A New Generation Of Superyacht Lawyer
Yacht Investor|Issue 23
A New Generation Of Superyacht Lawyer

Anouch Sedef is a superyacht lawyer and partner at the aviation and superyacht boutique law firm of Meyer Avocats in Geneva, Switzerland. Anouch started her career, 10 years ago, as a solicitor in London with a superyacht law firm based in the City. In our interview with her, she explains the role of a lawyer in the superyacht industry, what it takes to be a good one and how she envisages the job.

How did you become a superyacht lawyer and what is your role?

A superyacht lawyer is a specialty within the specialty that is maritime law. I became a superyacht lawyer by training, learning alongside one of the best lawyers I know. I learned how to use my maritime knowledge, my network and my legal reasoning to think outside the box in order to satisfy and assist clients accomplishing their projects. The superyacht industry is very special and niche. It is very protective and conservative, yet at the same time is also creative and expanding. The professionals of the industry have had to evolve alongside the super-fast development of the industry. This has not been easy, especially for lawyers as lawyers are often seen as conservative, traditional and resistant to changes.

I have been trained to think differently. I was taught to look for solutions and offer our clients new thinking, and new ideas so as to deliver a better service. In that sense I believe I am part of a new generation; I am not afraid to challenge what has been established by years of practice while offering a different view on legal issues.

My role, and the one of a superyacht lawyer, is to accompany, assist and advise the client in the project they wish to accomplish. Whether it is to buy, sell, build or operate a superyacht. There are two simple, but important, facts that must be acknowledged in order to understand why you need a lawyer to begin with:

There will be international parties and jurisdictions involved; and

The value of the asset that is contemplated is likely to be extremely high.

This triggers the natural need to feel protected and ensure that the other party is obligated to have in place a resolution process should matters go sour. Any transaction has fiscal and legal implications which call for an understanding and expertise on:

The category and the specificity of the asset that is to be acquired/sold;

The international and national regulations relating to that asset. Superyachts are unique assets that have specific laws and regulations dedicated to them. Contrary to what some people might think it is not like buying a car or a house.

Why would I need a specialised lawyer as opposed to my traditional lawyer?

Your specialised superyacht lawyer will have a direct understanding of the legal situation you are in, with the knowledge of the industry and the actors involved. He/she will therefore be able to anticipate what is expected, required and foreseeable.

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Issue 23