Heather Manson is the Head of Aviation, and an insurance and reinsurance expert in our Johannesburg office.
With over 15 years’ experience in 30 countries across Africa, and a notable reputation in the market, Heather is an aviation specialist. The aviation practice is full service, in which together with her team, Heather advises airlines, GA operators, airports, ground handlers, MROs and AMOs, OEMs, financiers, lessors and their respective hull and liability insurers and reinsurers. She also advises insurers and reinsurers directly in relation to coverage and product development.
Her in-depth knowledge of insurance law and years of experience with the South African and Lloyds (re)insurance markets provide a solid base for Heather’s insurance advisory practice. Her unique experience enables her to provide corporate consumers of (re)insurance products with pragmatic, solutions‑driven advice, be it in relation to placement of cover for a particular risk or upon the happening of an event. In this capacity, she has advised clients in relation to W&I, Commercial Crimes, D&O (including Advanced Management Liability) and Professional Indemnity policies, at placement (often in conjunction with a transaction) and claim stage.
Her approach to disputed matters is a proactive one in which she fully investigates all aspects of any potential claims and advises clients on merits and strategy, with the aim of obviating unnecessary litigation. Heather has dispute resolution experience in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique, United States of America, the United Kingdom and France.
She has an LLB (cum laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand.
A selection of Heather’s recent experience includes:
- Providing hull insurers with coverage advice in relation to a loss in the DRC. The dispute was resolved by arbitration in Johannesburg.
- Providing hull insurers with coverage advice under a policy endorsed with an airline finance‑lease contract endorsement. The claim was litigated in the courts of South Africa.
- Representing an aircraft maintenance organisation and its liability insurers in respect of a fatal aircraft accident in Botswana. Litigation was brought in the courts of Botswana and the USA.
- Representing an charter operator and its liability insurers in respect of a fatal aircraft accident in the DRC. Claims were made in the courts of USA (dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction) and South Africa, the extent of indemnity under the policy was submitted to arbitration and various disputes resolved via mediation in London.
- Representing an airport operator and its liability insurers in respect of an accident in which an aircraft struck wild animals on the runway at Dire Dawa International Airport, Ethiopia. Action was instituted out of the Ethiopian courts.
- Representing a ground handler and its liability insurers in respect of the loss of consignment of bank notes in Uganda.
- Assisting a helicopter owner and its hull insurers in enforcing a warranty claim against the OEM.
- Assisting an aircraft lessor in enforcing the rights (under the Cape Town Convention and the lease) against an airline, including the repossession of the aircraft in Johannesburg.
- Representing a fixed based operator in a dispute with the lessor of the property in relation to the provision of customs and immigration services.
- Assisting local operators and foreign airlines in the collation, lodging and argument of applications for domestic and international air service licenses and foreign operators permits before the respective licensing counsels.
- Representing a local airline in the challenge of the regulator’s granting of certain route rights.
- Advising on the restructuring of an airline, including the status of its domestic and international air service licences, AOCs, foreign operators permits, slot allocations, and the managing the impact of a change of control.
- Assisting various operators (airline and general aviation) on the acquisition and finance of aircraft, including the registration of various securities.
- Representing a local insurer in a reinsurance coverage dispute, referred to arbitration in South Africa.
- Advising the curator of a long-term insurance company in relation to their statutory obligations, reporting to the regulator and court and fiduciary duties.
- Advising a listed company in relation to various claims under D&O and commercial crimes policies arising from financial irregularities and consequent regulatory proceedings.
- Advising the purchaser of a multi-national company in relation to the adequacy of the W&I insurance cover against the transaction warranties and associated risks.
- Providing professional indemnity insurance related advice to a pension fund in proceedings against the administrator.
- Nominated by Euromoney’s Expert Guides as one of the top Aviation practitioners in South Africain 2020.
- The International Who’s Who of Aviation Lawyers rated Heather as the Leading transport lawyer: Aviation contentious for 10 consecutive years .
- Legal 500 noted Heather in the Shipping and Transport category for six consecutive years.
- Heather was recognised in the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans annual tributes in the Business and Law category.