Fields of practice
General administrative law
The experience found in the firm covers all areas of administrative law, be it relations between public authorities (supervisory, inter-communal, vertical and horizontal cooperation), public property law (urban planning, environment, public housing policies), public financing (subsidies, recognition, European funding), public personal law (recognition of foreign deeds, marriages of convenience, international adoptions, name changes), public contracts, PPPs, concessions, the civil service or criminal aspects of public law. It has special expertise in the field of legislative drafting and the preparation of legislative texts. It is frequently involved in putting in place public policies (creating a regulatory authority, allocating a public service concession, organising auctions, etc.).
The firm is consulted for opinions on the distribution of areas of competence among political bodies and the functioning of the institutions. It was involved in the negotiations on the sixth State Reform and assists authorities with the transfer of areas of competence, for example concerning energy or family allowances. The firm has a particular expertise regarding the composition and the functioning of parliamentary assemblies and regarding the legal status of political parties and elected representatives. It is also consulted about fundamental rights and freedoms.
Civil service law
Managing public affairs involves human resources, which necessarily engenders the risk of tension between the public authority and its agents, whether statutory or contractual. The firm assists with these relations. It always favours the amicable settlement of disputes. If need be, it supports the protagonists before the courts.
Public contract law
The firm assists with the day-to-day management of public contracts and concessions. It helps the contracting authorities with their preparation (drafting specifications), their follow-up (selection, comparison of bids, drawing up draft decisions), their implementation and the litigation they give rise to, before both the Council of State and the ordinary courts. The firm also assists tenderers. It advises them on the legality of procedures and their chances of success in appeal, and assists with the management of such proceedings.
The firm can boast considerable expertise in litigation. It represents its clients before all the Belgian and European Union courts. It is present on a daily basis before the law courts and the Council of State. It has unique experience before the Market Court, owing to the nature and volume of the cases dealt with in competition law and in network industries. The firm is also one of the most frequently present before the Constitutional Court, where it represents various levels of authorities as regards references for a preliminary ruling or proceedings for annulment. The firm can at any time mobilise a team of lawyers capable of dealing with the most complex contentious dossiers in conditions of extreme urgency.
Backed up by the experience acquired by its lawyers in putting in place compliance programmes, organising distribution networks, many restrictive-practice cases, notification of mergers and damages proceedings in Belgium, the Netherlands and at European level, the firm assists the Belgian competition authority and the Minister of the Economy, businesses and business associations as well as other law firms in all areas of competition law. The firm also acts for various public authorities in matters of State aid.
Network industries law
The firm has first-rate expertise in the regulation of liberalised sectors. It acts as the regular legal adviser of the BIPT for the regulation of telecommunications and the postal sector and of the CRC for cabled distribution networks. It works in the energy sector, in particular for the regulators CREG and VREG. In the railway and airport sectors, it acts on behalf of the federal transport regulator or regional entities such as the SOWAER. It also acts in the water sector.
Sport and media law
The firm assists the authorities to draw up standards on sporting activities. It is also active, mainly in disciplinary matters, in the professional sports sector. It acts before the CBAS, the court of arbitration, in disputes between clubs and federations. It has been consulted about broadcasting rights for sports competitions, the creation of broadcasts, the financing of films and the acquisition of rights.