The Charter serves as a framework of professional ethics for lawyers working with seafarers in any part of the world. “As part of our work, we frequently encounter seafarers in need of legal assistance,” said SRI Executive Director Deirdre Fitzpatrick. “Whilst we do not recommend one lawyer or law firm over another, we hope it can assist seafarers to have access to a list of lawyers who have signed up to and accepted that they are bound by the principles in the Charter.”
So far, over 100 lawyers from 50 different worldwide law firms have signed up to the charter.
“For seafarers, seeking the advice of a lawyer can be one of the most stressful events of their career,” said Fitzpatrick. “Not only are they dealing with the effects of the incident that has led them to that point, but they are also pursuing a course of action which too often seems fraught with confusion, difficulties and worries about expense.
“The first hurdle often is to find a reputable lawyer who is knowledgeable about seafarers’ rights’ issues, and who is willing and able to represent the seafarer at a reasonable cost.
“SRI will keep the list of subscribing lawyers and law firms under review and we call on other lawyers with relevant expertise to visit our website and to contact us if they wish to subscribe to the Charter. We hope also that other bodies in the industry will work with us to maximise the number of expert lawyers to whom seafarers can have ready access.”