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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Belgium > Environment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

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Next Generation Partners

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Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP has an outstanding track record of advising clients in industries that are particularly impacted by environmental issues, including the chemicals, life sciences and industrial sectors. In addition to providing support on corporate (including M&A and capital markets) and real estate transactions, the team undertakes standalone advisory work on planning and zoning, waste management regulations, product regulation, soil contamination and environmental permitting, among other areas. Practice head Gauthier van Thuyne ('an excellent, experienced lawyer with deep knowledge and a very hands-on approach') and highly regarded senior associate Fee Goossens are advising Colgate-Palmolive on the closure of its former soap and perfumery site near Liège. On the contentious side, soil pollution and noise-related litigation have been among the drivers of activity for the firm.

Senior counsel Pascal Mallien, who is 'a great negotiator', and Jean-François Vandenberghe jointly lead Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's practice, which covers the environmental laws of all three Belgian regions, as well as European environmental law. The team 'stands out for its experience and insights'. Noted for its work for domestic and international corporate clients, the group's varied workload includes advice on zoning and planning regulation, permitting issues (including in relation to chemicals plants and wind farm projects), soil decontamination procedures, environmental litigation and the environmental aspects of real estate projects. Mallien and associate Mario Deketelaere are representing Lukoil Belgium in litigation concerning historical soil pollution at certain gas stations and former fuel depots. Monsanto, Orange Belgium and Haskoning also turn to the firm for advice.

As a full-service firm, Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick is well placed to advise on the environmental law aspects of real estate and corporate transactions. In addition, its dedicated team provides significant input in the development of projects in areas such as energy, transport and infrastructure. The group, which is 'pleasant to work with' and provides 'to-the-point advice', is also sought out in its own right for specific issues, such as waste management, pesticides, permitting and soil pollution. François Tulkens is leading the advice to the Brussels Capital Region on a number of high-profile noise limitation cases. Other key figures are Dominique Devos and counsel Filip De Preter, who are working with real estate partner Yves Delacroix to assist Ikea with the environmental law issues associated with the development of new stores in Belgium. Total, Vastint Belgium, Bofas and DP World also engage the firm on environmental matters. The practice also generates work from various Flemish public authorities. Vincent Ost and Dirk Lindemans are other names to note.

Stibbe's market-leading reputation is reflected by its team's ability to handle the full spread of advisory and litigation work for private businesses and government agencies. The firm offers excellent coverage of the Belgian environmental law arena; practice head Jan Bouckaert, who is widely acknowledged to be one of the standout names in Belgium for environmental law, leads a team that focuses on issues that are specific to the Flemish Region. France Maussion heads up a group that specialises in Walloon Region matters. In addition, both Bouckaert, Maussion and their teams have comprehensive knowledge of environmental matters that relate to the Brussels Region. Complementing its knowledge of Belgian environmental law is the group's extensive expertise in European legislation, including REACH, WEEE and RoHS. The wide-ranging scope of the practice includes areas such as planning and zoning, nuclear law, pollution/contamination and waste management, and nature conservation. Bouckaert and senior associate Guan Schaiko are part of a multidisciplinary team, which is acting for Blue Gate Antwerp on the development of an eco-friendly business park in the Antwerp port area. Maussion and others are advising the Brussels Capital Region on the PPP renovation project of the Leopold II Tunnel. Counsels Pieter Vandenheede and Olivier Di Giacomo, and senior associate Bastiaan Schelstraete are also recommended.

CMS' environmental team works with other departments of the firm (including tax, real estate and corporate) to provide end-to-end support to clients in litigation, corporate and real estate transactions, development projects and day-to-day advice. Jointly led by counsels Ivan-Serge Brouhns and Gregory Verhelst, the group provides assistance with a broad cross-section of standalone environmental issues, such as waste, industrial emissions and noise. It also handles environmental matters as they relate to the energy sector (particularly wind energy), as well as town planning. Verhelst and associate Bert Van Weerdt acted for Aspiravi on the development of several onshore wind farms in Flanders. Brouhns was the lead adviser to Tesla on the application of Belgian environmental legislation to the Tesla Powerwall storage battery. The firm also acts for other clients, such as Honeywell, EDF Luminus, the Walloon Region and the City of Brussels.

DLA Piper handles environmental law issues in all three Belgian regions for a diverse client base, which includes private companies, multinational corporates and Belgian public authorities. Its credentials in the market are also reflected by the fact that it is regularly sought out to advise policymakers and legislators at the European institutions (the European Council, the European Commission and Parliament) on matters arising at the legislative level. Bob Martens and Alec Van Vaerenbergh are acting for the European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action on the procurement and management of contracts relating to a common auction platform and a single auction monitor for the auctioning of emission allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). In another matter, Martens, Van Vaerenbergh, Lieven Annaert and Thomas Sterckx are acting for the government of the Flemish Region on the development of the Uplace project in the North of Brussels. Martens co-heads the practice with Annelies Verlinden, who recently worked alongside Sterckx to represent the City of Antwerp in legal proceedings before the Council of Permit Disputes over a permit to build two underground car parks at the Gedempte Zuiderdokken. Kim Eric Möric is another key figure in the team, which saw Carole Maczkovics move to DALDEWOLF.

Flanders-based firm LDR Advocaten in Omgevingsrecht has a specialist focus on environmental and spatial planning law. It fields two teams, which are spread between the Ghent and Bruges offices. The group in Ghent - which includes Isabelle Larmuseau, Peter De Smedt, Tom Malfait, Laurent Proot and Stijn Vandamme - advises clients on issues related to soil, environmental permits, environmental liability, nature conservation, waste products and wastewater taxes, among others. The team in Bruges, which is led by Pieter-Jan Defoort, focuses on spatial planning issues; this includes assisting clients with urban development permits and subdivision permits, and expropriation matters. In addition to handing matters specific to Belgium, the firm is also active in cross-border projects. Also notable is that the firm's private practice work is complemented by its involvement in legislative initiatives and policy studies.

Led by Lieve Swartenbroux, Linklaters' team advises large corporate clients on standalone assignments, where environmental issues include soil contamination, emissions trading, permits, land planning and waste management, among others. The group also plays a critical role in strategically complex corporate and real estate transactions, and it is also highly active in litigation proceedings. In 2017, working with members of the corporate and finance practice, Swartenbroux assisted KBC Bank and Belfius Bank with the legal due diligence relating to the financing of the Wind4Wallonia Projects II wind energy project, and she also advised the same clients on Wind4Flanders Projects III. Engie, Dow Europe Holding and Redevco Retail are other notable clients.

Lydian is a destination firm in its own right for environmental work from large and mid-sized Belgian and international companies, as well as public sector entities. It also generates a significant amount of referral work from international law firms, thanks to the full-service capabilities of its team in corporate transactional work, enforcement of environmental law, litigation, advisory/counselling and energy regulatory matters. Practice head Wouter Neven, along with senior associate Kyoto Van Herreweghe, is advising Total on the environmental law issues associated with the expansion of its current site at the port of Antwerp. Senior associate Iris Hemelaer is another notable individual.

NautaDutilh advises clients on the environmental issues associated with various types of energy projects, including renewable energy facilities, power plants, and oil and gas (production, transportation and storage) facilities. Senior counsel Patrick Peeters, who is the main contact at the firm, has assisted Belgian Shell with the development of LNG service stations in Belgium. He also provides standalone advice to clients on matters such as soil pollution, air and noise pollution and asbestos, among others. In recent work, Peeters advised Umicore on the end-of-waste criteria under the Waste Framework Directive and the Flemish implementing legislation in 2017. Eurostation and Fluxys are also active clients.

Environmental law is an area of focus at Adhemar Advocaten, where the team is 'proactive and on the ball'. It demonstrates 'outstanding expertise' in advising clients on matters such as environmental permit processes (either acting for applicants or objecting parties), environmental offences, due diligence, and compliance with regulations on waste and chemicals. Jan Roggen and Joris De Pauw are acting for Rinkonien on the environmental and permitting aspects of the first part of the Oosterweel connection in Antwerp, which is one of Europe's largest infrastructure projects. De Pauw is also advising Business Center Treeport on the development of a new industrial area (located at the border between Belgium and the Netherlands) for businesses linked to silviculture and horticulture. The firm also acts for public sector entities, such as the City of Mechelen and the City of Landen. Stefanie Debeuf is another key partner in the team, which also includes associate Jannick Poets.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP is the result of a combination between Hunton & Williams LLP and Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP, which became effective in April 2018. The amalgamated entity has an environmental team in Brussels that is 'exceptional in the way that it deals with legal issues', and works closely with a sizeable group in the US. Lucas Bergkamp, who is the main contact in Brussels, is 'an outstanding environmental lawyer', and is knowledgeable about the law of the EU, as well as various individual member states. His environmental law expertise is complemented by his knowledge of ancillary areas, such as energy law, chemicals regulation, and pesticides and biocides. Bergkamp and associate Heidi Aps advised the Electronic Industries Alliance on the business impact of environmental legislation on electronic products in the EU and across all member states. In addition, the duo also handle legal and regulatory issues for a consortium of companies producing petrochemical substances that are covered by REACH.

Janson Baugniet is noted for its strong administrative and public law offering, with environmental law forming a key component. Clients include professional bodies, corporates and public authorities. Active across all three Belgian regions, and internationally, it provides non-contentious advice on a broad cross-section of matters, including soil pollution, waste, noise pollution, permits, environmental taxes and environmental audits. The firm has also become increasingly known for its work in relation to waste and take-back obligations under Belgian and EU law. On the contentious side, the firm represents clients in environmental litigation before administrative authorities, administrative courts and civil courts. Jan Ghysels, Dominique Lagasse and Stijn Verbeke are key contacts.

Monard Law has a strong track record advising applicants and objecting parties on the contentious and non-contentious aspects of environmental permit applications. It also acts for third parties, such as investors investing into target companies, in environmental audits. Other areas of expertise include soil pollution, waste management, environmental taxes and expropriation. The practice is jointly headed by Koen Geelen, France Vlassembrouck and associate partner Wouter Moonen. Recent work includes Geelen, Moonen and senior associate Sarah Jacobs assisting We Are One World - the organiser of the Tomorrowland dance festival - with obtaining all required permits for the event. The team has also advised Group Machiels on obtaining permits for various wind turbine projects. Counsel Bernard Vanheusden is another active practitioner in the group. Other clients include the City of Mechelen, the City of Hasselt, RSK Group and Democo.

Specialist public law firm¬†Publius¬†has a sizeable client roster of public authorities - including federal, regional and local authorities - and it is also highly active in private company engagements as well. Its team undertakes a mix of standalone advisory work, environmental due diligence and litigation. Illustrative of the firm's profile in contentious matters,¬†Steve Ronse¬†and recently promoted partner¬†Meindert Gees¬†are acting for the Flemish government in the national airport noise case, which concerns noise pollution at Zaventem Airport. Other key clients include the City of Kortrijk, Decathlon and Ethias Insurance.¬†Dirk Van Heuven,¬†G√ľnther L‚Äôheureux,¬†Jan Beleyn¬†and¬†Sofie Logie¬†are other notable partners.

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Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

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Legal Developments in Belgium for Environment

  • Getting the Deal Through - Construction 2011

    Lieven Peeters, William Timmermans, Suzy Miller and Charlotte Boumal, lawyers in ALTIUS' Real Estate & Regulatory practice, wrote the Belgian Chapter of the "Getting the deal through - Construction" book published by Law Business Research. This publication provides international analysis in key areas of law and policy for corporate counsel, cross-border legal practitioners and business people.
    - ALTIUS (in cooperation with Tiberghien)

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