principals and owners as well as extricating trainees from difficulties.
I did some training in mediation as I think that’s what we’ve been doing without calling it that for years. Anyone negotiating is effectively mediating.
What will / won’t you do?
You have to be very careful because an Expert Witness is entirely independent. They have a duty to the court or tribunal . They must not become influenced by the party paying them, which is absolutely not right. We are always totally independent.
You have to have a process that you go through, which is supported by independent information. The expert needs to evaluate the market at a specific time and give their opinion around that and the factors influencing this. Most of us are members of the Baltic, so we have an ethical position that goes hand in with that membership. Our word is our bond. If you sign up to be a member of the Baltic – or BEWA – then you sign up to that code of conduct.
Advice to BEWA new arrivals?
I was quite shocked by the amount of red ink you can get from the lawyers and QCs! But you have to have the confidence to stake your claim and reinforce what you believe to be correct.
What makes a good BEW?
In my limited experience, I’d say the most important thing is you have to be honest and true. If you haven’t got integrity then you will get found out eventually. You’ve also got to have knowledge and last but not least, resilience and not be arrogant.
Where can one go to find expert witnesses that are really shipping experts with proven integrity? It’s so important that the expert witness is familiar with the shipping industry. We really are the people in the know – and shipping is a small family but with a global reach. You could go somewhere else, but they may not have the same credibility. Some specialist lawyers and QCs obviously know a lot, but they may not know how the industry works in practice.
The Baltic Exchange has had an Expert Witness Association in some form for several years. This rebrand has brought in people with a wider range of maritime expertise. For lawyers it’s now easy for them to see that there are over 65 experts with their respective CVs in one place. With all the face-to-face meetings and lunches on hold due to the pandemic, the timing for the relaunch with the new website and database is perfect.