By Shōhei Tezuka
Since early 2009, we have been holding regular maritime-law workshops with maritime practitioners (including shipping companies, insurers and lawyers). We use a maritime law textbook written by scholars in the U.K.
The workshop is held almost monthly, with around 20 participants. We designate presenters from among the members of the workshop for each chapter. In each workshop, we discuss many points, such as questions about the interpretation of English law and central themes to be taken into account in practice, as well as focusing on understanding the meaning of the sentences in the textbook itself.
I personally handled the chapter on “charterparties”, which is a very important part of the book, and gave a presentation on the subject just the other day.
In the area of maritime law, English law and precedents play a significant role, and the common language in practice is English. Consequently, what is essential to handle maritime cases is having the ability to communicate in English in addition to having a good understanding of the law.
It is often said that there is a scarcity of maritime lawyers in and around the Kobe area. As one of the lawyers working here in Kobe, which has one of the most famous ports in Japan, I am rather ashamed of this fact.
I have dealt with several maritime cases so far, and I will make an even greater effort to further increase my knowledge of maritime law and improve my English ability, in order to be able to better advise clients in more complicated and difficult maritime cases.