On course with the Maritime Law Academy - BIMCO Bulletin

Contracts and clauses

BIMCO September 2019 By Phil Lattimore, Freelance journalist BIMCO’s Summer Shipping School in Copenhagen has been a regular fixture on the maritime training calendar since 2002, but this summer saw the launch of an all-new programme from the organisation aimed at covering international maritime law and its relationship with global trade, shipping and marine insurance. The bootcamp atmosphere is incredibly important The inaugural BIMCO Maritime Law Academy was held from 8-12 July in Cambridge, UK, bringing together 18 participants from across the world for a five-day residential course designed to create an intensive “bootcamp-style” learning experience. The focus was on helping to develop legal knowledge, practical application of learning and provide insights into the fundamental principles of shipping and trade law. The Academy’s aim was to deliver a deeper understanding of the complex legal issues involved in maritime law for both shipping professionals and those outside the sector. With its rich history of learning and academic excellence, the university city was an obvious choice for BIMCO, according to Head of Training, Peter Grube. His concept for the Maritime Law Academy was conceived a year ago. “Cambridge was an ideal location for us – the academic environment and facilities surrounding it enabled us to create a very focused learning atmosphere.” Theory and practice combined The structure and principles of the five-day, residential training course purposely mirrored those of the highly intensive Summer Shipping School. “We knew that the structure of the Summer Shipping School worked really well from a learning perspective and would suit this type of intensive law course. The bootcamp atmosphere is incredibly important for the whole learning process, and the social element of the residential course – for which Cambridge is also ideal – is a really important factor in developing relationships,” says Grube. That structure comprised an initial three days of intensive teaching at Trinity Hall college – including a blend of academic courses and practical presentations by experienced practitioners – one day out on a study field trip to London, and the final day based around a major case study with participants resolving an issue in a simulated arbitration hearing scenario. The course was developed by BIMCO in association with the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law at Swansea University. All teaching was carried out by practitioners and was based on actual cases of maritime law. The first three days of the course were divided between morning sessions covering the academic and theoretical principles of maritime law, and afternoon sessions with law practitioners demonstrating the implementation of those principles in commercial practice. “We decided that the learning principles had to be based around not just an academic course per se, but more of a practical course with an academic twist,” says Grube. “This brought a level of engagement between the participants and the speakers and created dialogue and interaction among participants. The course really came together when the speakers were discussing how they applied law in the cases they were handling, and participants were asking questions. They were very passionate about it.” The intention was to provide the experienced professionals taking the course with a greater theoretical and practical insight into dealing with the type of maritime law issues many of them experience daily. This included training to construct precise legal arguments that can be applied in professional situations and communicating them coherently. Sharing experiences Crucially, the focus was on sharing valuable experiences, while teaching was also structured to encourage and facilitate networking between participants.“We always encourage them to share experiences. It is valuable to understand how company or cultural differences affect how people perceive, apply and approach issues. Understanding what the other side really wants helps you resolve problems,” says Grube. The day-four field trip – including a guided walking tour around ‘Legal London’, focusing on the Temple area and Royal Courts of Justice, and visits to a mutual marine insurer and a global law firm – gave a further layer of background knowledge. As with the Summer Shipping School, participants’ progress was assessed at the end of day three with a written 90-minute test on the topics studied. On the basis of this performance, they were awarded a graded certificate from the Academy. On the final day, participants used the learning from the week in a simulated arbitration scenario, with two groups preparing their submissions in the morning for an afternoon hearing, chaired by a professional arbitrator. This created a realistic and intense experience that reinforced the practical lessons from the course. “The Maritime Law Academy is an important addition to the building blocks of learning what BIMCO offers, and the successful course has already been scheduled again for 2020,” says Grube. “Overall, we had a very good week. We recreated the bootcamp atmosphere from the Summer Shipping School in Copenhagen and I was really pleased with that. Now, I’m looking forward to next year.” Next year’s Maritime Law Academy will take place on 6-10 July, 2020 in Cambridge. for the whole learning process Photo credit: Graham Copekoga Photo (very top & portraits directly to the right): Graham Copekoga Connect with BIMCO Facebook Twitter Linkedin YouTube