The institution of the International Conference of Maritime Law was inspired by the late Professor of Commercial and Maritime Law in the Law School of Athens and attorney-at-law at the Piraeus Bar Association, Anthony M. Antapassis (6/7/1941-29/4/2013) and the President of the Piraeus Bar Association in 1992, Vasileios Venetis.
Anthony M. Antapassis went through all the levels of the academic hierarchy and in 1998 he was unanimously elected Professor of Commercial Law. He taught Law of Negotiable Instruments, Maritime Law and Private Aviation Law for more than 30 years. He also taught sea, air and land transportation Law at the Postgraduate Programme of the Second Department of Private Law of the Law School of Athens for more than 15 years. He was President of the Law School of Athens during the period 2001-2003, as well as President of the Association of the Teaching Staff of Athens Law School for 15 years. He left service in September 2008 due to age limit. He was elected Professor Emeritus by The Senate of the University of Athens. He taught convinced that the contribution to the science of Maritime Law is not limited to personal offer, but it extends to the sharing and conveyance of knowledge and to the instillation of the passion for the study and the promotion of Maritime Law in young scientists of all academic levels.
Anthony Antapassis was attorney-at-law at the Piraeus Bar Association (from 1967 until 2013) with mainly active in commercial and maritime disputes, while he was for many years a Member of the Board of Directors of the Piraeus Bar Association. He was an Arbitrator at the International Chamber of Commerce, at the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping and at the Association for Maritime Arbitration. The late Professor Antapassis was the one who envisaged the establishment of the institution of the International Conference of Maritime Law, but its implementation would not be possible without the multilevel activation of the Piraeus Bar Association. Indeed, Professor Antapassis presided at the first seven International Conferences of Maritime Law. The international scientific and personal prestige of the Professor, the search of Maritime Law subjects, which attracted each and every time the academic and professional interest, so that those subjects were given preference for elaboration in the context of the Conference, the selection -as speakers- of the most expert scientists of recognized authorial presence and experience in Greece and abroad, the fact that he had foreseen the need of the existence and the maintenance of such an institution in Greece as a maritime country and, in particular, in Piraeus, his persistent personal and continuous care, aiming at the sound organization of these Conferences, are only some aspects of the contribution of Anthony Antapassis to the institution and the facts that conducted to the enhancement and the recognition of the Conference to date as an international pole of scientific attraction in the field of maritime law.
Lia I. Athanasiou: President (2012- )
In 2012, Professor Antapasis was succeeded by the Professor of the Law School of Athens and attorney-at-law at the Piraeus Bar Association Lia I. Athanasiou in the presidency of the Organizing Committee. The 8th Conference, which was conducted under the new Organizing Committee, was dedicated to the memory of the Chairman of the Hellenic Maritime Law Association, Professor Emeritus Anthony Antapassis, as a minimum recognition for his contribution to the promotion of international maritime and commercial law. It is noted that after the retirement of the Professor from Athens Law School, Ms Athanasiou had also undertaken the academic teaching of Maritime Law.
The new President of the Organizing Committee, graduate with honors from the Faculty of Law, has notable studies in major foreign Institutions: Postgraduate degrees (D.E.A.) in France, in the field of Commercial Law (University of Aix-Marseille III) and General Private Law (University of Paris II- Panthéon-Assas), Doctoral degree from the University Paris I-Panthéon- Sorbonne with summa cum laude and first class honors (“très honorable avec félicitations”) in European Competition Law (“Legal aspects of competition in maritime transport and comparative study based on EU Law”), for which she received seven international prizes and honorary publication grants. She also obtained an Academic title to supervise scientific research from the University of Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne.
Today she is Professor with senior full-time tenure at the Law School of Athens, in the field of Commercial Law, while she has taught or carried out research in European and American Universities and Institutes (Bologna, Maastricht Institute, Erasmus University-Rotterdam, International Maritime Law Institute IMO of Malta, Harvard Law School as a visiting scholar with a Scholarship from Fulbright Foundation, IALS London etc.). She has been external legal advisor at European Commission in matters concerning competition and liberalization in the transport sector and a member of the Hellenic Competition Commission. She has served as a member of many legislative committees in several fields of commercial law (corporate law, consumer protection, competition, maritime law, energy law) and as an advisor of Independent Authorities. She has already extended authorial activity (monographs, publications, participations in collective publications and numerous studies) on issues of European, maritime and commercial law in general, in English, French and Greek language. She has also made numerous interventions in international and Greek conferences in the same field.
Members of the Organizing Committee
The success of the International Conference was ensured from the beginning by the collective effort and the active contribution of all the members of the Organizing Committee. Their contribution to the organization, the new ideas, the finding of sources of funding and of sponsorships, the hospitality they demonstrated to foreign speakers and guests, as well as their effective participation in the thematic sessions, was undoubtedly of essential significance. For this reason, the composition of the Organizing Committees of the International Conferences of Maritime Law is mentioned by name below.
Administration of the Piraeus Bar Association
All the Presidents and the administrations of the Piraeus Bar Association from 1992 onwards support constantly and in a multilevel way the international institution of the Maritime Conference, independently of political differences, opposing opinions in matters concerning the practice of the profession of lawyer and negative external circumstances, such as the economic crisis, which entered our country since 2009. The special trust, care and support with which the Boards of Directors of the Piraeus Bar Association embraced the organization, the speakers and the participants needs to be highlighted. Under the auspices of the Bar and through its connections with local, national and international agents (Union of Greek Shipowners, Banks, Chamber of Shipping, Universities, European Lawyers’ Association) became a fact not only the establishment of the institution in the scientific status quo of the country and the development of our Bar as a guide of promotion of maritime law, but also the cultivation of the cooperation with professional sectors of the broader shipping industry and the services relevant to it.