Vanessa Rochester

Of Counsel
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Vanessa Rochester

Vanessa Rochester



Vanessa Rochester practises predominantly in the area of transportation and energy law. She advises clients on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious work.

On the contentious side, Dr. Rochester has experience advising on and managing disputes involving marine pollution, collisions, groundings, maritime incidents, charterparties, carriage of goods, ship sale and purchase, shipbuilding and marine and non‑marine insurance, off-shore vessels, drilling contracts, pipelines, oil and gas transportation and distribution, as well as a variety of general commercial disputes. Dr. Rochester has acted for clients before the Quebec courts and the federal courts of Canada, as well as in both mediation and arbitration (both institutional and ad hoc).

As a solicitor of England and Wales, she has also acted for clients regarding English court proceedings, LMAA arbitrations and mediations.

In addition to her litigation work, Dr. Rochester handles transactional work involving the sale and purchase of vessels and aircraft, financing, charterparties, contracts of affreightment, agreements related to the supply of transportation and logistics services, the purchase of assets in the transportation industry, insurance, regulatory compliance for LNG terminals, and the sale, transportation, export and import of oil and gas.

She has also advised the Government of Canada on transportation policy and issues relating to energy regulation.

Dr. Rochester spent three years practising transportation law in London, England, for a leading shipping law firm, where she acted on behalf of ship owners, charterers, insurers and P&I Clubs, in a wide variety of disputes, involving both English proceedings and a significant number of multijurisdictional disputes. Dr. Rochester also spent several months seconded to a member club of the International Group P&I Clubs.

She also recently practised in Singapore for 18 months, where she acted on behalf of clients in arbitral and judicial proceedings. On the transactional side, she acted in the context of the sale and purchase of vessels, charterparties, newbuildings, seabed mining and insurance. 

Professional experience

Expand all Collapse all

Ph.D., Shipping and Commercial Law, University of Cape Town, 2008
LL.M., Shipping Law, University of Cape Town, 2005
LL.B./B.C.L., McGill University, 2004
B.A.(Hons.), McGill University, 2001

  • Quebec 2007
  • Solicitor, qualified in England & Wales 2011
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, 2020: recommended in Shipping & Maritime Law
  • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: Transportation - Shipping, Chambers and Partners, 2020
  • The Legal 500 Canada: Transport: shipping (Next Generation Lawyer), 2020
  • Bob Deacon Memorial Law Prize, University of Cape Town, 2005
  • Canadian Maritime Law Association Prize, 2004
  • JSD Tory Award, McGill University, 2004
  • Ranked as the Rising Star for Canada: Shipping and Maritime by Expert Guides, 2017
  • “Proposed Reform of the United Kingdom Marine Insurance Act,” Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters Conference, Toronto, December 2, 2014.
  • “Hong Kong Convention,” ACI, Ship Recycling Summit, Singapore, November 6, 2014.
  • “Legal Issues for OSVs Operating in Ice and Harsh Conditions,” Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, London, England, November 26, 2013.
  • “Steps Towards a World Class Tanker Safety System,” presentation to International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd., London, England, May 17, 2013.
  • “Understanding the Liability Regimes of the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules,” Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, London, England, March 12, 2012.
  • “Transboundary Pollution Issues – Canada/US,” US-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum, Anchorage, Alaska, November 13-15, 2012.
  • “Hague and Hague-Visby Rules,” “Functions and Problems of the Bill of Lading” and “Defenses for Cargo Claims,” Bills of Lading and Related Cargo Claims Seminar, Cambridge Academy of Transport, London, England, October 10, 2011.
  • “Laytime and Demurrage” and “The Bill of Lading,” BIMCO Summer Shipping School, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 28, 2011.
  • “The Bill of Lading as Document of Title,” International Bills of Lading Seminar, Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, London, England, May 18, 2011.
  • “Hague and Hague-Visby Rules” and “Defenses for Cargo Claims,” Bills of Lading and Related Cargo Claims Seminar, Cambridge Academy of Transport, London, England, October 11, 2010.
  • Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association Canada
  • Canadian Maritime Law Association
  • Law Society of England and Wales