Dispute resolution in Belgium
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP's 'very responsive and knowledgeable' team 'works like an oiled machine'. The practice has established strength in both multi-jurisdictional and domestic disputes, with antitrust, cybersecurity, white-collar crime cases, corporate litigation, contentious insolvency, and arbitration matters prominent in the group's workload. Tom Schoors leads the team, which includes key contacts Koen Van Den Broeck, a specialist in corporate litigation; white-collar crime expert Joost Everaert; Werner Eyskens, who has an excellent reputation for cross-border litigation cases; and the 'excellent' Thales Mertens, who was recently promoted to the partnership.
Linklaters garners praise for its 'thorough knowledge' of dispute resolution matters, and is well known for acting for corporate, financial institution and banking clients in white-collar crime cases and regulatory investigations. Practice head and key name Françoise Lefèvre led the representation of Bank of New York Mellon in freezing $22bn of assets held by Kazakhstan's National Fund as part of a third party garnishment order. Deutsche Bank and KBC Bank are also clients. Stefaan Loosveld stands out as 'one of the best litigators on the Brussels market'.
Insolvency litigation is a key strength of NautaDutilh's practice, which also garners praise for its expertise in real estate, financial services, and commercial and corporate disputes. Arbitration is another core area of instruction. Stan Brijs and Sophie Jacmain jointly lead the team, and are representing two Moldovan investors in a dispute with the Republic of Kazakhstan over recovering an arbitral award worth over $500m.
Hans Van Bavel's group at Stibbe handles a broad spread of work, including corporate and commercial, insolvency, and financial services disputes; cross-border cases are a key strength. Paul Van der Putten, Oliver Stevens and Nicolas Résimont are the names to note. Recent highlights include representing KBC Bank in a dispute regarding the recovery of credit facilities granted to Belgian diamond trader Exelco, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the US; the US proceedings were dismissed.
DLA Piper is adept at handling disputes from a wide spectrum of industries, including banking, commercial, real estate, IP and white-collar crime litigation. Annelies Verlinden heads the practice, which includes Bob Martens, who has expertise in public sector litigation, and Christian Van Buggenhout, who specialises in corporate, insolvency and restructuring disputes. The client roster includes Aviapartner, National Bank of Belgium and Arco Group.
Patrick Hofströssler's group at Eubelius includes contract litigation expert Ignace Claeys; Herman De Bauw, who is well known for representing the Belgian government before the EU Court of Justice; and Svjatoslav Gnedasj, who is the key contact for tax litigation. The team's caseload includes disputes from the retail, energy, financial services, real estate and construction industries.
Janson reports an uptick in disputes from the financial services sector; practice head Dominique Blommaert is representing a Belgian bank in disputes relating to alleged mis-selling of shares. Other areas of instruction include arbitration, white-collar crime cases and corporate litigation. Cédric Alter and Céline Masschelein are also names to note.
At Jones Day, Sébastien Champagne heads a team noted for its expertise in handling arbitration, competition law issues, cross-border disputes and product liability matters. Key contacts in the group include Michèle Grégoire, who has established expertise in representing clients before the Belgian Supreme Court, and Vanessa Foncke, who has notable experience in domestic and international arbitration.
Among Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's recent caseload, Nicolas Angelet successfully defended the Belgian state in civil proceedings brought by survivors and heirs of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Aimery De Schoutheete and Arnaud Nuyts ('a powerful advocate') are also highly regarded practitioners. In January 2019, Hakim Boularbah and counsel Olivier Van Der Haegen moved to Loyens & Loeff.
At Loyens & Loeff, the team is representing the National Bank of Kazakhstan in a challenge to a third party garnishment order, as part of an ongoing dispute with two Moldovan investors regarding an arbitral award. Yves Van Couter, who has established expertise in IP and IT litigation, is a key contact. Martine De Roeck was appointed to the judiciary at the Antwerp Commercial Court and senior associate Ahmed Tayane left to join the LRC Group as counsel. In January 2019, the practice was bolstered by the arrivals of the 'heavyweight fighter' Hakim Boularbah and counsel Olivier van der Haegen from Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick.
The 'solution-driven' and 'client-focused' team at Lydian is well known for its strength in insurance litigation, and reports an uptick in product liability disputes from the life sciences sector. Other areas of instruction include construction litigation, white-collar crime matters, commercial and corporate disputes and competition litigation. The 'always available' Hugo Keulers heads the practice; Yves Lenders, Sandra Lodewijckx and Annick Mottet Haugaard are other key names. The firm is acting for the Belgian subsidiary of Vivaldi Biosciences in a dispute relating to an alleged process development and manufacturing agreement between the client and biomanufacturing company Univercells.
Quinz is representing the European External Action Service in transnational disputes regarding development projects for EU delegation offices, and is acting for Shamrock Global Group in a high-profile mining dispute in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Benoît Allemeersch heads the practice, in which Vincent Van Obberghen and counsel Stijn Sabbe are key names.
Van Bael & Bellis provides 'very valuable legal advice', particularly on disputes in the competition, life sciences and IP sectors. Arbitration is another core area of instruction for the team. Catherine Longeval leads the group, which includes Peter L’Ecluse, who is noted for his expertise in patent litigation from the life sciences area, and competition law expert Martin Favart.
White & Case LLP's team represented a Swedish private investor and three prominent Romanian companies in ongoing litigation relating to the enforcement of a €200m arbitral award against Romania by ICSID. Bank Indonesia and Facebook are also key clients. Thierry Bosly is a name to note for contentious insolvency cases. Nathalie Colin joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2020.
Among ALTIUS' recent caseload, Alexander Hansebout acted for the creditors of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) in cross-jurisdictional litigation against the CBI itself and competing creditors relating to assets of CBI seized in Brussels during the Gulf Wars. Hansebout jointly heads the group with Christophe Ronse.
Ambos NBGO Advocaten
Ambos NBGO Advocaten's 'dedicated' team has solid expertise in contentious IP, transport, construction and biotech matters, to name a few areas, and is noted for its capabilities in corporate and commercial litigation. Practice head Kathleen Paisley is 'a very valuable asset in international dispute resolution cases', and is lauded for her mediation expertise. Ingrid Van Clemen ('a very good litigator') and Bart Vandereeckt are other names to note.
Contentious work forms the core of Arcas Law's practice, which has a strong reputation for handling instructions from the life sciences and financial sectors, drawing upon an established roster of domestic and multinational clients. Karel Schulpen, Joost Verlinden and Bart Volders are the key practitioners.
IP and IT litigation dominates Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's caseload, and the practice is also widely recognised for its strength in construction, environmental and financial services disputes. The client roster includes Orange and Van Ratingen. Koen De Winter and Daniel Fesler share leadership of the group.
Clifford Chance houses 'a very professional' team. The group reports an uptick in insolvency and restructuring-related litigation; clients include Belfius Bank, Kone and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Dorothée Vermeiren was promoted to the partnership in May 2019. Sébastien Ryelandt is now with Strelia.
The 'solutions-oriented' team at CMS represents Facebook in proceedings brought by the Belgian Data Protection Authority regarding alleged infringements of privacy protection rules concerning the use of pixels and cookies. Renaud Dupont, who is highly regarded for his IP expertise, is the key figure.
Crowell & Moring handles the full range of patent litigation for a number of prominent pharmaceutical clients, and is active in arbitration, cross-border and TMT cases. Thomas De Meese and Kristof Roox, who specialises in IP litigation, jointly lead the team. Emmanuel Plasschaert is also highly regarded.
At Fieldfisher, recent work includes Eric Cusas acting for CFL, the national railway of Luxembourg, in litigation regarding damage to Belgian national railway infrastructure following an accident. Jean-François Germain heads a group, which also acts for Ecolab, Euroclear and Vizzion Europe. Maxime Berlingin is also recommended.
Hanotiau & van den Berg
The team at Osborne Clarke has 'in-depth expertise and a deep understanding of the clients' needs'. The group is perhaps best known for its solid experience in handling disputes brought by clients from the retail and technology sectors, and is adept at commercial litigation. Practice head Stefan Deswert 'demonstrates complete devotion to his work and can easily guide a client through the most challenging cases'. Associate Philippe Brabanders 'comes up with creative approaches to complex issues'.
Recent work highlights for Philippe & Partners' team include representing a major government institution in litigation against four prominent elevator companies regarding damages claims for infringing competition law by creating a cartel. Senior partner Prof Dr Denis Philippe heads the group. Other key names include the 'solution-oriented and efficient' Marc Gouden and counsel Tom Van Noyen, who is 'a rising star'.
Schoups attracts praise for its 'very thorough' approach, particularly in prominent construction disputes. Managing director Marco Schoups is 'very accessible'; Geert De Buyzer, Kris Lemmens and Siegfried Busscher are other key figures in the team. The client roster includes Fincimec, Carrefour and CFE Infra.
Simont Braun's team provides 'strong practical advice' to clients from a broad spectrum of industries, and reports a significant uptick in IP litigation, with a key focus on trade mark disputes. The key contacts are Paul Alain Foriers, who is highly regarded for his expertise in handling disputes before the Supreme Court, and Rafaël Jafferali.
'Very pragmatic' firm Strelia is well known for handling corporate litigation and insolvency disputes; for example, department head Jean-Pierre Fierens is representing directors of Optima Bank in claims for damages following the bank's bankruptcy. Olivier Clevenbergh, who 'understands very complex situations quickly', and Bart De Moor are also names to note. Sébastien Ryelandt was a new arrival from Clifford Chance.
ASTREA BV CVBA has notable expertise in contentious insolvency, corporate disputes and administrative law; the client roster includes Bridgestone and German crane manufacturer Liebherr. Marc Van Looveren, Louis Verstraeten ('very business oriented and practical') and Olivier Van Fraeyenhoven are key names in the group, which includes Frédéric Verspreeuwen, who has expertise in corporate litigation.
Olislaegers & De Creus
Verhaegen Walravens' key strength lies in corporate litigation, and is well known for handling disputes brought by clients from the financial services, construction, technology and communications sectors. Practice head Philip Walravens is the key contact, and senior associate Julie Borgerhoff is also recommended.