Qwest Legal

Qwest Legal offers a unique approach to legal and claims support for the maritime community. 

Under an annual service retainer, Qwest Legal provides clients with pre- and post-fixture advice on all maritime or trade enquiries. Contract wordings, claims and legal advice are all covered. This includes specific claims and disputes, as well as any general enquiries you may have.

The retainer acts as an extension beyond traditional P&I and FD&D matters, including but not limited to, advice on H&M claims.

There is no limit to the number of enquiries that can be made under the retainer nor is there any deductible. Clients can call on their dedicated team for advice whenever a problem arises.

We tailor our support packages to the individual client’s needs which allows us to ensure a competitive price, usually under a fixed annual fee*.

Qwest Legal is for those who would benefit from an experienced claims and legal team without the associated costs of an in-house team, or those who may have existing teams who would benefit from additional support.

*Other fee structures can be arranged to suit bespoke needs.

Our experts can help you with:

  • Advice on maritime contracts including charterparty wordings, bills of lading, proforma clauses and more
  • Advice on cargo claims, charterparty and bill of lading disputes
  • Advice on hire, freight and demurrage claims
  • Advice on first and third party damage claims
  • Drafting correspondence, letters, wordings and demands
  • Liaising with insurers and third parties

Key features

  • Specialist advice from commercial maritime lawyers with over 150 years' experience

  • Maritime claims experts across the globe 

  • Seamless integration with in-house teams

  • Unlimited legal advice - 24/7, 365 days a year

  • Tiered fee support structure - agreed in advance

  • No deductible

  • Full support, advising up to the point of legal proceedings


Legal fee protection

Clients have the option of extending the retainer at inception to include legal fee protection in the event of proceedings.

Key features

  • Legal fee protection up to US$1,000,000 for English Law disputes (other jurisdictions can be agreed) backed by Lloyd’s security
  • 25% retained amount

For those clients that do not purchase legal fee support, discounted rates are available for handling the matter through to conclusion.

Who is it for?

  • Ship owners and operators
  • Time and Voyage Charterers
  • Ship Managers
  • Freight forwarders
  • Brokers
  • Traders

How does it work and what does it cover?

Annual Service Retainer

  • An annual service agreement for all nominated ships for an annual fee starting from US$2,500 per vessel per annum

  • Pre-purchase fixed number of hours

  • Unlimited legal and claims advice in relation to any maritime or trade query, pre- or post-fixture and at any time up to the commencement of legal proceedings

  • No deductible and no limit on the number of times the service can be used

Legal fee support cover

Option to extend the Service Level Agreement to include from US$250,000 up to US$1,000,000 legal fee protection

25% deductible applies to claims under the legal fee support cover

Product Guide

FAQ - Qwest Legal

1. There are two elements to Qwest Legal – the first is an annual retainer under which the client benefits from deductible-free, unlimited English law advice up to the point that proceedings are commenced; the second is legal fee protection up to USD1m per dispute.
2. Fee structures are flexible and tailored to suit the client – usually a fixed annual fee though we also offer a “pay as you go” fee structure that allows clients to pre-purchase hours each month and carry over unused hours.

Qwest Legal advises on the full range of pre- and post-fixture maritime and trade matters including:
  • Charterparty wordings, bills of lading, proforma clauses
  • Cargo claims, charterparty and bill of lading disputes
  • Freight, hire, demurrage and detention claims and disputes
  • First and third-party damage claims
  • H&M claims
  • Sanctions
  • Speed & consumption and performance claims
  • Delay and deviation
  • Bunker disputes
  • Stevedore disputes
  • Agency disputes
  • Crew disputes

No – the legal costs insurances acts as a supplemental offering to the retainer. Our experience is that the majority of matters settle before the need for proceedings and thus prior to any deductible costs being incurred by the client.

1. Qwest Legal is primarily a legal advice retainer service offering help on pre- and post-fixture issues and queries covered by English Law - 90% of all maritime contracts.

2. Qwest Legal offers unlimited advice from experienced maritime solicitors and claims professionals without deductible or time/cost recorded against your record.

3. Qwest Legal can advise on other jurisdictions at cost.

4. Qwest Legal can bolt on legal fee protection from West P&I underwriters for the costs of formal legal proceedings (English Law only). This is flexible but usually $500k per dispute.

5. Like traditional Defence cover, support for legal fee protection costs is discretionary and subject to a deductible (25%). 

6. Qwest legal is structured to provide legal advice first with a bolt on cover for legal costs protection. This structure means we can design a flexible, needs-driven package at a competitive price.

Our team consists of lawyers and claims professionals with over 150 years of combined experience, the vast majority of which was accumulated at major shipping law firms though several members of our team have also worked for P&I and H&M insurers as well as in-house with shipowning companies.