Hill Dickinson partner Maria Pittordis has died after a short illness, aged 55.
The law firm’s head of marine, trade and energy is survived by her husband Takis and three children.
An expert in law that affected the travel industry, she was a campaigner for justice on issues such as fake holiday sickness claims.
Pittordis successfully defended a class action brought by 43 passengers who claimed to have suffered gastroenteritis on board Thomson Spirit, proving that the cause was not down to the ship’s crew or processes.
The landmark case was the first of its kind to be defended in the UK.
David Wareing, chairman of Hill Dickinson, said: “It is with enormous sadness that I have to inform you of the passing of our much loved colleague Maria Pittordis who died after a relatively short illness.
“Her total commitment to her work and her clients remained undiminished right to the end which makes her passing even more of a shock to us all and particularly all those of you who have worked with her over the past 30 years.”
Joanna Kolatsis, a partner at Hill Dickinson, hailed her “good friend” and work colleague of three years as a “technically great lawyer”.
She said: “Maria was a firecracker. She was very dynamic. She was full of life and great fun but she had a sharp mind too.
“She had a brain like no one else. She was very well known in the cruise market.
“She was also a fantastic family woman. She had three great boys and a great husband. She will leave a huge hole in our lives.”
Andy Harmer, Clia’s UK and Ireland director, told Travel Weekly: “I want to pay tribute to Maria’s commitment to the cruise sector, and her knowledge and expertise on maritime and tourism issues; and I want to recognise her willingness to give up her free time to work with Clia.
“She was an absolute delight to work with, was always positive and friendly, and I know that the whole industry will miss her terribly – our thoughts are with her family, and her colleagues at Hill Dickinson.”
On hearing the news Michele Andjel, PR director at P&O Cruises, tweeted: “Occasionally you meet someone you really admire professionally but also really want to be friends with. Maria Pittordis that was you.”
Hill Dickinson will be opening a book of condolence for Pittordis, who died on Wednesday, October 11.