About the Cadwallader Debate

What is it?

Professor Cadwallader, fondly known as Cad, was a teacher of maritime law to many international students at University College London (UCL) between 1963 and 1982. In tribute to his memory for his contribution to the advancement of knowledge in maritime law, this lecture was established in 1998 by his former student, the founder of this centre, who in 1993 left Holman Fenwick & Willan, where she was practising as a solicitor, to take up her appointment as the Director of the shipping law postgraduate studies and to teach maritime law at UCL.

Over the years, these prestigious lectures have brought the key maritime players together in a neutral forum for open discussion of the concerns of the industry regarding legislation, thus enabling the sharing of ideas within a friendly intellectual debate. These debates have directly or indirectly engendered further dialogue and ultimately have led to action being taken on matters affecting the interests of the industry and the protection of the marine environment. The Cad Lectures and the Centre’s monthly events have raised the awareness of shipping professionals in safety matters and corporate responsibility beyond mere compliance with regulations.


Professor Francis John James Cadwallader, affectionately known as ‘Cad’, died quite young, in late 1992 but his memory and influence live on as is evident from the interest shown by the prestigious gathering at this memorial lecture every year.

Cad completed his undergraduate and postgraduate years at University College London, where he obtained LL.B. and LL.M. degrees and, in 1965, he was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy for a research thesis on the early law of bankruptcy. In 1963, he first became known as a teacher of shipping law at University College London, where he taught until 1982. Maritime law quickly became his consuming interest. He speedily became the authority in his field, as generations of students, conference delegates and colleagues readily witnessed. He possessed all the instincts of a natural teacher: he communicated with enthusiasm, he was sympathetic to the limitations and inexperience of his students and he sought to blend the law with the realities of ever-evolving practice. Cad’s outstanding forte was as a teacher and as a source of inspiration to both students and young academics.

In 1976, Cad was appointed to the Chair of Shipping Law at the Centre of Marine Law and Policy at what was then University College Cardiff. He set about establishing the Centre together with Professor Edward Brown, as a centre for excellence for teaching and research in the realms of shipping and maritime law.

The students who received his instruction both in London and Cardiff took the memories and benefits of that experience with them to the world at large. The young disciples subsequently went forth but are always ready to acknowledge the great debt owed. Cad, the scholar and teacher, was not one of life’s scribblers. His mission was not to write definitive texts and fill the pages of learned journals. Others were encouraged and guided in their research but Cad was content to be the anonymous force behind the printed word.

He made a major contribution to the elevation and acceptance of shipping and maritime law as important and legitimate aspects of contemporary legal education. Professor D. Rhidian Thomas.
(Edited extracts from the Preface to “The Modern Law of Marine Insurance” (LLP 1996), a series of essays dedicated to the memory of Cad).