In a contribution to the legal support of seafarers worldwide, SRI (Seafarers' Rights International) launched a Charter of Good Practice for the Provision of Legal Services to Seafarers.
“For seafarers, seeking the advice of a lawyer can be one of the most stressful events of their career,” said Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of SRI. “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.
“The Charter is a set of professional ethics to bind lawyers working in any jurisdiction around the world, taking into account the particular concerns of seafarers. It provides reassurance that the seafarer client will be treated in a certain way.
“As part of our work, we frequently encounter seafarers in need of legal assistance. 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.
“Subscribers to the Charter are lawyers professionally licensed to practice in their respective jurisdictions. We are delighted to say that the response to the Charter so far has been excellent and over 100 lawyers from 50 different law firms across 34 countries worldwide have committed to it.
“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 maximize the number of expert lawyers to whom seafarers can have ready access.”