Marine and Fisheries Law

Nicholas has expertise that focuses on the maritime sector and linked Regulatory and Heath and Safety spheres.

He has significant experience in providing pre-charge advice and guidance for both Defence and Prosecution teams and is regularly instructed to represent owners, employees and companies.

He has provided advice in actions brought by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (‘MCA’) (HSE) and has also defended a number of cases prosecuted by the Marine Management Organisation (‘MMO’).

Recent cases:

  • R v X - Instructed Defence Counsel representing the Master of a cargo ferry being prosecuted under the Merchant Shipping Act (Collisions) for a significant accident involving another large cargo ferry.
  • R v X - Instructed Defence counsel representing an international captain accused of removing salvage from shipwrecks within British waters without an appropriate licence.
  • R v X - Representing an international salvage operation after being boarded by the Royal Navy and subsequently prosecuted for salvage work conducted within the Economic Zone (including a significant POCA element).
  • R v X - Advising the MCA in relation to a fisheries/harbour licensing prosecution.
  • R v X - Representing the Company owners of a private harbour in relation to a significant industrial accident that occurred during the dismantling of a barge.
  • R v X - Representing a ferry taster charged under the collision regulations.
  • Recommendations

    Has a general criminal and regulatory practice, with an emphasis on the Western Circuit and London. He has a track record of acting both for the prosecution and for the defence in cases involving fraud, organised crime, serious sexual offences and murder. His expertise also includes regulatory law with particular experience handling environmental law and health and safety matters.
    Strengths: "Always well prepared and very analytical."
    Recent work: Defended a man charged with killing his father through blunt force trauma, whilst under the influence of butane gas.

    Chambers UK 2021/Crime/Western (Bar)

    Strengths: "He is very approachable and excellent with clients."
    Recent work: Acted for the prosecution in Operation Red Squirrel, a multi-handed case concerning a large drug dealing network across the south coast of England.

    Chambers UK 2020/Crime/Western (Bar)

    "A very client-friendly and expert criminal counsel."
    Recent work: Defended one of the defendants charged with the aggravated burglary of a Hatton Garden jeweller.

    Chambers UK 2019/Crime/Western (Bar)

    Strengths: "He has a terrific brain, a formidable work ethic, an unflappable demeanour and his tactical awareness can make the difference in a tricky case."

    Chambers UK 2018/Crime/Western (Bar)

    'Has a general criminal and regulatory practice, and is active on both the Western and South Eastern Circuits. He has a track record of acting in cases involving fraud, organised crime and serious sexual offences.'
    Strengths: "Completely unflappable, he has an extremely good temperament in court. Destined for great things." "A very capable advocate."'

    Chambers UK 2017/Crime/Western (Bar)

     

    ‘Nicholas has a measured approach to his cases and provides deliberate and carefully considered advice. He builds excellent rapport with clients and instructing solicitors. He has excellent knowledge and understanding of health and safety law.’

    Legal 500 2022/Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Health and Safety)/Western Circuit

    ‘He is extremely calm, persuasive and effective in court, which consistently inspires confidence in the clients.’

    Legal 500 2022/Crime (General and Fraud)/Leading Juniors/Western Circuit

    ‘He is a superb tactician who has a great manner with clients. He always builds a good rapport, which allows him to easily convey difficult advice and navigate through complex issues in a case.’

    Legal 500 2022/Professional Disciplinary Law/Western Circuit

    ‘He has a pleasing court style that commends itself to both judges and juries and equal measure.’
    "Nicholas Cotter represented a man who was acquitted of murder after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence after forensics suggested the defendant may have stabbed the deceased in self-defence. "

    Legal 500 2021/Crime

    ‘Meticulous in his paperwork and an accomplished advocate, with a calm and assured approach to clients which inspires confidence.’
    "Nicholas Cotter is highly recommended, particularly for matters relating to care homes."

    Legal 500 2021/Business and regulatory crime (incl. health and safety)

    ‘He has the ability to put any client at ease.'

    Legal 500 2020/Crime

    ‘He has a very calm and measured approach.’

    Legal 500 2020/Regulatory, health and safety, and licensing

    'A consummately able barrister.'

    Legal 500 2018/19/Crime

    ‘A formidable advocate.’

    Legal 500 2017/Crime/Leading juniors/Regional Bar/Western Circuit,

     

    “Now this case is over, may I express my significant grateful thanks for the way you have consistently and over a lengthy period handled the complex case of R v O.

    This case was never destined to be easy, and indeed it proved to be one of the most difficult cases I have dealt with in the last 30 years. I am in awe of the skill, professionalism, compassion and knowledge that you put into this case, coupled with your ability to look after, control and satisfy a very difficult Client.

    Your willingness to see our Client without Solicitor and to promptly report back to myself was an outstanding pathway to enabling us to deal efficiently with a client of the most demanding nature, who barely spent a day off the telephone whilst in prison.

    Notwithstanding the sentence passed, I think it is fair to say that without your extremely high level of expertise, the result could have been tremendously less beneficial to the Client.

    I think it would be correct in this case to concentrate on the level of acquittals obtained for O, which speak volumes for your ability and dedication."

    Instructing Solicitor, Bournemouth, June 2017

  • Expand recommendations
View Full CV
  • The Legal 500 - Leading Individual 2022 Logo
  • Top Ranked Chambers - Leading Set 2020 - UK Bar Logo

Academic qualifications

  • Diploma in Law / CPE (Bristol)
  • BA (Hons) History

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • A Grade 4 Crown Prosecutor
  • Member of the Rape Panel of Crown Prosecutors
  • Member of the Serious Crime Panel of Crown Prosecutors
  • Member of the Serious Fraud Panel of Crown Prosecutors
  • ADR Group accredited Civil and Commercial mediator

Professional bodies

  • The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
  • Association of Commonwealth Criminal Lawyers
    British Association for Sport and Law (BASL)
  • Member of the Western Circuit
  • Proceeds of Crime Lawyers' Association
  • The Health & Safety Lawyers Association
  • Member of the Criminal Bar Association

Direct Access

Nicholas Cotter is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

More Information