Gavin Fitzmaurice
Gavin Fitzmaurice
Position: Partner, Cape Town Managing Partner
 
Practice: Dispute Resolution
 
Office: Cape Town
 
Telephone: Tel:+27 21 431 7279
Cell:+27 82 787 3920
 
Email: gavin.fitzmaurice@webberwentzel.com
 

Gavin Fitzmaurice is the managing partner of the firm's Cape Town office and has been involved in major maritime litigation resulting from disasters and casualties since 1992, including all aspects of casualty investigations, dealing with access to crew, vessels and documents, taking evidence on commission, subsequent trial and arbitration work, and in courts of marine enquiry.

He also has extensive experience in all aspects of arrest work, having represented parties in relation to enforcement proceedings, obtaining of security, and both effecting and setting aside complex associated ship arrests. He has considerable experience in all port related work, and also in dealing with P&I Club matters, whether for owners or charterers. During his career, he has been involved in precedent-setting legal decisions and numerous judgments. He also has expertise in mortgage foreclosures, judicial ship sales, and related commercial work, as well as in marine and transport insurance and related cargo claims. He deals with loss of life and personal injuries matters in the marine context. He has experience in ship repair matters, including related arbitration work.

Gavin is currently the vice-president of the Maritime Law Association of South Africa ("MLA"). He chaired the Cape Chapter of the MLA from 2007 to 2017. He is an external examiner for the University of Cape Town's Admiralty Law Department. He is currently recognised by Legal 500 2017 and Who's Who Legal Transport: Shipping 2018, as well as being ranked in Band 1 in Chambers Global 2018.

Areas of expertise
  • Admiralty and maritime litigation
  • Marine insurance and shipping casualty work
  • General maritime and commercial litigation
  • Carriage of goods by land and sea
  • Insurance litigation
Highlights
  • Named by:
    • Chambers Global 2017 - 2018 as a ranked lawyer (Shipping).
    • Legal 500 2011 - 2018 as a leading individual (Shipping & Transport). 
    • Who's Who Legal 2015 as listed lawyer (Shipping and Maritime).
  • Member of the:
    • Ex officio member of Maritime Law Association of South Africa's National Executive Committee (2006 to 2014).
    • Elected member of the Maritime Law Association of South Africa's National Executive Committee (2014 to present).
  • Involved in numerous precedent-setting legal decisions:
    • Kiani Satu judgment establishing a commission to take the evidence of the master and crew.
    • F Elephant v Gulf Sheba Shipping Ltd judgment of the Western Cape High Court which extended the meaning of the associated ship arrest provision deeming charterers to be owners.
    • Banglar Mookh judgment where the Appeal Court rejected a pilotage claim from owners upholding the pilot's indemnity.
    • Snow Crystal judgment where the Appeal Court (confirmed by the Constitutional Court) examined the overlay of contractual and administrative issues related to the operation of the Port.
    • South Seas Driller judgment in relation to pure economic loss.
    • Bos 400 (mt Tigr) judgments including in relation to access, attachments and forum non conveniens