Fernandes Hearn LLPRui Fernandes
Rui Fernandes is no stranger to us at PCVA. He has helped us with a variety of legal matters and his knowledge and experience have made significant contributions in strengthening our association’s sea legs.
A highly-trained lawyer, Rui’s background is impressive. He has been included in the Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide as one of the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada; is on the list in “Best Lawyers in Canada” in the area of maritime law and transportation law; is Chambers Canada ranked, Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rated, and listed in Who’s Who Legal Canada Thought Leader in Shipping and Maritime Law.
There’s no doubt that in our industry we need specialised, tailored legal advice. Not only does Rui know law, he fully understands our unique stresses and obstacles because he owned a charter boat as well. He is personally familiar with the challenges we each face as cyclical, regulatory-heavy, and service-industry businesses. Speaking with Rui, he mentioned that, “Dealing with Transport Canada, with marine insurance, with city and towns regarding docking and noise and rights of navigation is not something a regular corporate lawyer is equipped to deal with. If there is an incident on board a vessel and involving a vessel such as a collision, very specific rules and legislation apply, such as the Marine Liability Act, the Canada Shipping Act, etc. You really need someone who understands maritime law.” We couldn’t agree more.
What does this mean in our daily business? Let’s say one of our members has an insurable incident and requires legal representation. What happens then? Well, first the member would contact their insurer. Many members work with Mike Delaney at RIO Insurance, who then connects with Rui. That’s when he jumps into advice action, “I always recommend to the member to get as much information about the incident as possible and to write it down. Photos, videos, crew statements, log book entries are all very important to get early. Don’t just take one photo, take hundreds. Write down a detailed account of the incident – weather and water conditions, names and addresses of witnesses and what they told you. Keep track of your employees and their home addresses so they can be contacted later if need be.”
As much as we’d like to put these incidents behind us quickly, Rui explains that “cases sometimes take two or more years to resolve.” Memories fade, so do as much as you can as early as you can.
Fortunately for PCVA members, Rui’s firm services all areas of our industry so he can help in any kind of situation and circumstance. They buy and sell companies for clients, draft and review contracts, provide employment advice and defend clients in court when they get sued. Importantly, Rui’s services also include education by presenting a number of seminars on loss prevention and how to deal with claims. In addition, they put out a monthly e-newsletter that you can subscribe to.
Rui is also a successful writer on legal matters, having been published by Aerospark Press, Transportation Law (three volumes), and by Lexis Nexis on Railway Law, Carriage of Goods, and Maritime Law, published in their Halsbury’s Laws of Canada.
But Rui’s not all law and litigation. He continues to spend time on the water. He still sails. He paints and does photography. He also writes under a pseudonym, but what that is will remain a mystery – even to PCVA members.