Joe Hurley

Joe Hurley is head of HWL Ebsworth’s Shipping and Trade practice. Joe primarily advises in all aspects of international and domestic shipping disputes whether wet and dry. He has acted in most of Australia’s leading admiralty cases as well as advising on “front-end” shipping and trade commercial matters. Joe is involved in numerous foreign seats of arbitration and has been referred to as the “go to man” in Australia for shipping and maritime matters.

Prior to joining the firm, Joe qualified as a solicitor in England and worked for the well-known international Firm Richards Butler (now Reed Smith) in its London and Abu Dhabi offices. Joe arrived in Australia in 1994 and was a partner at Norton Smith solicitors and a founding partner of Norton White. Prior to the merger, he was National Head of Transport at Ebsworth for 6 years.

Joe is the former chair of the International Bar Association’s Maritime Committee and has been listed as one of the world’s Top 10 most highly regarded lawyers in a well-known publication. Joe has been ranked by 2017 Who’s Who Legal – Australia for Shipping as a Most Highly Regarded Lawyer, and is recognised as a ‘thought leader’ and ‘renowned on an international level for his exceptional expertise in the area’. Joe has been named in Best Lawyers™ Australia for Trade Law and Transportation Law. Joe has been listed as a Preeminent Leading Admiralty, Shipping & Maritime Lawyer – Australia by Doyle’s Guide 2022.


Joe’s recent experience includes:

  • Shipowner’s P&I Club: Advised the Shipowner’s P&I Club and its member in the well-known admiralty arrest case “Maria Louisa”;
  • Cargo carrier: Acted for the carrier in a substantial cargo claim that has been described as the largest such claim in Australian legal history;
  • Four Vanguard: Acted for Four Vanguard, (part of the Premuda Group) in relation to a physical damage diminution of value Marine Insurance Claim;
  • Suzlon Energy Limited: Advised in a number of international charter party disputes;
  • Cook Islands legislature: Advised on amendments to its legislation and the incorporation of an international shipping registry;
  • Purchasers of vessels: Advised numerous purchasers including the owners of the “Norfolk Guardian”, “Tavake Oma”, “Bass Reefer”, and “Aberdeen Star”;
  • Shipowners: Advised many shipowners in regard to oil spills within Australian waters;
  • “Pasha Bulker” grounding: Acted on the well-known “Pasha Bulker” grounding; and
  • P&O Nedloyd Limited: Acted as an outsourced in-house counsel for the well-known shipping company P&O Nedloyd Limited for 4 years prior to merging with Maersk.

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