Stikeman Elliott
Aviation and Transportation
Maritime, Aviation and Transportation


Stikeman Elliott has an extensive maritime law practice, including importation, purchase and sale, construction, registration, finance, litigation/arbitration, charter parties, pollution and marine insurance. The members of this practice group have special knowledge of federal regulatory matters as well as IMO, CMI, UNCTAD, UNCITRAL and International Oil Pollution Fund matters. It has also experience in dealing with Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard. It represents a number of Canada's leading shipowners, in the dry/wet bulk and container trades, and has long standing relationships with the leading U.K. and U.S. law firms in this sector.

Because of Montreal's longstanding history as a major international port and gateway to the St. Lawrence Seaway, our maritime law practice has historically been based in Montréal.

For many years, our lawyers have acted on behalf of domestic and international shipowners, in connection variously with the financing, purchasing, importing, chartering and other related transactions of vessels, as well as in connection with the flag registration of such vessels throughout the world. We have also acted for several financial institutions in the granting of construction and acquisition credit facilities to various borrowers.

Among our individual Maritime Group:

  • Peter Cullen has been recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading practitioner "Most Frequently Recommended" (the highest rating) in the area of shipping and maritime law. He is included in The Best Lawyers in Canada in the areas of Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration and Maritime Law and the Who's Who Legal, The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers in the area of Shipping & Maritime. He is an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Maritime Law Association (President, 2003-2005 and member of the Board of Directors 1998-2007). In addition, he was the principal attorney engaged by Marine Atlantic and its project team in implementing Marine Atlantic's agreed charter terms in respect of the "ATLANTIC VISION".

  • Laurent Fortier is recognized as a practitioner "repeatedly recommended" in the shipping and maritime sector by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. He is also included in The Best Lawyers in Canada in the Insurance Law and Maritime Law sectors as well as PLC's Insurance and Reinsurance Multi-Jurisdictional Guide 2012 in the Insurance: contentious (Canada) sector.


At Stikeman Elliott, our Aviation Law practice provides strategic advice and legal service in all matters related to the industry throughout Canada and internationally, with a particular focus on aviation and aircraft financing matters. Our valued clients include airlines, financial institutions, financiers, underwriters, lessors, airport operators, aircraft and other equipment manufacturers, governments, corporate users and fixed base operators. The firm regularly acts in financing, commercial and transactional matters for Canadian based multinational companies including Air Canada and CAE Inc. We have also acted for Air Canada on its restructuring - one of the largest in Canadian history.

Our lawyers have extensive experience relating to all aspects of aircraft and infrastructure financing and transactions coupled with expertise in international commercial and charter aviation and aerospace law, including regulatory issues.

The Aviation practice group is supported by our broad team of practitioners in other related areas including banking, corporate and commercial law, tax, labour relations and pensions, environment and litigation.

Our practice offers considerable strength in the key markets of Toronto and Montréal. Montréal partner Sterling Dietze has extensive experience advising in matters respecting financing and other issues relating to aircraft and aviation equipment.

Aviation Litigation

Members of the group, and in particular Pierre-Paul Daunais, have been representing Bombardier Inc., aerospace division, in a number of litigation matters involving a wide variety of issues such as product liability (investigating as to the nature and cause of technical issues), contractual disputes resolution, conformity of the aircraft to contractual specifications and applicable Canadian and foreign regulations, manufacturing and delivery process, application of industry standards, application of foreign law to domestic contractual disputes and conduct of depositions in various jurisdictions. The involvement of the members of the group in these litigation matters has provided in depth knowledge of the various technical aspects of the aircraft manufacturing and delivery process. The group has also represented many other clients in the aviation industry.


Our experience in the transportation industry encompasses both the creation and financing of transportation infrastructure, and the operations, corporate activities and regulation of carriers. We have acted in several large and complex financings in the industry, including toll road projects in both Canada and abroad, as well as complicated transportation-related mergers. We have extensive experience in the leasing of transportation equipment. We act for manufacturers of transportation equipment and other infrastructure. Through our work in privatizations, we advised on some of the largest public offerings in Canada's history, relating to offerings by the government owned air carrier and national railway, and have wide corporate and finance experience with transportation companies. We have extensive experience in the regulatory aspects of the sector, and in transportation insurance matters.

Stikeman Elliott's Maritime, Aviation and Transportation practice group has expertise in the following fields:

  • Freight forwarding: We represent some of the major air and sea freight forwarders such as Panalpina Inc., Affiliated Customs Brokers, Kuehne & Nagel and MSAS Cargo.

  • Insurance matters: We have a depth of expertise in all commercial insurance matters, including open cargo, all risk property, errors and omissions, directors and officers, composite risks, excess, umbrella, reinsurance and other specialty risks.

  • International Trade: We have expertise with all aspects of international sales, documentary credit and transportation documentation.

  • Product liability: We have and are handling cases involving death and catastrophic injuries on behalf of manufacturers and their insurers in relation to a range of products such as : cranes, life rafts, personal water crafts, snowmobiles and ATVs, explosives, etc.

  • Death and personal injury claims: We act for Plaintiffs in death and personal injury claims, as well as in defence for P&I Clubs and Insurers.

  • Multi-jurisdictional litigation: We are experienced in directing and coordinating foreign litigation on behalf of Canadian clients and multi-jurisdictional disputes.

Related Practices
Key Contacts

Peter Cullen
Laurent Fortier

Related Publications