Frank Smeele graduated in European Studies and in Dutch Law at the University of Amsterdam in the year 1991. Before his graduations at the University of Amsterdam, he graduated in English Law at the University of Kent in 1990. After several years as a university lecturer he obtained his Doctoral degree in 1998 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam for a PhD-thesis on the identity of the carrier under bills of lading written under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Haak. In 1998 Frank Smeele was appointed as a lawyer at the Van Traa Advocaten Law firm, at which he was a partner from 2004 to 2007. Alongside his work as a lawyer he was appointed Professor in Internationaal Zeerecht (International Law of the Sea) at the Erasmus University.

James HU

He studied law at Dalian Maritime University where he got his B.Sc. degree in nautical science, LL.M degree in maritime law and Ph.D. degree in shipping law.  He is professor at Shanghai Maritime University, Ph.D. supervisor of Dalian Maritime University and visiting professor to Swansea University.


Pavlos Avrameas graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Athens in 1956. He continued his studies at postgraduate level in Maritime and Marine Insurance Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris (Sorbonne). He has engaged in the practice of law in Piraeus from 1963 to 2010, initially as a member of a law firm and since 1965 as founder and senior partner of the law firm Paul C. Avrameas Law Offices, specializing in commercial, insurance, shipping and banking matters. He has been a member of the Greek delegation at the UN Conference in Hamburg 1978 (Hamburg Rules), a former Vice-President of the Greek Maritime Law Association and a Titulary Member of the Comité Maritime International. He is a member of the Panel of Maritime Arbitrators of the Court of First Instance Court of Piraeus and the Piraeus Chamber of Shipping since 1966 and founding member and former President of the Hellenic Society of Maritime Lawyers.

Ralph de WIT 

Prof. Dr. Ralph De Wit practices law at Antwerp, mainly in international contract law and in maritime and transport law. His Ph.D on Carrier Liability in Multimodal Transport was published with Lloyd’s of London Press in 1995.


Nicholas Gerassimou is a lawyer at the Supreme Court and member of the Piraeus Bar Association. He was born and he lives in Athens. Graduate of Varvakeios Model School and member of the Varvakeios Alumni Association. Graduate from the Law department of the Law School of the Athens University. He has a Master degree (LL.M) in Shipping Law and in the EU Law from the University of Southampton, England. He worked as an in-house Legal Council in a major shipping company having the management of 50 tanker vessels dealing mainly with sale and purchase contracts, carriage of goods by sea, marine insurance, salvage and shipping financing.


Antonios E. Koutsofios obtained his law degree from the National University of Athens Law School, summa cum laude, in 1978. He then read for his Master’s Degree, in shipping and international law, at the University College London (UCL), which he obtained in October 1979. Following the prescribed 18 months as a trainee lawyer, he was called to the bar in 1982 and he has been practising law ever since, as a Member of the Bar Association of Piraeus.

Polychronis TSIRIDIS

Polychronis Tsiridis is a member of the Piraeus Bar since 1976, practicing law ever since handling exclusively criminal law cases. He has conducted doctoral thesis under the title “Bankruptcy crimes” and he was nominated Doctor (Ph.D.) in Criminal Law in the University of Athens in 2/6/1995 (“magna cum laude”). He is Visiting Professor in the European University of Cyprus since 25/1/2012. The Piraeus Bar Association granted him, in a honorary ceremony in 15/6/1998, praise for his contribution in the promotion of Criminal Law and the science of Law in general. Moreover, the Plenary Assembly of Presidents of the Bar Associations of Greece honored him for his contribution. He has been Vice-President of the Hellenic Criminal Bar Association. He is a member of the Penal Law Association, the International Penal Law Association, the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA), etc.

Evanghelos PERAKIS

Emeritus Professor of the Athens Law School. Attorney at the Supreme Court (Areios Pagos). Professor of Commercial Law since 1996. Chairman of the Association of Greek Commercialists and member of several other Greek or foreign scientific institutions. Member of the «European Model Company Act Group». Member of the Legal Counsel of the Bank of Greece. Law drafting activity in matters of company law and others.


Kensuke Kobayashi joined the IOPC Funds on 2015 as the new Legal Counsel. Mr Kobayashi has an extensive legal and international policy and affairs background, having worked for the Japanese government since 1996.


Lia I. Athanassiou is Professor of Commercial Law with senior full-time tenure at the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (the first woman appointed as full Professor in Commercial law since the establishment of the Law School in 1837) and elected member of the Deanship Council of the Law School. She teaches mainly Shipping Law, Company Law and Competition Law. She is the President of the Organizing Committee of the International Conference on Maritime Law, held in Piraeus every 3 years, succeeding the late Professor Antapassis, who has been the inspirer as well as the President of this Institution from the first steps till 2012.

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