Russell Kelly

Russell Kelly - Partner

Head of Marine

Russell provides advice to commercial shipping clients as well as to those in the leisure marine and superyacht sectors. He has a wealth of experience across a broad range of topics which include vessel sale and purchase, marine finance and new build and refit contracts. He also has significant expertise in dealing with criminal prosecutions and investigations by the relevant Authorities in the marine sphere.

Russell has been a Supporting member of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) for many years and is the principal contact for the team’s membership of the British Maritime Law Association, the British Marine Federation and the International Yacht Lawyers Network. Russell was formerly a partner in a specialist shipping law firm in London and is a regular speaker at various industry conferences and seminars worldwide.

Work of note undertaken by Russell includes:

  • The successful defence of two young RIB drivers who were prosecuted in Cardiff Crown Court following a collision in the dark when carrying passengers;
  • Advising a foreign state’s navy in a multimillion pound dispute with the builders or 3 offshore patrol vessels;
  • representing the owner of a large yacht in a dispute with his insurance brokers and underwriters following a grounding incident;
  • Advising a bank in connection with the refinancing of a fleet of coastal general cargo vessels; and
  • Assisting the purchasers of a boatbuilding business with the novation of on-going contracts and the drafting of terms and conditions for new business.

Principal clients include marine finance companies, Harbour Authorities and other Regulatory bodies, yacht builders, brokers and dealers and vessel owners and operators.

Professional appointments

  • British Marine Federation – Russell is a member of the Legal Services Committee of the BMF which is responsible for overseeing the regular updating of the standard document precedents widely used throughout the industry. He is also the current Chairman of the BMF’s Insurance, Financial and Legal Services Association.

He has several advantages – he listens and is available and then gets results without assuming we all work to the average legal timeframe. He does a great job.”

Chambers and Partners HNW 2018

Russell Kelly has many years of experience as a shipping lawyer, handling commercial shipping work, as well as yachts. He handles the sale and purchase, construction, refitting and financing of yachts for a variety of clients, including owners, builders and brokers. Kelly handles disputes. He is described as a “really sensible bloke” and is praised for his knowledge of the industry.

The Legal 500 review

recommended lawyer legal 500 uk
Lester Aldridge LLP’s shipping practice provides ‘excellent service’, with the lawyers being ‘very responsive and always available to assist at short notice’. Based in Bournemouth and Southampton, the team assists with transactional, regulatory and contentious matters, including arbitration.
Recommended are the ‘exceptional’ Southampton-based members Russell Kelly, Louise Fuller


Chambers & Partners UK 2018
Russell Kelly is well known for his expertise in vessel finance, with a particular emphasis on the sale and purchase of yachts. Sources say: “Russell is very knowledgeable in terms of superyacht buying and selling and is one of the go-to people.” He is also highlighted for his ability to advise on complex marine law matters.