Frank Smeele

After graduating in 1991 from the University of Amsterdam with an LLM in Dutch Law and a MA in European Studies, Frank Smeele (b. 1966) obtained his Doctoral Degree cum laude from Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1998 for his PhD-thesis on “Passieve legitimatie uit Cognossement” (Identity of the Carrier under bills of lading).

Also in 1998, Frank Smeele joined the Rotterdam bar (until 2010) as an attorney at law with Van Traa Advocaten, where he was made partner in 2004. In 2005 he succeeded Prof. Gertjan van der Ziel as (part-time) professor of international maritime law at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2007 followed his appointment as full professor in Commercial law also at Erasmus University. In 2007 he founded the successful LLM-programme in Commercial law which as from 2012 branched out in a special track in Maritime & Transport law. By Royal Decree of March 2017 Frank Smeele was appointed “Raadsheer-Plaatsvervanger” (Deputy Justice) in the Hague Court of Appeal where he deals mainly with maritime and transport law related appeal cases.

Frank Smeele has been an active member of the Dutch (Maritime and) Transport Law Association since 1993 and has attended many CMI Conferences and Colloquia since the CMI Centennial in Antwerp in 1997. He was an active member inter alia of the IWG’s on Recognition of Foreign Judicial Sales of Ships and Procedural Rules on Limitation of Liability in Maritime Law. He is currently a member of the IWG on Collision and a jury member of the CMI Essay Prize.

He was further one of the co-founders of the annual conference for young maritime lawyers of the UK, German, French, Belgian and Dutch MLA’s as from 2006, of the Young CMI initiative as from the CMI Conference at Athens in 2008 and (in collaboration with Prof. Stefano Zunarelli and the University of Bologna) of an annual International Research Seminar in Maritime & Transport law for PhD-Students at Ravenna, Italy from 2012 onwards. 

Frank is a frequent speaker at conferences and colloquia in the Netherlands and abroad and has co-organized several academic conferences inter alia: The Rotterdam Rules Appraised (2009), Tension between EU law and maritime and transport law conventions (2012), Bills of lading into less-charted waters (2017), Inland Shipping law (2022). In collaboration with the Dutch MLA Frank Smeele has organized Dutch language practitioner’s courses on Marine Insurance and Transport Law. He has contributed to the unification of maritime and transport law also through his publications which include:

  • ‘Liability for incidents with dangerous goods originating from inland vessels’, In Festschrift Resi Hacksteiner - A Voyage through the Law of Inland Shipping 2020 (pp. 271–306).
  • Festschrift Resi Hacksteiner – A Voyage through the Law of Inland Shipping, Eleven, The Hague, 2020 (Co-editor).
  • ‘Switching off regulatory requirements Flag state exemptions as a tool to facilitate experiments with highly automated vessels and their operational implementation’, in: Autonomous Ships and the Law, Routledge, London 2020 (p. 69-83).
  • ‘Harmonising the Fragmented Law of Transport through Soft Law?’, European Journal of Commercial Contract Law (EJCCL), 2015/1, p. 62-66.
  • ‘Legal Conceptualisations of the Freight Forwarder: Some comparative reflections on the disunified law of forwarding’ Journal of International Maritime Law (JIML) 2015, p. 445-459.
  • ‘Towards universal recognition of foreign judicial sales of ships? A critical analysis of the draft CMI Instrument from the perspective of EU- regulation 44/2011 (“Brussels-I”) on the recognition of judgments’, in: CMI Yearbook 2011-2012 Beijing II.
  • ‘Recognition of the legal effects of foreign judicial sales of ships’, CMI Yearbook 2010, p. 225-234.
  • ‘The Maritime Performing Party in the Rotterdam Rules 2009’ in: European Journal of Commercial Contract Law, 2010(1), 72-86.
  • ‘Bill of Lading Contracts under European National Laws: Civil Law Approaches to Explaining the Legal Position of the Consignee under Bills of Lading’, in: D. Rhidian Thomas (Ed.), The Evolving Law and Practice of Voyage Charterparties, 30 pp., 251-280, Informa: Lon-don, ISBN: 978-1-8431-1808-4.
  • ‘International Civil Litigation and the Pollution of the Marine Environment’, in: J. Basedow, U. Magnus, R. Wolfrum (Eds.), The Hamburg Lectures on Maritime Affairs 2007 & 2008, 42 pp., 77-118, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, ISBN: 978-3-642-04063-4
  • ‘Liability for wrongful arrest of ships from a civil law perspective’, in: D. Rhidian Thomas (ed.), Liability regimes in contemporary maritime law, Informa: London, 2007, p. 261-276.
  • ‘Recognition of Foreign Limitation Proceedings under the European Jurisdiction and Judgments Convention’, in: IPRax 2006, p. 229-233.