Tommy Fox



Tommy is a Solicitor in the Business Risk & Regulation team, specialising in Marine Regulation as part of our nationally recognised Marine & Transport practice. Tommy has particular expertise in the Law applying to ports and harbours.

Tommy frequently advises statutory harbour authorities, non-statutory marine facilities, companies and individuals around the UK on a full range of marine regulatory and planning matters.

A key aspect of Tommy’s practice includes the review of the local legislation which governs the powers and duties of statutory harbour authorities. Additionally, Tommy frequently drafts Harbour Revision Orders to amend or replace existing local legislation. These often include (where appropriate)  a wide suite of modern charging powers, enforcement powers, powers of General Direction and clearly defining the port/ harbour limits.

His experience as a port and harbour specialist makes him ideally positioned to advise in relation to statutory harbour powers and duties, Harbour Revision Orders, Harbour Empowerment Orders, Harbour Closure Orders, General Directions and byelaws, marine licensing, the Port Marine Safety Code, non-statutory marine facilities and pilotage (in respect of competent harbour authorities).

Tommy also frequently publishes articles and industry updates and has been credited in an article on Lexis PSL.

Prior to joining Ashfords, Tommy was awarded an Academic Excellence Scholarship to study LL.B (Hons) Law before completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Professional Skills Course (PSC) at The University of Law. Tommy also undertook a Secondment in Real Estate, working for and advising a number of commercial developers.

Relevant experience

  • Various Statutory Harbour Authorities: Reviewing all local legislation applying to various Trust, Municipal and Private ports/ harbours and reporting on the existing powers and duties which apply, including the correct exercise of said powers.
  • Various Statutory Harbour Authorities: Drafting Harbour Revision Orders to amend the local legislation or ‘full modernisation’ Harbour Revision Orders which repeal and replace existing local legislation with a single Harbour Revision Order, introducing a wide suite of modern functions, duties and powers.
  • A Non-statutory Marine Facility: Advising a local Council regarding compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code in relation to its non-statutory marine facilities (with special consideration being given to relevant health and safety legislation) and advising as to the acquisition of a Harbour Empowerment Order.
  • A Statutory Harbour Authority (Municipal Port): Providing high-level legal advice in respect of compliance with the section 33 of the Harbour, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 (the Open Port Duty) and the considerations which must be made before offering exclusive/ preferential use of marine facilities to a particular user.
  • A Statutory Harbour Authority (Company Port): Undertaking an in-depth review of the complex local legislation applying to the statutory harbour authority and working together with the client to review and re-draft a set of modern General Directions to be brought into force.
  • A Statutory Harbour Authority (Trust Port): Reviewing the local legislation of a neighbouring Private port to advise on the overlapping jurisdiction which exists between harbour authorities.
  • A UK Registered Company: Reviewing the local legislation which applies to a Municipal port to advise on potential breaches of duties and powers in its capacity as statutory harbour authority, and subsequently advising as to the merit of initiating proceedings by way of Judicial Review or otherwise.
  • A Local Council: A thorough research project looking into the complexities of the new Environment Act 2021 and its implications as to the legality of charging for ecosystem services in the marine environment, taking into consideration the local legislation of relevant statutory harbour authorities, any environmental designations (including SSSIs, Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, Marine Conservation Zones and other Marine Protected Areas), carbon offsetting and compensatory measures.
  • A Statutory Harbour Authority (Trust Port): Advising and progressing a matter in respect of a marine licence required in relation to a facility inside the limits of the statutory harbour authority.
  • A Developer: High-level research into the best approach to secure the client’s development objectives including, in particular, an assessment of whether their aims can be achieved via a Transport and Works Act 1992 Order or via a Harbour Revision Order under the Harbours Act 1964, and considering the pros and cons of the options available and the risks involved.  
  • A National Industry Association: Assisting with a complex review of legislation, guidance, codes and regulations which apply to the port and harbour industry, assessing where appropriate what is effective in the sense of its usefulness to the industry and what is causing severe problems now or is likely to in the future.