Marcus Bowman


Marcus is an experienced commercial litigator (40 years) representing a wide range of international clients including shipowners, charterers, banks, traders and insurers in commercial matters focussing on maritime, commodities and marine insurance, including 7 years as an in-house lawyer in P&I clubs in London and over 30 years in an international law firm in London (HFW) including as a partner and in senior management (16 years) as group head of the firm’s largest group, partner in charge of international offices and as managing partner.
Marcus also has senior management experience as vice and then president of the UK Chamber of Shipping. This is the main trade body of the UK shipping industry.
The combination of long experience as a litigator and law firm management and at the UK Chamber of Shipping has given Marcus the ability to organise and manage very large organisations, conduct large meetings and deal with strong willed and determined parties, while at the same time remaining cooperative and constructive

Style and Approach

Marcus is an active listener, always engaged and attentive. As a former practicing solicitor and law firm manager Marcus is very mindful of the high cost of litigation. He is therefore very proactive, forthright and focussed on solutions. Marcus will, where necessary, challenge parties to explain their positions and expectations. Before any mediation Marcus is keen to explore with the parties their expectations and ideas for solutions and will work hard to prepare the ground for a successful and cost-effective mediation.

Marcus is keen to explore – using mediation – any opportunities for early intervention to achieve intermediate solutions to some aspects of the dispute so as to enable the parties (where possible) to thereafter resolve the remaining issues themselves. Marcus considers that many mediations can be undertaken quickly, at short notice and at lower cost by the use of video conferencing facilities.


Marcus’ legal expertise is in all aspects of maritime, commodities and marine insurance both under English law and internationally including advising and representing clients in London arbitration, mediation, English high court proceedings and supervising litigation in the USA, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

Marcus is familiar with litigation and arbitration procedure including the collection and presentation of evidence, the role of experts, forum and jurisdiction clauses in contracts, commencement of proceedings and time bar and limitation issues

Marcus’ experience includes dealing with the following:

  • charter parties and bills of lading relating to loading and discharge of cargo, demurrage, laytime, hire, off hire, speed and performance, seaworthiness, safe ports, lawful orders to master, war risk, piracy, frustration, repudiation
  • shipbuilding and ship repair
  • obtaining and challenging ship arrests, freezing orders and other injunctions
  • port state detentions
  • marine casualties including involving pollution, ship and yacht hull damage matters including sinking, fire, machinery failure, piracy and war
  • dangerous cargo
  • cargo damage carried in bulk and containers including steel, iron ore, coal, grain, wheat, rice, petroleum products and frozen cargo
  • rejection and sale of damaged cargo
  • marine insurance claims for damage to hull, total losses including disputes with and claims against hull underwriters and loss of hire claims
  • all aspects of P&I insurance cover, the rights and obligations of P&I clubs and their members under the Club’s rules
  • preparing for and managing trials and arbitration including dealing with collection of evidence, disclosure, interviewing witnesses, instructing experts and counsel

Marcus has represented parties in mediation in many of these types of matters as well.          

In addition, Marcus’ considerable experience in law firm senior management has equipped him to deal with management and partnership matters including as regards performance, remuneration and promotion.   


  • Role of P&I Club managers and members obligations under Club rules
  • Litigation, arbitration and mediation in England and internationally mainly in maritime, commodities, insurance
  • Attending numerous mediations as solicitor as well as observer to the mediator
  • All aspects of law firm management and partner- firm relations and disputes

Professional Qualifications

  • University of Cape Town – Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of laws 1973-78
  • University of London – Master of Laws 1978-79
  • Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa 1979
  • Solicitor of the High Court of England and Wales 1990 (non-practicing since late 2019)

Career History

  • 1980 – 1987 London based P&I Clubs
  • 1987 – 2019 HFW (Holman Fenwick Willan), London Office including as a partner (retired June 2019) and in management roles 1999 to 2011 and 2015 to 2019
  • 2013 – 2014 Vice President of the UK Chamber of Shipping
  • 2014 – 2015 President of the UK Chamber of Shipping 
  • 2019 Associate at Quadrant Chambers, London


  • CEDR accredited Mediator 2014
  • Younger Brother of the Corporation of Trinity House