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An English-qualified lawyer has been appointed as a front line problem solver by a protection and indemnity (P&I) club which mutually insures shipowners in Vancouver, one of the busiest ports in the world
It is highly unusual for a P&I club to hire a lawyer as a so-called 'correspondent'. Correspondents are based in large ports and are the first people on the scene when such matters as litigation problems, ship arrests and cargo disappearances arise. In almost all cases since the emergence of P&I clubs in the 19th century, P&I clubs have hired businessmen as correspondents, many in possession of some legal acumen although never actually practising law, to do this important work. The lawyer appointed by Japan P&I club is Thomas Cooper & Stibbard partner Mark Sachs. He is well qualified for the role, as he is qualified in the UK and Canada; he also has a broad practice that includes shipping, insurance and commodities; and, crucially, he is fluent in Mandarin, and Vancouver is awash with Chinese shipping businesses and Chinese ex-patriots. The firm said it is unlikely that there are local lawyers working as correspondents in the UK for either UK or foreign clubs. They are mainly drawn from members of the clubs themselves or local businesses, said Tim Kelleher, a dry shipping litigator at Thomas Cooper.