Peter Swanson Partner
Peter is a senior lawyer with over 25 years of experience, and is a founding partner of the firm. He practices primarily in the fields of maritime law and professional discipline.
Peter’s maritime case work involves the enforcement of maritime liens, vessel arrest and security, carriage of cargo, civil and regulatory liability for ship source pollution, collision, port state intervention, immigration, bodily injury, charterparty issues, and constitutional questions involving “navigation and shipping”. Peter also routinely advises on the preparation and completion of transport and terminal contract documentation and is often involved in casualty investigations in both a marine and non-marine context.
Peter’s professional discipline case work involves assisting health care professionals in relation to regulatory or disciplinary issues before their governing regulators, as well as providing assistance in respect of audits or court attendances. This work includes handling complaints from commencement through to hearing and possible judicial review.
Peter appears regularly as counsel before Courts and other tribunals. He has represented clients as counsel in the British Columbia Supreme Court, the Federal Court, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Peter is a regular contributor to local trade journals on maritime law topics. He has also written for the Advocate, the International Insurance Law Review, and co-authored the section on Canada for the International Comparative Legal Guide to: Commodities and Trade Law 2006. He is a frequent speaker, having presented at numerous conferences and to a number of industry groups, including the Chamber of Shipping of B.C. “Business of Shipping” course. Peter is currently active on number of boards and other organizations. He is a director of the Chamber of Shipping of B.C. He is the immediate past Chair of the National Maritime Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association (“CBA”), and was Chair of the Host Committee of ICMA, 2012. He has a long tradition of charitable fund raising for different organizations including the Sailors Society when he competed in the 2008 Three Peaks Challenge fundraiser (a 24 hour challenge to climb 3 of the United Kingdom’s tallest peaks), which raised over £600,000. He has also been involved in the organization of many events (fundraising and educational) including Comité Maritime International, Vancouver.
Peter is recognized by his peers as a leader in the field of maritime law. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada since it was first published in Canada in 2006, is rated as Repeatedly Recommended for shipping and maritime law in the Canadian Legal L’expert Directory, is BV Peer Review rated in LexisNexis – Martindale-Hubbell, and is listed for maritime law in Who’s Who Legal: Canada.
Colley West Shipping Co. v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship & Immigration); 2006 FC 1419, 57 Imm. L.R. (3d) 135, 56 Admin. L.R. (4th) 127, 304 F.T.R. 149 (Eng.); Federal Court; Subject: Immigration; Immigration and citizenship --- Exclusion and removal -- Removal from Canada -- Appeals and judicial review -- Judicial review -- Miscellaneous issues.
Z.I. Pompey Industrie v. ECU-Line N.V.; 2003 SCC 27, 30 C.P.C. (5th) 1, 224 D.L.R. (4th) 577, 2003 A.M.C. 1280, 303 N.R. 201,  1 S.C.R. 450, 240 F.T.R. 318 (note), REJB 2003-40815, J.E. 2003-892; Supreme Court of Canada; Subject: Contracts; Torts; International; Carriers --- Contract of carriage -- Performance of contract -- Deviation; Conflict of laws -- Contracts -- Choice of law -- Where contract specifying law.
Canadian Forest Products Ltd. v. B.C. Rail Ltd.; 2003 BCSC 263, 2003 A.M.C. 1125; British Columbia Supreme Court; Subject: Contracts; Torts; Civil Practice and Procedure; International; Property; Carriers -- Liability for damage to goods -- Liability for goods shipped under contract of carriage -- Evidence of damage -- General; Maritime law -- Parties -- General; Carriers --- Contract of carriage -- Bill of lading -- Transfer of title; Bailment and warehousing -- Hire of services or work -- Bailee's liability to bailor for loss or damage – Carriers.
Ruby Trading S.A. v. Parsons; (2000) 194 D.L.R. (4th) 303, 264 N.R. 79,  2 F.C. 174, 2000 CarswellNat 3455, 2 F.C. 174; Federal Court of Appeal; Subject: Labour and Employment; Constitutional; Torts; Public; Civil Practice and Procedure; Maritime law --- Admiralty courts -- Maritime jurisdiction of Federal Court – General.
Ferguson v. Arctic Transportation Ltd.; (1998) 147 F.T.R. 96,  F.C.J. No. 634; Federal Court of Canada -- Trial Division; May 8, 1998; Docket: T-1941-93; Subject: Torts; Negligence --- General principles -- Causation -- General; Conflict of laws --- Torts -- Choice of law -- Situs of tort – bodily injury.
Professional and Other Affiliations
- Called to the Bar of British Columbia, 1988
- Law Society of British Columbia, Member
- Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, Director
- Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, Member
- Subcommittee on Execution of Orders of the Federal Court Rules Committee, Member. 2012 – present
- CBA, Member
- CBA, (Provincial) past executive member and past Chair of the BC Maritime Law Section
- CBA, (National) current executive Member and Immediate Past Chair of the National Maritime Law Section
- Canadian Maritime Law Association, Member
- International Sailors Society of Canada, Director and Immediate Past Chair
- Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association, Arbitrating Member, Director and Immediate Past President
- International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators, Vancouver 2012, Host Committee Chair
- Comité Maritime International, Vancouver 2004, Member Organizing Committee
- CBA Organizing Committee, 1992 Mid-Winter Convention, Member
- Chamber of Shipping, Education Committee, Current Member and regular presenter
- CBA Organizing Committee, Joint IBA/CBA Convention, 1996 and the 11th Commonwealth Conference, Member
- Maritime Millennium Ball, Co-Chair, Organizing Committee, 2000
- Maritime Mid-Summer Charity Ball 2003, Chair, Organizing Committee, 2003
- Maritime Valentine’s Day Ball 2005 and 2007, Chair Organizing Committee
- CBA, Maritime Law Section/AMUBC Children’s Hospital Fundraising Committee, 1992 to 1995, Member
Author and Speaker
- Frequent contributor to Harbour & Shipping and B.C. Shipping journals.
- Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, “Business of Shipping” courses in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Winnipeg and Ottawa
- Canadian Maritime Law Association, frequent speaker at West Coast Open Meetings.
- Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, “Sea Waybills, the Good and the Bad”.
- Co-author, “Sue and Labour’ Expenses: Common Law or Contract?”, International Insurance Law Review, April 1995.
- University of British Columbia maritime law course: “Port State Control”, 2005.
- Insight Conference: Emergency Response Planning in Marine Industries – “Dealing with Inspectors, Investigations and Environmental Enforcement”, December 1994 and January 2002.
- BCIT (Pacific Marine Training Institute) “The Litigation Process” and “Dealing with Cargo Claims”, various dates.
- General Certified Accountants, “Environmental Law” and “The Litigation Process”, various dates.
- Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association including presentations on “Mock Arbitration and Mediation” and “Arbitration Clauses: What Law Governs and Who Decides?”, various dates.
- Law Society of British Columbia, Professional Legal Training Court Guest Instructor, various.
- BIMCO “The Maritime World is Changing”, Vancouver, B.C., June 1997.