Peter G. Bernard, K.C. (Retired June 15th, 2012)

Although Peter has chosen to retire from the practice of law, he will continue to sit as a Member of the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada as well as offer services as an Arbitrator and Mediator. He can be contacted through the office of Bernard LLP or directly at, telephone (604) 985-5052; mobile (604) 760-6272.

After obtaining his law degree from the University of British Columbia, Peter joined the long established Vancouver Maritime Law Firm of Macrae Montgomery Hill & Cunningham.  He was a Partner in that firm from 1969 to 1982.  During that period of time, he gained extensive experience in all areas of the Maritime Law practice.  In 1982, Peter joined the Vancouver firm of Campney & Murphy where he was a Partner until 2002, when he became one of the founding members of Bernard LLP.

Peter’s practice has enveloped a very broad spectrum in the field of Maritime Law over a period of more than 40 years, where he has represented ship owners and charterers in both international and coastal shipping, terminal operators, P&I Clubs, Hull and Machinery Underwriters, ship builders and various worldwide financial institutions.  The practice includes litigious matters in areas such as collision, salvage, maritime liens, pollution, immigration, bodily injury, carriage and chartering disputes and also includes commercial work including carriage and chartering along with ship purchase and finance.  Peter has been involved in Arbitrations and Mediations as counsel and as an Arbitrator or Mediator.

Throughout his career, Peter has continued to write on matters of Maritime Law with various forms of publication including monthly periodicals and law journals.  He has spoken often to an assortment of audiences in Canada, the United States and elsewhere.

Peter has been a leading influence in the marine community particularly in western Canada.  He has been a Director of the Chamber of Shipping, the International Maritime Centre, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Maritime Law Association, Vancouver Maritime Museum.  He has chaired or otherwise organised many events, including the International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators in 1991, the International Conference of Marine Arbitration in 1988 and a number of continuing legal education seminars and presentations.  Peter was appointed Queen’s Counsel in January 2001 and is listed as a leading lawyer in Canada and in the maritime world in Who’s Who Legal, Best Lawyers.  Peter was recently given the honour of the Best Maritime Lawyer in Vancouver, British Columbia for 2011.

Representative Cases

Royal Bank of Scotland plc v. "Golden Trinity" (The), 2004 FC 795, 2004 FCT 427, 220 F.T.R. 1, Federal Court; May 31, 2004; Docket: T-38-99, T-119-99. Subject: Corporate and Commercial; International; Public banking and banks –— Maritime Lien – Reordering of priorities; Maritime law – Ships — Sale and transfer.

Ssangyong Australia Pty Ltd. v. "Looiersgracht" (The), 1994 CarswellNat 417, 85 F.T.R. 265, [1994] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 411, Federal Court, October 19, 1994, Docket: T-2166-94. Subject: Torts; Contracts; Civil Practice and Procedure; Carriers – Liability for damage to goods — Liability for goods shipped under contract of carriage — Statutory limitations of liability — Shipping legislation; Maritime Law – Admiralty Courts — Maritime jurisdiction of Federal Court — Title, possession and ownership; Maritime Law – Admiralty Courts — Maritime jurisdiction of Federal Court — Damage — "Damage done by ships".

R. v. "Sun Diamond" (The), 1983 CarswellNat 90, 25 C.C.L.T. 19, [1984] 1 F.C. 3 (sub nom. R. v. "Erawan" (The)), 3 F.P.R. 345; Federal Court, April 15,1983, Docket: T-3843-73. Subject: Torts; Environmental Law – Common law actions — Nuisance — Liability in particular cases — Water pollution — Fuel. Torts – Nuisance — Remedies — Abatement.

Westcan Stevedoring Ltd. v. "Armar" (The), 1973 CarswellNat 100, [1973] F.C. 1232, Federal Court, December 20,1973. Subject: Public Maritime Law – Ships — Maritime liens — Lien for necessaries.

Stein v. "Kathy K." (The), 1972 CarswellNat 27, [1972] F.C. 585, Federal Court, May 02,1972. Subject: Public Maritime Law – Navigation — Negligent navigation — Damages.

Professional and Other Affiliations

  • Called to the Bar of British Columbia, 1967, retired June 15th, 2012
  • Law Society of British Columbia, Retired Member
  • Canadian Bar Association, Member
  • Canadian Maritime Law Association, Member
  • Vancouver Maritime Museum, Director
  • International Maritime Centre, Director and Chairman
  • International Sailors Society, Director
  • Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, Director
  • National Maritime Centre, Past Director and Chair of Governance Committee

Author and Speaker

  • Contributor of articles to Maritime Law Notes column in Harbour & Shipping magazine published monthly in Vancouver, 1979 – 2008
  • Canadian Transportation Research Forum Legal Practice in Transport Logistics 2009
  • Pacific States BC Oil Spill Task Force Review Project (Canadian portion) 2009 - 2010
  • Conducted review of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Decision to Terminate the Canadian Coast Guard Rescue Diving Pilot Project. Prepared for Minister of Fisheries &Oceans 2001
  • Paper given on Transborder Pollution Issues to Pacific Admiralty Seminar, San Francisco, October 2000 subsequently published in University of San Francisco Law Journal
  • Paper presented December 1995 to Judges of Federal Court and Canadian Maritime Law Association members on Cargo, Salvage and Pollution issues in Maritime Law
  • Paper given in Hanoi to various officials of Maritime Departments of Government of Vietnam on Ship Source Oil Pollution, 1994
  • Maritime Law Conference paper on Contingency Planning for Ship Source Oil Pollution, 1994
  • Asia Pacific Institute - Chairperson and presented paper entitled "Resolution of Disputes and Remedies", 1991
  • Fisheries Law Conference - paper on Fisheries, Licensing and Ministerial Discretion, 1991
  • Third International Maritime Law Conference - paper on Liabilities of Agents, 1986
  • Pacific Northwest Admiralty Law Institute, Portland, Oregon - paper on Marine Casualty Inquiry, 1983
  • Paper on Marine Arbitration in British Columbia given to Annual Meeting Maritime Law Section in Montreal, 1980
  • Conducted and participated in panel discussions or programs on various Maritime Law subjects presented for various industry associations such as:
    • Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia
    • Chartered Institute of Shipbrokers
    • Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association
    • Lectured at University of British Columbia Law School Maritime Law course on Salvage, Pollution, Carriage, etc.
    • Co-Chairperson International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators, 1991
    • Chairperson International Conference on Maritime Arbitration, 1988
    • Continuing Legal Education Seminar on Fisheries Law, 1985
    • Continuing Legal Education Seminar on Practice in the Federal Court, 1977

Other Interests

Family, boating and golf.

Peter G. Bernard, K.C.

Areas of Practice

  • Retired June 15th, 2012


  • B.A., University of British Columbia, 1963
  • LL.B., University of British Columbia, 1966