Jean-Marie Fontaine

Jean-Marie Fontaine  


Executive summary

Jean-Marie Fontaine is a partner in our Montréal office who specializes in the field of Maritime law as well as non-marine insurance regulation and compliance and the National Leader of our Shipping Law Group. Jean-Marie acts for high-profile clients in both contentious and non-contentious transportation matters.

Jean-Marie's practice encompasses cargo claims, collisions, spills, disputes relating to shipbuilding and charter party contracts and the arrest of ships and cargos. He also has expertise in the drafting of logistics and warehousing agreements, charter party contracts, the purchase, sale and financing of ships, marine insurance policies and the importation and registration of vessels.

He advises insurers, brokers and other intermediaries in the insurance market on regulatory and compliance issues and frequently represents clients before the Autorité des marchés financiers.

Jean-Marie also acts as counsel representing clients in aviation and land transportation matters, and advises in matters involving a variety of compliance, regulatory and litigious issues, ranging from the transportation of dangerous goods to the carriage of passengers.

He has appeared before the Superior Court of Québec, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Québec Court of Appeal, as well as before the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also pleaded before the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Representative Work

Has handled a number of cases at the forefront of transportation law, including:

  • Ecu-Line N.V. v. Z.I. Pompey Industries & al.: A decision of the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the applicability of a foreign jurisdiction clause in the context of a marine cargo claim.
  • Phoenix Bulk Carriers v. Kremikovski Trade: A decision of the Supreme Court of Canada defining the circumstances where property that can be arrested in an admiralty action and specifically dealing with the arrest of cargos.
  • Boutique Jacob v. Pantainer & al.: Before the Federal Court of Appeal in which the International Group of P&I Clubs and four major shipping lines intervened on behalf of ocean carriers in a landmark decision dealing with limits of liability in multi-modal transportation.
  • Kent Trade and Finance Inc. v. a major US financial institution & al.: A decision of the Federal Court of Appeal giving effect to foreign choice of law clauses and maritime liens incorporated in ship supply contracts.
  • T.Co. Metals v. Fednav & al: A decision issued by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2012, regarding the scope of arbitration clauses in voyage charter parties.
  • Jean-Marie has represented the Canadian Shipowners Association before the Canadian Transportation Agency in a review of proposed increases to pilotage tariffs.

Publications & Presentations

  • Author, "Liability for Damage to Underwater Cables Under Canadian Maritime Law," Submarine Telecom Forum Magazine, March 2018.
  • Co-author, "Delivery of a PIN Code is Not Proper Delivery of the Goods Under a Bill of Lading," Maritime Law Alert, October 11, 2017.
  • Co-author, "The North American Emissions Control Area — Now in Force for Canada," Maritime Law Alert.
  • Speaker at a Canadian Institute conference on financing and securities, giving a presentation of marine securities.
  • Speaker on the carriage of dangerous goods at the Maritime and Navigational Risks Conference, sponsored by Passeport Maritime Inc.
  • Speaker at open meetings of the Canadian Maritime Law Association, meetings of the Association of Maritime Arbitrators of Canada and of the Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters.
  • Spoke on transportation issues in the Arctic in the Joint Study Conference.
  • Contributor to the Mari-Times electronic newsletter, issued quarterly by the Maritime Law Group.
  • Commented on recent Canadian maritime law judgments in an interview with the publication TradeWinds.
  • Has spoken several times at BLG's annual Maritime Law Seminars.

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Recognized in the 2019 edition (and since 2016) of Chambers Canada Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (Transportation: Shipping).   
  • Recognized in the 2018 edition (and since 2015) of the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Shipping and Maritime Law).
  • Recognized in the 2019 edition (and since 2015) of Best Lawyers in Canada® (Maritime Law).
  • Recognized in the 2017, 2016 and 2015 editions of Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (Transportation: Shipping).