Thomas S. Hawkins Partner

Tom is a founding partner of the firm and practices in the areas of maritime law, insurance defence and commercial litigation advising clients on matters relating to marine insurance, arrest of vessels, towage, pollution, collision, terminals, cargo, employment, bodily injury and maritime commercial matters.

Tom has conducted cases in the trial and appellate courts of the Federal Court, the British Columbia Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. He has been counsel in numerous maritime casualty investigations and oil pollution occurrences. He conducted the investigation of the 2006 sinking of the “Queen of the North” and represented the families and survivors of the 2015 “Leviathan II” Tofino whale watching boat tragedy.  Tom’s clients appreciate his practical solutions focused approach to resolving operational and legal problems. Leading publications have referred to Tom, saying: The “very talented” Thomas Hawkins comes “highly recommended” by clients.

He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Maritime law at the U.B.C. Faculty of Law and has lectured on many maritime and insurance topics. Tom was appointed Vice President of the Pacific Regional Advisory Council on Oil Spill Response by the Minister of Transport. He has presented topics on maritime law to the Government of Vietnam.

He represents P&I Clubs, shipowners, terminals, hull underwriters, marine insurers and companies in Canada and internationally. He is also the principal contact for BC’s leading motor vehicle insurer and is frequently asked to conduct short fuse trials.

Tom is the past West Coast Vice President of the Canadian Maritime Law Association and currently serves as Chair of the TSB Committee. He is past chair of the BC Maritime Law Section, past Member at Large of the National Maritime Law Section of the CBA and current member of the Owners Committee of the Chamber of Shipping of B.C. He also served on the executive of the Marine Insurance Association of BC.  Tom writes many articles for publication and is a frequent speaker in the area of maritime law, marine insurance and bodily injury.

As a maritime lawyer Tom walks the walk by regularly crewing on offshore ocean sailing expeditions notably across the Tasman Sea, the Coral Sea, South Pacific and recently across the Atlantic Ocean. He serves as Honourary Solicitor of the West Vancouver Yacht Club.

Representative Cases

Westec Aerospace Inc. v. Raytheon Aircraft Co. (2001) SCC 26, 197 D.L.R. (4th) S.C.C. Supreme Court of Canada. Subject: conflicts of laws – jurisdiction – parallel proceedings – foreign company seeking declaration in foreign court for stay of proceedings – parallel proceedings.

Pioneer Grain Company Ltd. v. Far-Eastern Shipping Co., [2000] 181 FTR 161. Federal Court of Appeal. Subject: strike out claim – breach of court order – maritime cargo claim.

Jian Sheng Co. v. Great Tempo S. A., [1198] 3 FCR 418 (FCA).  Federal Court of Appeal. Subject: jurisdiction – bill of lading clause – identity of carrier.

Rajan v. Hudson, 2014 BCSC 1678. Supreme Court of British Columbia. Subject bodily injury – divisible and indivisible injuries – loss of earning capacity.

Zajaczkowski v. Grauer, 2014 BCSC 711. Supreme Court of British Columbia. Subject: bodily injury – damages – credibility – future loss of capacity.

Nanaimo Harbour Link Corporation v. Abakhan & Associates Inc., 2007 BCSC 109. Supreme Court of British Columbia. Subject: maritime law – bankruptcy law – maritime liens – priorities.

Pan Liberty Navigation Co. Ltd. et al. v. World Link (H.K.) Resources Limited, 2005 BCCA 206. British Columbia Court of Appeal. Subject: maritime law – jurisdiction – stay of proceedings – arbitration clause.

Salvatierra v. Vancouver (City), 2008 BCSC 537. Supreme Court of British Columbia. Subject: personal injury – damages – future loss of income.

Imperial Granite Supply Ltd. v. “Sea Pearl” et al, unreported April 16, 1999. British Columbia Supreme Court. Subject: maritime law – cargo damage – liability of carrier.

Oak Bay Marine Group v. Jackson, [1994] 3 FCR 177 Federal Court. Subject: Marine bodily injury – navigation liability – damages and income loss.

Professional and Other Affiliations

  • Law Clerk to the Vancouver County Court, 1987 - 1988
  • Called to the Bar of British Columbia, 1988
  • Law Society of British Columbia, Member
  • UBC Faculty of Law, Adjunct Professor of Maritime Law, 1996 to 2008, 2022 to present
  • Appointed V.P. of the Pacific Regional Advisory Council on Oil Spill Response, by Minister of Transport
  • Canadian Maritime Law Association, past Vice President West Coast
  • Canadian Maritime Law Association, Chair of Transportation Safety Board Committee.
  • Chamber of Shipping of B.C., Owners Committee Member
  • Marine Underwriters Association of B.C., Past Executive Member
  • C.B.A., National Maritime Law Section, Past Member-at-Large
  • C.B.A., Maritime Law Section (B.C.), Past Chair.
  • Listed in “Best Lawyers Canada” and “Who’s Who Legal: Canada” as recognized leading counsel in maritime law, and in “Legal Lexpert Directory” as a leading lawyer in maritime and shipping law in Canada.

Author and Speaker

  • Adjunct Professor of Maritime Law at UBC Law School, 1998 – 2008, 2022 to present
  • Textbook “Canadian Maritime Law,” – chapter on Salvage, Wreck and Places of Refuge – publication 2nd ed. 2016.
  • BCIT Marine Campus on Ocean Carriage of Goods, 2019
  • US Association of Transportation Law Professionals Conference on Cross-Border Oil Spills, 2013.
  • Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy – on Cross-Border Oil Pollution – Pacific, 2013.
  • Kluwer Law International – Maritime Law Handbook – Canada Contributor, yearly.
  • BIMCO 39 Conference on Criminalization of Seafarers, 2011.
  • Lecturer at Vietnam Transport Department Conference on Maritime Law, Hanoi, 1999.
  • Pacific Pilotage Authority Planning Session 2009.
  • Frequent contributor to Harbour and Shipping magazine and BC Shipping News on topical issues.
  • Insurance Brokers Association of B.C., 2009.
  • BC Marine Insurance Association on Pleasure Craft Bodily Injury, 2008.
  • BC Ferries on Pollution Regulations, 2008.
  • Chartered Ship Brokers Seminar on Terrorism and Insurance Issues, 2002.
  • "Laing v. Boreal Pacific", International Maritime Law, 2000.
  • M.L.A. Open Meeting on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1997.
  • Marine Spill Response Conference on Agencies and Their Roles, 1997.
  • Lecturer at Pacific Marine Training Centre on collisions, tug and tow and salvage, 1997.

Other Interests

Tom enjoys summer sailing up the coast on his Jeanneau 41 with his family, as well as skiing and ice hockey in the winter.