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Dr Aleka Mandaraka Sheppard is a well-known authority on maritime law, risk management, and dispute resolution with more than 35 years of experience in industry and academia; as a solicitor in the city of London, as a risk management consultant, and as a Professor of shipping law at University College London.

She is a Chartered Arbitrator and Mediator; public speaker, published author:

Member of the:

  • London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA)
  • London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Fellow)
  • British Maritime Law Association (BMLA)
  • BIMCO (the Baltic and International Maritime Council)
  • Baltic Exchange
  • Editorial board of the Journal for International Maritime Law (JIML)

Chairperson of:

  • The London Shipping Law Centre
  • The CMI’s International Working Group on Reform of Wrongful Arrest of Ships

AMS background

AMS is also the Founder of the London Shipping Law Centre (LSLC) – a Business Forum for debates in legal, commercial, technical, and dispute resolution issues. The Centre has bridged the gap between business professionals, academics and the judiciary. Through the LSLC, AMS pioneered risk management education and training for ship-owners and other professionals.

AMS is proud of the LSLC Young Maritime Professionals Group, (YMP) which now holds an established place in the industry and will carry the mantle of the LSLC in the future.

Having graduated from Athens University Law School and having qualified as a Greek lawyer she studied English law in London where, she gained an LLM from University College London (UCL) in shipping law, and a Ph.D from King’s College London (KCL) in socio-psychology and law – with a focus on how to minimise conflict within organisations; the resulting book from her Ph.D is ‘The dynamics of aggression in women’s prisons’ (Gower) 1986.

Her further studies include: Arbitration law and practice (domestic and International) at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb Dip.IA); and the resolution of conflict at the School of Psychotherapy and Counselling of Regent’s College London (SPCRCL); she has been accredited  as a mediator by the SPCRCL, the ADR Group (ADRg), and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).

Her training in the practice of law and the resolution of maritime disputes started in 1979 with the firm of solicitors, Richards Butler (as it was then) and with Sedgwick Forbes (insurance brokers – now as Marsh). Her initiation into the P&I insurance business was with the Britannia P&I Club where she worked as a researcher and claims assistant.

Thereafter, AMS qualified and practised as a solicitor with Holman Fenwick and Willan (1982 to 1993). Her work at HFW provided her with wide experience in shipping litigation and in arbitration.

In 1993, she was head-hunted by UCL and was appointed as Director of the Shipping Law courses, and senior lecturer. She set up and headed the Shipping Law Unit and was later appointed as a Professor of maritime law. At UCL she founded the London Shipping Law Centre (LSLC) which was the first Centre of its kind in London to bring together the maritime professions, business, the judiciary, and academia.

While in academia, she kept her close links with the commercial shipping business and was delivering in-house training and advice to ship-owners in risk management in the context, for example, of the legal implications of the ISM Code, how to implement a safety management system and establish a holistic approach to risk management. This enhanced AMS’s insights into the commercial and technical sides of shipping.

Through her business enterprise, ORA Risk Management, she promoted quality shipping by delivering instructive training to shipping companies for the prevention or minimisation of accidents.

In 2006, she stepped down from her full-time post at UCL to devote her time to dispute resolution and she has been sitting as an arbitrator or a mediator since then, whilst she kept her link with UCL as a Visiting Professor until 2011.

Her many published works (see publications) include the often-referenced ‘Modern Maritime Law and Risk Management’, now in its third edition, soon moving to its fourth.

The Risk Management Consultancy services sprang up in 1998, when AMS was involved in writing and advising ship-owners and others about the legal consequences of the International Safety Management Code (ISM), which provided a wealth of legal, commercial and technical issues for ship-owners to face head-on.

Working with ship owners, the IMO, class societies, and the EU, AMS developed the concept of risk management and embraced recommendations in her seminars for the implementation of a holistic approach to risk management extending it to all aspects of the shipping business.

So by accident, AMS became a pioneer in risk management within the industry delivering seminars and workshops, and participating in international conferences.

Today the rapidly changing area of Risk Management has been enshrined in commercial, technical, financial, operational and legal practices worldwide.

Many of these principles are documented in the numerous articles and power point presentations of AMS and aspects of it are included in her book ‘Modern Maritime Law and Risk Management’.