Managing Partner: Ann Fenech
Languages:English, French, Italian, Maltese
Established in 1891, Fenech & Fenech Advocates is one of the oldest largest full service law firms on the island, a recognised leader in all aspects of maritime, commercial, corporate, tax, mergers and acquisitions, asset and corporate finance, ship finance, financial services, FinTech (including the new Virtual Financial Assets (blockchain based) – regulatory regime), aviation, intellectual property, employment, igaming and TMT law, with a notable litigation team having expert litigators in most areas of the law. Through its in-house corporate services group, the Fenlex group (www.fenlex.com), which also includes a licensed trust and fiduciary company, and its ship registration arm Fenech & Fenech Marine Services Ltd, the firm provides comprehensive advice and services. All of the firm’s lawyers are highly specialised in their fields, with a number actively involved in the development and amendment of laws, lecturing, both locally and overseas, as well as assisting government with legislative assignments related to their practice areas.
Main Areas of Practice:
■ Corporate/Commercial (including M&A)
■ Marine Litigation & Admiralty
■ Ship Registration & Finance
■ Corporate & Asset Finance
■ Financial Services
■ Data Protection
■ Arbitration & ADR
■ Trusts & Estate Planning
The firm’s maritime activities are handled by four departments: marine litigation, ship registration, ship finance, and yachting. The marine litigation department’s practice covers a wide cross section of shipping and maritime issues, ranging from ship repair to carriage of goods, from shipping casualties to maritime investigations, from mortgage enforcements to bunkering disputes; it acts for owners, hull and machinery underwriters and P and I clubs in the vast majority of shipping casualties taking place around Malta or relating to Maltese registered vessels and is involved in the majority of cases brought before the Maltese courts. The ship registration and ship finance departments jointly represent some of the largest fleets and most important financiers in the world, whilst the yachting department assists owners and financiers of some of the world’s largest super yachts used for private as well as commercial purposes. Various members of these departments are regularly invited to lecture and speak extensively on the subject at Maltese and foreign fora.
The firm’s financial services department is actively involved in assisting the whole spectrum of financial services operators, including banks, fund managers, investment service providers and insurance companies. The team also assists promoters of investment funds and fund platforms, handling the licensing process as well as advising same on an ongoing basis. Members of the team are also approved by the regulator to accept appointments by licensed operators as directors, compliance officers, MLRO and company secretaries.
In addition to advising financial services operators in the FinTech space, the firm’s FinTech team is also uniquely placed to service operators in the blockchain space. The team draws on the firm’s financial services, TMT and tax and immigration law teams, as well as the Fenlex group, to advise issuers with respect to ICOs and listings of tokens, as well as with respect to applications for licences to provide services with respect to virtual financial assets.
Project, Corporate & Asset Finance:
The firm advises finance providers or borrowers on an ongoing basis in relation to Maltese law issues arising in the context of multinational finance transactions, typically where Maltese vehicles are required to provide security as part of the security pool provided by the borrower.
International Tax & Immigration:
The firm’s tax and immigration law department is recognised as the leading tax and immigration law team in Malta and advises a predominantly international clientele on all direct and indirect tax matters, which service is supplemented by that provided by the in-house corporate services group’s tax compliance team. The team advises on the full spectrum of immigration and tax issues, M&As, domestic and international taxation, tax efficient cross-border structures with a focus on inbound investment, restructuring projects, tax planning structures, and other fiscal issues relating to companies, trusts and foundations. The firm also advises private clients on personal tax and financial issues, on immigration law matters relative to relocation to Malta, residence and employment permits and citizenship applications, as well as with respect to clients’ wealth and estate planning requirements.
Trusts & Foundations:
The firm’s trusts and foundations department assists clients with the settlement of trusts and registration of foundations, private and public, and advises on related estate planning issues generally.
The firm is an active leader in this field, having advised local and foreign organisations on numerous M&A transactions, including cross-border M&A transactions over the years. It has been directly involved in most of the local privatisation projects, and other major acquisition projects on the local market, and has acted for government and private enterprise alike in numerous M&A transactions with capacity to handle the complete acquisition process from due diligence stage, through drafting and negotiation of acquisition, investment or merger documents and perfection/completion of the M&A process.
Technology, Media & Telecoms:
The firm’s expertise covers all aspects of technology and electronic communications law assisting a wide array of international blue chip companies with respect to their operations. The firm’s TMT and IP law department advises on various issues relating to technology such as outsourcing, software development, technology licensing, data protection, regulatory issues relating to telecommunications and is also very active in the online gaming industry. The department also assists clients in litigation matters relating to remote gaming, computer software licensing and intellectual property.
The firm is a leader in aviation law in Malta, having been active in advising the national carrier for more than 20 years. It has one of the longest-established aviation law departments on the island providing a wide range of aviation law related services including registration of aircraft, aircraft security and mortgages, sale and purchase agreements, finance and operating lease agreements, local regulatory and licensing requirements for aircraft operators. Estate Conveyancing: The firm is heavily involved in assisting individuals and companies alike in relation to the acquisition and disposal of residential and commercial properties, in Malta and overseas.
Corporate & Commercial:
The firm is widely recognised for its expertise in corporate and commercial law, particularly M&A transactions, project and asset finance transactions and corporate and commercial litigation. The commercial and corporate law department is complemented by two separate departments of wide commercial application, namely a dedicated employment law department and a dedicated TMT and IP law department thereby guaranteeing a full service offering to its corporate clients.
The firm’s employment law department offers specialised advice on employment law and industrial relations. The team of lawyers advises on all regulatory matters ranging from minimum conditions of work and drafting of contracts to complex restructuring, transfer of business (TUPE) regulations, redundancies and handling union matters and collective bargaining. The team also includes litigators who are well versed with the local Tribunals and Courts and thus can assist with handling individual or collective disputes, including advising on strategies geared towards compromise and/or litigation. The department is also well equipped to advise on data protection matters.
Intellectual Property, Art & Cultural Property:
The IP Team within the TMT and IP Law Department specialises in copyright, trademarks, design rights and patents laws; client advice ranges from registration strategies, to licensing, technology transfers, infringement action, and validation of European/international patents. The department handles all aspects of entertainment, video games and music law.
General Litigation & Dispute Resolution:
The firm’s team of experienced litigators and legal procurators is active in constitutional, public, administrative, criminal, civil, family, property, commercial, corporate, IP, ICT, remote gaming, consumer, and tax law cases and is also experienced in local and international mediation and arbitration as well as in local and international inheritance and probate matters.
The firm’s client base includes large supranational organisations, international ship owners, cruise line operators, multinational groups, high net worth individuals, banks, financial services providers, investment funds, protection and indemnity clubs, tug and salvage operators, charterers, public organisations, international airlines and the Maltese government.