Joanna has spent her entire legal career specialising in shipping and marine insurance advice and dispute resolution involving arbitration, the High Court and mediation.
Joanna advises shipowners, charterers, traders and their insurers on charterparty & COA problems, complex P&I claims and other disputes often involving vessel breakdowns and general average. She regularly advises on marine insurance policies and coverage issues. Her expertise encompasses contracts of carriage, charterparties, ship sale and shipbuilding contracts, as well as international sale contracts.
She is highly regarded in her field and individually ranked in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500, where she is considered a leading individual.
“My focus is on bringing my experience and detailed legal knowledge to bear in providing effective advice and sensible solutions for clients.”
Professional associations & memberships
LMAA, supporting member
What you may not know about Joanna
Interests in gastronomy and classical music provide important reasons for maintaining rusty conversational Italian and French. Playing golf provides a continuing challenge – and frustration.
My matter highlights
Defence of cargo claims arising from, for example, loss of deck cargo and other marine casualties, associated indemnity claims and general average issues
Charterparty expertise, including hire, liens, bunker quality, unsafe ports and other disputes
Marine insurance policy review and advice including Insurance Act issues
Joanna established the modern law on the carriage of dangerous cargoes (the “GIANNIS NK”)  1 Lloyd's Rep. 337, with numerous subsequent cases involving dangerous cargoes.
My testimonials and accolades
“She is a really good lawyer who works really hard for her clients to settle cases.”
Chambers and Partners UK, 2022
“Joanna is a very proactive litigator.”
Chambers and Partners UK, 2022
“Joanna Steele frequently litigates on behalf of ship owners and insurers on issues resulting from casualties. ”
“Phenomenally hardworking, a delight to work with; Technically brilliance coupled with strong tactical judgement.”
“An immensely knowledgeable, experienced and bright lawyer.”
“Has a head for technical matters and is not afraid of getting into the nitty gritty of expert advice.”
My recent publications
Insights / Court finds interim relief obtained from foreign court breached arbitration agreement
26-04-2022 / Maritime
The English Court has granted an anti-suit injunction to restrain court proceedings brought in Brazil because they breached a charterparty arbitration provision. Anti-suit relief was appropriate because the relief obtained from the Brazilian Court had not been sought in support of substantive proceedings elsewhere but in effect amounted to a determination that left nothing substantive to be decided in arbitration.
News / Court upholds claim for contaminated fuel oil
21-03-2022 / Maritime
This dispute, arising out of the sale and purchase of a quantity of crude oil, involved a number of contractual issues that commonly arise in commodities cases. Among other things, the Court considered what the terms of the sale contract were, whether there was a breach of the quality provisions and what was the appropriate measure of damages. Interestingly, the Court decided that this was not a “battle of the forms” scenario so the “last shot” doctrine did not apply in determining when the agreement was concluded and on what terms.
Insights / A distinction with a difference: Court of Appeal finds conflict between contractual terms
10-06-2021 / Maritime
Septo Trading Inc v. Tintrade Ltd  EWCA Civ 718
Insights / Court considers whether vessel remained on hire during period of arrest – what a difference a word makes
17-03-2021 / Maritime
Navision Shipping A/S v. Precious Pearls Ltd and Conti Lines Shipping NV v. Navision Shipping A/S (m.v. Mookda Naree)  EWHC 558 (Comm)
Insights / Measuring profit or loss under long term contracts of affreightment
08-10-2020 / Maritime
Palmali Shipping SA v. Litasco SA  EWHC 2581 (Comm)