Energy & Infrastructure

Ports & marine

Ports in the UK represent a dynamic industry of fast paced innovation and trade, whether sea ports, freeports or port suppliers.

This presents huge but often complex opportunities to those in the sector. Supporting our clients to capitalise on those opportunities is where the team at Foot Anstey specialises, striving to replicate the dynamism that characterises Ports.

Our specialist team of lawyers work closely with clients – including operators of ports as well as suppliers and customers of ports – advise on a broad range of infrastructure and real estate development projects, commercial contracts and regulatory work.

Large UK port

Introducing Foot Anstey’s business accelerator programme

Foot Anstey Enterprise is designed to support the growth of start-ups, SME’s and fast-growing enterprises across. Our Enterprise programme is specifically aimed at businesses establishing themselves and operating in and around the UK’s ports and harbours, including marine technology and clean energy-focused businesses.

As a participant within the programme, you can access a broad range of expertise, insights, tools and training to help you navigate your legal and business challenges arising along your journey to grow and commercialise your business.

Find out more

Focus areas


Freeports are exciting opportunities for the UK to do more business with more parts of the world more frequently and sustainably. Plenty of thought has been given to devising a Freeport model that combines the need for investment and opportunities for growth with the need to ensure that investment is sustainable and respects the environment in which the Freeport community exists.

Freeports present plenty of positive outlooks for the regions they are situated in but with any opportunity, every investor, business and local authority should consult legal teams, so they have a clear understanding of what they are getting involved in.

Our environmental and planning lawyers have worked closely on Development Orders, an intrinsic part of Freeport operation. Our construction and property teams can act for landlords and tenants alike in negotiating the complex development projects that are likely to spring from Freeport status.

We have been supporting businesses and investors located close to or want to get involved in the Freeport operation for many years. Our expertise in this area is unprecedented and we pride ourselves on supporting Freeports in England through pragmatic and understandable legal advice.

Prosecutions and enforcements

Ports and harbour authorities have powers and duties to act to ensure safety for all those who use the water.

In our experience, ports and harbour authorities take this responsibility extremely seriously. It is essential they use their powers effectively to make sure that everyone who uses the water understands their obligations to do so safely – and that tough penalties will be issued to those who don’t.

We have advised and represented ports and harbour authorities all over England and Wales for over a decade. We have worked with them to ensure Harbour Masters and patrol officers understand the procedural steps they need to take to ensure enforcement is robust, fair and proportionate and will stand up to the scrutiny of the courts. We will be with you and your team every step of the way.

It’s important to note not all ‘critical incidents’ will lead to prosecution- on some occasions other forms enforcement can work well. We work with clients to ensure effective and proportionate enforcement, and that prosecutions in the Magistrates Court or Crown Court are robust and act as a deterrent.

To support you further, we provide training to board members and patrol officers, to make sure everyone involved in the process understands what needs to be done. We have worked hard to ensure clients think of us as an extension of their team – all pulling in the same direction in a responsive manner and with the deep knowledge of the sector you would expect from a team that has been so involved in supporting the industry for so long.

Our expertise

The team at Foot Anstey has extensive experience in delivering a broad range of complex development and infrastructure projects. Driven by the challenge of coordinating projects with multiple work-streams and tight deadlines, the team are fully committed to getting under the skin of our clients’ businesses in order to understand their goals and the best way of achieving them.

We are ingrained in the Ports industry, being members of The British Ports Association as well as having strong relationships with PLA and Celtic Sea Cluster. We have made it our mission to support Marine Enterprises and go above and beyond for those that need our legal services.

Hear from one of our experts

The Ports industry is an incredibly exciting one to be part of and work with. At Foot Anstey, we are uniquely placed to represent those that operate within Ports and Freeports because we understand the challenges that our clients face. Our expertise is second-to-none and we can help clients navigate the economic and business opportunities that Ports present them.

Ian Stubbs Head of Energy & Infrastructure

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