Allen & Overy LLP offers a specialist Belgian competition law practice, with standalone domestic competition advice a core part of the firm’s offering. The team works with domestic and international companies and financial institutions on BCA investigations, merger control, domestic competition law, and state aid issues, with a strong focus on the TMT and automotive industries. The ‘proactive‘ practice is led by Dirk Arts, an acknowledged specialist in Belgian competition law who regularly represents clients before Belgian authorities and courts and has broad sector expertise. Associate Eliana Paredis is active in merger and cartel proceedings. Karel Bourgeois has joined Crowell & Moring.
Competition: Belgian law in Belgium
Allen & Overy LLP
Other key lawyers:
‘They came out on top because of their proactivity, understanding of the problem and management of resources.’
‘Dirk Arts is top in what he does. He is to the point, available and always looking for pragmatic solutions.’
contrast has an excellent record in Belgian competition cases, representing major domestic and international players, as well as Belgian government departments, in proceedings before the BCA, including high-profile cartel, abuse of dominance, horizontal and vertical agreements proceedings. The team offers bespoke expertise in these key areas, alongside merger control, state aid, and interim measures matters, and is also known in the market for its compliance and regulatory support for businesses and in thought leadership. Frank Wijckmans, an experienced figure with a successful record in landmark cartel and abuse of dominance cases, interim measures and sports sector specialist Filip Tuytschaever, and Herlinde Burez, who is prolific in the merger control space, are the practice heads.
Other key lawyers:
‘contrast is great to work with. Excellent communication – always quick to respond and very pragmatic. Their team is very skilled and they have become our much trusted advisor in competition and commercial matters.’
‘Herlinde Burez- excellent lawyer. She is very experienced, has extensive knowledge and is very practical. I love working with her.’
‘contrast has a very competent team. They work fast and are very hands-on.’
‘A thorough knowledge of competition law and the ability to translate the complex legislation into an understandable advice.’
‘The practice has an in-depth and outstanding knowledge and experience of both national and European competition law. The team has defended our company before courts, regulators and competition authorities in an efficient, pragmatic and successful way. They set the right priorities and focus on all aspects of a file/matter, such as business context, negotiation possibilities and clear risk analysis. Besides being very pragmatic, the practice is also transparent in work method, billing and expectations.’
‘Filip Tuytschaever has a great business knowledge and an outstanding experience and knowledge of competition law and regulatory law. His advice and analyses are to the point, clear and of a high quality.’
‘Best firm in the market on every aspect. Always ready to jump in where needed, Eye for detail, going the extra mile for their clients, thinking two steps ahead, always thinking in terms of the needs of the company and therefore always tailor-made legal advice.’
‘Filip Tuytschaever: very hardworking, always available, always goes the extra mile to get things done, eye for detail, great right hand man to check all your EU, competition and distribution law questions as he always knows the answer. Laurence Vanhyfte: eye for detail, very hard working, very to the point and always knows to explain complicated legal terms so everyone in a meeting can understand.’
‘Thing that makes them different is their business sense, the clarity of their advice and the actionability of the actions they propose. The real added value of contrast lies in their business acumen, they really know what the are talking about but even more important they really understand what we are talking about. Very quick on the ball too, they really understand business.’
Belgian Ministry of Economy
Royal Excelsior Virton
- Representing the Belgian Ministry of Economy in the appeal procedure filed by Proximus with the Brussels Market Court against the record fine of €66m imposed by the Belgian Competition Authority on Proximus for abuse of dominance.
- Representing Orange Belgium in the interim measures case and ongoing investigation on the merits by the Belgian Competition Authority (as well as the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications) into the strategic joint venture between Orange Belgium and Proximus for the roll-out of 5G in Belgium.
- Representing Royal Excelsior Virton, a Belgian professional football team, in interim measure proceedings against the decision of the Royal Belgian Football Association not to grant a professional license to Royal Excelsior Virton contrary to competition law.
Covington & Burling LLP
Covington & Burling LLP is active across merger filings, state aid, and investigations, as well as regularly appearing before the BCA and Belgian courts in high-profile litigation. Traditionally strong in life sciences and technology, the firm has further expanded its client base for mergers, with notable mandates in the sports and telecoms sectors, and is also a regular adviser to the Belgian government. Brussels managing partner Johan Ysewyn leads the team, and combines his strong record in cartel cases with regular involvement in merger, abuse of dominance, and state aid matters. Special counsel Melissa Van Schoorisse specialises in the music, media, and entertainment, and energy sectors, handling a broad range of antitrust matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is known for its impressive responsiveness and the top notch practical and no nonsense advice based on the vast experience of cases that it has handled. They are a true pleasure to work with.’
‘Johan Ysewyn is clearly the best competition lawyer I have ever come across.’
‘Mellisa Van Schoorisse is well underway to fill in and expand the legacy of the team.’
DPG Media NV
Fluxys Belgium SA
European Tissue Symposium
- Advising DPG Media on competition aspects of its sale of its Belgian mobile telecoms subsidiary Mobile Vikings to Proximus Group.
- Advising PSA Antwerp and MPET on a wide variety of competition law matters, including multi-jurisdictional merger control filings, state Aid matters, as well as abuse of dominance issues.
- Advising DPG Media on its acquisition of RTL Belgium alongside Group Rossel.
Crowell & Moring
The team at Crowell & Moring represents major domestic and international clients in complex proceedings before the Belgian Competition Authority and Market Court, including merger control, abuse of dominance and state aid cases. The firm has notable strength in the IT, telecoms, and media sectors, focus areas for practice co-head Thomas De Meese, and regularly advises clients on the intersection between competition law and intellectual property considerations. The team was bolstered by the arrival of Karel Bourgeois as co-head from Allen & Overy LLP in early 2021, bringing additional expertise in state aid and cross-border merger clearances. Counsel Marieke Van Nieuwenborgh has standout capabilities in the field of antitrust recovery and follow-on damages.
Other key lawyers:
‘Karel Bourgeois is an excellent lawyer, who provides sharp legal advice combined with a good commercial understanding. Hands-on and to-the-point.‘
Liberty Global / Telenet
Federation of Flemish Music Festivals
CSI Sports Media
FEAC – European Mercedes-Benz Dealer Association
The Belgian Association of Gaming Operators
- Advised a major Belgian media group on competition aspects related to its acquisition of certain newspapers and magazines.
- Represented Immoscoop, an online real estate portal in Belgium, in litigation with Immoweb regarding competition rules on advertising.
- Represented Telenet in many separate matters before the BIPT, BCA and the European Commission, and before the Belgian courts.
Stibbe is heavily involved in the Belgian merger control space, advising on a large proportion of clearances before the BCA on behalf of international and domestic corporates and private equity funds. The team also advises on sectoral investigations, state aid, and cartel issues, as well as representing in antitrust litigation relating to abuse of dominance and follow-on damages. The practice is led by Peter Wytinck, who represents clients before Belgian and European courts in damages claims relating to anti-competitive behaviour in a number of sectors, including chemicals and retail, alongside the ‘unique’ Sophie Van Besien, who advises on mergers, state aid, and cartel issues. Counsel Delphine Gillet is also noted for her broad practice and knowledge of procedural law.
Other key lawyers:
‘Sophie van Besien is a high-quality practitioner, with a unique skill-set and client skills blending her experience from in-house and private practice roles.’
Providence Equity Partners
The Belgian State
The Port of Antwerp
The Royal Belgian Football Association
The Wienerberger Group
- Representing several entities of the MAN group in follow-on damages lawsuits before the Belgian courts.
- Representing Antwerp Port Authority in several cases regarding state aid, damage claims, and merger control.
- Advising Dovesco on its likely Belgian merger filing related to an acquisition.
CMS handles the full range of competition matters, including merger control, state aid, cartels, and damages claims, among others, with a strong capability on the contentious side of public and private enforcement proceedings. Sector focuses for the firm include air transport, rail and pharma, and the group is adept at handling state aid for national and regional authorities. The team is led by Annabelle Lepièce, who has an active advisory and litigation practice and specialises in aviation sector work, alongside Dirk Van Liedekerke, who has strong telecoms sector expertise and advises on investigations, merger control, and civil enforcement actions.
Other key lawyers:
‘A strong team with vast experience in all facets of competition law.’
‘Dirk Van Liedekerke is a pragmatic competition lawyer with vast experience and vision. Looks for a pragmatic approach.’
‘Annabelle Lepièce: persistent, out of the box thinker when needed and well balanced leadership.‘
‘Marguerite Soete: young but bright, solution oriented and quick thinker.‘
‘Ability to cope with the requirements, constraints and specificities of government organizations. Good technical background and deep knowledge of the EU competition mechanisms and inner governance. Adequate soft skills in non quantitative negotiations.‘
STIB (Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company)
European Industrial Gas Association (EIGA)
Walloon Region (Energy and Infrastructure)
Sowaer (Public owner of the Walloon airports)
Iris (Brussels public hospitals)
Belgacom International Carrier Services (BICS)
Oostend and Antwerp airports
- Representing MediCare-Market against the Belgian Order of pharmacists in proceedings alleging several infringements of competition law.
- Advised Proximus on the acquisition of Mobile Vikings.
- Representing Proximus in the ongoing investigations regarding the RAN-sharing mobile network agreement that it has concluded with Orange Belgium.
Deprevernet represents clients before the Belgian Competition Authority, handling merger notifications, horizontal and vertical competition issues, state aid matters, and competition litigation. The firm has a particularly strong record in abuse of dominance proceedings, and is also a regular counsel to the BCA, advising the body on procedural issues as well as representing it before the Market Court. Alongside competition law, the team also offers integrated public and criminal law expertise, allowing it to handle a wider range of matters. The practice is led by Grégoire Ryelandt, a ‘pragmatic and responsive‘ specialist in Belgian and international competition law. Senior associate Jasper de Fauw is a focused litigator with multijurisdictional expertise.
Other key lawyers:
Jasper de Fauw; Evrad de Lophem
‘Experienced partner in State aid notifications, hands-on expert legal advice’
‘The various skills of the senior lawyers within the firm form a unique blend that allow Deprevernet to offer excellent services in all aspects of competition litigation. Moreover, Deprevernet is very reactive and pro-active, which gives us full confidence that we are in good hands.’
‘Grégoire Ryelandt is very pragmatic and responsive. To the point with clear, constructive advice and very reasonable prices.’
‘The team is independent on the market and always available. Pricing is competitive.’
‘Gregoire Ryelandt and Evrad de Lophem are highly recommended.’
‘Deprevernet is a law firm with a unique combination of competition law and litigation experience and this both in the Belgian and the EU courts. They add to that significant expertise and knowhow in administrative law, which is an important extra in litigating cases before the Brussels Cour of Appeals (Cour des marchés).’
‘They are very creative and innovative in the legal arguments they put forward. In addition to general competition law they have unique specialized expertise in network industries (telecoms, postal services and energy).‘
‘Philippe Vernet has outstanding expertise in network industries, while Evrard combines his competition law expertise with thorough knowledge of general law principles and procedural law. Their court pleadings are concise, very clear, to the point and effective.‘
Belgian Competition Authority
Ministry of Economy
- Defending the Belgian Competition Authority’s decision to impose a fine to Caudalie.
- Advising the Ministry of Economy on the state aid notification to the European Commission of the concession for the distribution of newspapers and magazines
- Representing LitFin in its claim launched before the Belgian courts against VISA and Mastercard.
Jones Day advises on Belgian-level merger control, abuse of dominance, and state aid matters, as well as having a successful record in litigation relating to mergers, behaviour, and follow-on damages. The firm acts for an array of high-profile multinational clients in key areas including transportation, energy, and financial services. Practice heads Bernard Amory and Alexandre Verheyden are highly experienced competition practitioners with expertise across the full range of matters. Laurent De Muyter is another key member of the team, focusing on litigation.
Bernard Amory; Alexandre Verheyden
Other key lawyers:
Laurent De Muyter
Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie (SRIW)
Telenet / Liberty Global
- Advised the EDF Group (and its Belgian subsidiary Luminus SA) on the antitrust and merger control aspects of its acquisition of Essent Belgium NV.
- Advising Telenet on certain competition and regulatory issues associated with various fibre roll-out projects in Belgium.
- Advised bpost (Belgium’s State-owned postal operator) on cartel investigations implicating the former bpost CEO who had previously led the operations of one of Belgium’s private security services companies.
Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick works with major clients in a wide range of sectors, including tech, pharma, and energy, alongside European and domestic regulatory authorities, handling merger control, state aid, and sectoral investigations. The team has strong in-house competition expertise in the public and private sector, with practice head Stefaan Raes a former head of the BCA, allowing it to interact effectively with regulatory agencies. Vincent Mussche has in-house competition counsel experience, and has a successful record in merger filings, cartel investigations, and compliance programmes.
Other key lawyers:
‘Vincent Mussche is a true star of competition law, he is always available and ready to react quickly by advising the best strategy to follow.’
‘Hands-on, very knowledgeable about the subject matter, creative, solutions-oriented, seeing the big picture.’
Jean-Paul Van Avermaet
AEG Belgium (Vinci Group), presently called Tranzcom
BNP Paribas Fortis
Brussels Airlines (Lufthansa)
Provera (Cora – Louis Delhaize)
MWingz (JV Proximus – Orange Belgium
DP World (Antwerp Gateway)
ABB Industrial Solutions
FEBED (Federatie Belgische Drankhandelaars)
Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund
Horeca Logistic Services
BFFA (Belgian Federation of Football Agents)
The Football Forum
EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)
ECHA (European Chemicals Agency)
Single Resolution Board
Global Power Systems
- Representing an individual in antitrust investigations in Belgium and in the US for alleged cartel activity in the Belgian sector of private security firms.
- Representing Provera in the defence of a joint purchasing agreement in the Belgian retail food sector in an investigation by the Belgian Competition Authority.
- Represented Brussels Airlines in obtaining state aid clearance for the €290m aid measure to address the Covid-19 pandemic, and currently intervening for Brussels Airlines in the appeal proceedings before the European Court of Justice initiated by Ryanair against the Commission’s clearance decision.
Van Bael & Bellis' domestic competition practice has a broad offering, encompassing merger control, joint ventures, damages actions, and cartel investigations, combining advisory and litigation capabilities. The firm acts for domestic and international clients, including on Belgian clearances for cross-border mergers and in large-scale EU and BCA investigations. Alongside logistics and transportation, the firm has notable expertise in the life sciences sector through practice head Peter L’Ecluse, with Kris Van Hove also a key member of the team, with a strong record in damages claims.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team assisting us is composed of 2 lawyers, a senior partner and an associate level lawyer. Both make a perfect tandem and provide the right answers to our requests.’
‘Team members are very knowledgeable and adapt to our needs and practicalities.’
Coca-Cola European Partners
The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)
Koninklijk Meteorologisch Instituut/Institut Royal Météorologique
- Advised Triton on its €146m acquisition of competing tour operator Corendon, including its airline Corendon Dutch Airlines. The acquisition was approved without any conditions after an extensive review.
- Representing the DAF group and Paccar group companies in all their damage claims following on from the Commission’s settlement decision in trucks that are being raised in Belgium.
ALTIUS has an active merger control practice, handling domestic and cross-border deals both on behalf of its M&A team and other national and international firms, alongside complex joint ventures. The firm also has notable expertise in IP-related competition issues such as infringements and damages, and represents clients in antitrust proceedings relating to cartel activity and abuse of dominance. The practice is led by Carmen Verdonck.
‘Solid team with great technical expertise and experience. Reactive and willing to cooperate.’
‘Carmen Verdonck is experienced in dealing with advisory matters and proceedings. Reactive and hands on.’
Cordes & Graefe KG
Pace Rights Management
- Advised Felbermayr Holding GmbH on the merger control clearance procedure before the European Commission concerning the creation of a full-function joint venture between the Felbermayr group and the PSA group.
- Represented Campine in its appeal against the Commission decision in the Car Battery Recycling case obtaining a substantial reduction of the fine imposed on Campine.
- Representing Siemens in the proceedings before the Belgian civil courts by Infrabel, Belgian’s railway operator, claiming compensation for alleged damages following the Belgian Competition Authority’s cartel decision for bid-rigging.
Ashurst LLP regularly litigates complex cases before Belgian and international authorities, with involvement in standout state aid and anti-competitive behaviour cases. The firm also advises on broader antitrust issues, as well as on transactions, handling merger filings for cross-border deals in Belgium alongside joint ventures. Key members in the team include Annick Vroninks, who leads on merger control and restrictive practice cases, and Denis Waelbroeck, who focuses on litigation.
Denis Fosselard; Denis Waelbroek; Annick Vroninks
‘Very smart and dedicated people.’
‘I have worked with Denis Fosselard and Annick Vroninks. Both are above average smart, precise, knowlegeable and reactive.’
Tetra Laval / Tetra Pak
- Representing Imperial Brands in a restrictive practices case opened in relation to alleged indirect information exchanges without customers being investigated.
- Representing UEFA in ongoing litigation regarding Financial Fair Play (and Third Party Ownership rules) following judgments by the Brussels Court of Appeal dismissing the actions the claimants have appealed to the Belgian Supreme Court.
- Representing P&O Ferries before the Belgian Courts in proceedings regarding service charges which are challenged under both competition law and internal market rules.
Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL
Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL advises a wide range of Belgian clients, as well as global companies, on Belgian competition issues, including compliance and merger proceedings as well as contentious sector investigations, with involvements of note in the security services, pharma, medical devices, and 5G sectors. Within the insurance sector, the team has a strong record in abuse of dominance, resale price maintenance and vertical restraints cases. The team is led by Kurt Haegeman, who has a strong focus on consumer goods and retail sector work, and notable Japanese expertise, alongside Joost Haans, who regularly handles merger and investigations proceedings for European clients.
Kurt Haegeman; Joost Haans
‘Belgian competition law team is competent and easy to work with.’
‘Joost Hans is capable of quietly and effectively explaining both the law, procedure and usual practice. He is not afraid to robustly contest client suggestions giving clear explanations and alternative options.’
- Representing HP in litigation before the Brussels Court of Appeal and an investigation before the Belgian competition authority following a complaint and a request for interim measures alleging abuse of dominance.
- Advised IPG and other call centres and related parties on winning the Belgian government tender for setting up and operating a COVID track and trace call centre.
- Advised Ansell on the competition law aspects of a possible cooperation with a competitor to handle the increased demand for its products resulting from the COVID pandemic.
Eubelius advises public and private sector clients on merger control, state aid, and wider competition regulatory issues, with a focus on regulated industries such as energy, telecoms, and broadcasting. The firm also represents clients in litigation before the Belgian courts and BCA, as well as handling informal negotiations with competition authorities. The team is led by Jan Bocken and Hans Gilliams, who are both active in litigation before the BCA, particularly relating to state aid.
‘Hands-on advice that helps you navigate around pitfalls and enables you to make a clear risk assessment. Besides the technical knowledge, they bring a lot of insight and experience to the table, always in a business minded approach. Lawyers that really think together with the client in a collaborative way.’
‘The team has excellent knowledge about competition law issues and provides clear legal advice. The team members are easily approachable, down-to-earth, correct and realistic in their assessment of the case and nice to work with.’
SNCB / NMBS
Bancontact Payconiq Company
Belgian Federal Public Service Finance
EPI Interim Company
- Represented bpost before the EU Court of Justice after preliminary reference from the Brussels Court of Appeal in proceedings relating to the scope of the ne bis in idem general principle of law in competition matters.
- Advised 22 major Eurozone financial institutions on the creation of the European Payments Initiative (EPI), a new pan-European payment scheme.
- Advised Crelan on the acquisition of AXA Bank Belgium.
McDermott Will & Emery Belgium LLP advises a wide range of domestic and international clients on merger clearance before the BCA, alongside regularly representing clients in cartel, state aid, and behavioural cases before Belgian courts. The team, led by Hendrik Viaene, combines broad EU competition expertise with specific domestic capabilities, and is strong in key sectors such as financial services, chemicals, construction, and pharma.
Other key lawyers:
Karolien Van der Putten
‘What makes the team unique is the combination of knowledge of Belgian and European law.‘
‘Hendrik Viaene and Karolien Van der Putten – down-to-earth/pragmatic lawyers.‘
Esko Graphics (part of Danaher Corporation)
University Hospital Gent
CHEP (Brambles Group)
Van Mossel Automotive Group
University Hospital Antwerp
- Advised Van Mossel Automotive Group on its acquisition of Alcopa’s remaining car distribution.
- Represented Kringwinkel in court proceedings claiming damages for allegedly receiving, among other things, unfair competitive advantages in the form of state aid.
- Representing Soudal and Esko Graphics in two pending cases before the General Court and two pending cases before the European Court of Justice.
Specialist competition litigators Quinz represent a wide range of domestic clients alongside multinationals in cartel, abuse of dominance, and sector investigation proceedings, playing a key role in investigations of multinationals by the Belgian Competition Authority. Sector focuses include the life sciences and medical devices space, with new clients in the financial services and logistics sector. Alongside its litigation capabilities, the team led by Wim De Meester also advises clients on merger control and state aid concerns.
‘Wim De Meester: very practical advice, high availability.’
‘Wim De Meester is easy to work with and pragmatic.’
‘Quinz offers excellent legal advice, with good knowledge of business realities; all the while thinking with the client.’
‘Very accessible, knowledgeable, easy to work with and hands-on.’
‘It’s a young and energetic team that is growing in the market.’
‘Wim De Meester puts specific emphasis on client care and serves a solid client basis, especially in the life sciences sector.’
‘The team is very capable. Whenever you give them a dossier and or ask them for any advice, they analyse the issue in detail and provide a response that truly covers all eventualities so that you can make a truly informed decision on how to proceed.’
Johnson & Johnson
- Representing Roche in an investigation of the Belgian Competition Authority involving alleged anticompetitive practices towards biosimilars entering the Belgian market.
- Representing Febelco in a cartel investigation launched by the Belgian Competition Authority in 2016.
- Representing Spotahome in a cease and desist litigation initiated by the Belgian Professional Institute for Real Estate Agents. The case deals with the transposition of the ‘Airbnb’ ruling from the ECJ for the first time into Belgian national case law.
Strelia established its competition practice with the arrival of Pierre Goffinet and his team from DALDEWOLF in August 2021; team members have a strong record in competition advice in the regulated communications sectors as well as high-level competition litigation relating to cartels, follow-on damages, and private enforcement. The team acts for a combination of private and public sector clients, including competition regulatory bodies, healthcare and aviation companies. Counsel Laure Bersou is another key member of the practice, with expertise in regulated industries and cartel work.
Other key lawyers:
‘The experience in the domain, reflected in the outstanding quality of their output. Availability and speed of service is excellent’
‘Pierre Goffinet never misses an aspect, his work is of the highest quality, always very complete and to the point. Discussions with him are always very interesting, dynamic and give you a whole new perspective and energy to continue the work.’
‘I have a long lasting relationship with Pierre Goffinet and his team. He is a brilliant practitioner, a very nice personality and has an in-depth knowledge in competition law, including, but not limited to on the transport and energy market, the latter being more or less unique.’
‘Perfect knowledge of the Belgian competition authority and how it works. Hyper-reactive team, impeccable follow-up, efficient, pragmatic and so pleasant and close contact.’
‘Pierre Goffinet’s dual economic and legal role allows for a more pragmatic approach to cases, and the support goes beyond simple legal support. A global understanding of the client and his expectations, a sharp accompaniment in a warm and confident working atmosphere.’
‘Pierre and his team are one of the best on the market.’
‘Pierre has an economic background as well as a law background, which gives him an advantage in dealing with complex competition law issues on regulated markets such as energy markets.’
Belgian State (FPS Economie)
Dinant Evasion and Dinant Croisières
Sogenam (Groupe D’Haene)
Grand hôpital universitaire de Bruxelles (GHUB)
Fédération Wallonne des Entreprises de Travail Adapte ASBL – EWETA
Total Energies (Lampiris)
- Advised Sogenam on the approval of its merger to become D’Haene Group.
- Advised the Cliniques Universitaires de Bruxelles – Hôpital Erasme, the Institut Jules Bordet and the Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola on the creation of a hospital group.
- Represented Filigranes as an intervener in an action brought by the Syndicat des Libraires Francophones de Belgique and seeking to compel Amazon EU to cease the commercial practice of delivering free of charge books written exclusively or almost exclusively in French.