Firm Profile > CMS EU Law Office > Brussels , Belgium

CMS EU Law Office

EU regulatory: Privacy and data protection Tier 1

CMS' 'very experienced and pragmatic' team is perhaps best known for its well-established expertise in multinational data protection compliance work, and is equally adept at handling security breaches, privacy matters, and local data protection issues. Practice head Tom De Cordier is assisting McCain with post-GDPR implementation actions, after advising the same client on GDPR compliance across its European business.

Environment Tier 2

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.

Industry focus: IT and telecoms Tier 2

WIth 'expertise that covers a wide range of legal areas, including competition, EU regulatory and privacy', CMS' IT and telecoms team is made up of 'excellent' and 'very dedicated' lawyers offering 'top-notch advice'. 'Exceptional lawyer' Dirk Van Liedekerke, who has particular experience in EU and Belgian competition and telecoms law, leads a team that defends Facebook before the Belgian courts against allegations of infringements of EU and national rules on privacy protection through the use of cookies and pixels. The department also assisted Sagi Export with its successful bid for a contract with the Belgian Ministry of Justice for the provision of in-prison telephony and other electronic communications services. Tom De Cordier heads the practice alongside Van Liedekerke and is a key name to note, particularly for data privacy matters.

Industry focus: media and entertainment Tier 2

CMS' media and entertainment team acts for client ranging from FIFA and UEFA to M7 Group and Tipik. The group is defending Facebook before the Court of Appeal against allegations of infringement of EU and national rules on privacy protection regarding the use of cookies and pixels brought by the Belgian Privacy Commission. Tom Heremans, who has particular expertise in IP, advertising and marketing, e-commerce and privacy, heads the team alongside competition law specialist Dirk Van Liedekerke.

Insurance Tier 2

CMS serves as a one-stop shop to insurers, reinsurers and brokers, and its sizeable geographical footprint makes it a particularly strong choice for cross-border insurance work. The firm covers the market extensively; led by associate partner Virginie Frémat, its team is highly active in defending insurance claims, advising on coverage issues, insurance policy drafting, insurance litigation and arbitration. Another driver of activity has been the advice to various insurers and brokers on establishing operations in the EU to ensure a smooth transition post-Brexit; a recent highlight saw counsel Benoît Vandervelde advise Willis Towers Watson on the establishment of a base in the EU. In another matter, Frémat and Carl Leermakers assisted Jardin Lloyd Thompson with acquiring Belgibo from Exmar Group, which enabled the client to establish a firm presence in continental Europe. Other clients include Samsung, Swissport and North Europe Life Belgium.

Intellectual property Tier 2

The team at CMS handles cross-border and domestic copyright, trade mark and patent work for a client base drawn from, among other industries, the chemicals, TMT and consumer goods sectors. The firm is also active in anti-counterfeiting and customs actions. Practice head Tom Heremans and Renaud Dupont are the key contacts.

Aviation Tier 3

The 'dynamic and very responsive' team at CMS has notable strength in handling state aid and competition law matters for a client base of airlines and airports. Recent work includes representing Tahiti Airport in a dispute with another airline regarding the application of a start-up aid scheme. The group also assisted Sowaer, a company which owns airport infrastructure in the Wallonia region, with issues pertaining to the European Commission's investigation into alleged aid granted to Ryanair by the region and Charleroi Airport. Annabelle Lepièce is the key name, and associate Hanne Baeyens is also recommended.

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 3

CMS assists financial institutions and corporates with a broad cross-section of banking and capital markets transactions, as well as regulatory matters. Its wide-ranging banking work spans real estate finance, acquisition finance, and factoring and securitisation transactions. In 2018, Arnaud Van Oekel and counsel Benoît Vandervelde were the lead advisers to Getronics on the €700m financing of its acquisition of Pomeroy. Its team is also experienced in debt capital markets transactions and private placements. Regulatory work is another driver of activity for the team; recent mandates have concerned issues such as payment services, the implementation of MiFID II and Brexit. Bruno Duquesne is another name to note in the team. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, Aareal Bank, Helaba and NH Hotels.

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 3

The corporate and M&A practice at CMS, headed up by Vincent Dirckx, has the capability to handle transactions for both domestic and international clients. It recently assisted MoneyGram International with the movement of operations to Belgium from the UK, as well as with opening new branches across the EU. The group is also instructed by Johnson & Johnson, which it  advised on the divestment of several businesses through asset transactions. In another work highlight, the team advised Centrica on its acquisition of Restore.

Competition: Belgian law Tier 3

Led by Annabelle LepièceCMS' team covers all areas of competition law, with a particularly notable focus on the contentious aspects of public and private enforcement. The firm has enhanced its profile in the Belgian market since it merged with Nabarro and Olswang in 2017 - and added Dirk Van Liedekerke as a result of the combination - with these developments enabling it to become better positioned to attract work from clients in the TMT space. The firm's expanding presence in the Belgian market has also enabled it to successfully pitch to advise Belgian bank KBC on all competition matters in Belgium and other territories elsewhere in Europe. Elsewhere, the firm has been notably active in assisting the Belgian government with competition cases involving an interplay between state aid and tax. Also on the state aid front, Lepièce and associate Hanne Baeyens are advising the Walloon Region on the compatibility with European rules of subsidies (cofinanced with European structural funds) for several projects in Belgium, such as the construction of an eco-district in Liège, among others. Senior associate Romain Alderweireldt and associate Kim Gillade are also notable individuals.

Dispute resolution Tier 3

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.

Employment Tier 3

Gaël Chuffart heads the department at CMS, where the team is assisting Deliveroo with employee status matters. Toyota is another key client. Sophie Berg provides ‘practical and commercially sound advice’. In 2018 Elke Duden joined from Linklaters and Jef Degrauwe retired.

Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences Tier 3

The healthcare and life sciences team at CMS acts for hospitals, healthcare providers and public authorities, as well as pharmaceutical companies, with clients including the Hospital of Charleroi, the European Commission, Aspen Pharmacare and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. Virginie Dor, who has particular expertise in public procurement, heads up the practice alongside counsel Bruno FonteynAnnabelle Lepièce is a key name to note for competition law.

Insolvency and restructuring Tier 3

CMS’ insolvency and restructuring team has been particularly active in the retail sector. It advised GiFi on the closure of its Belgium stores and bankruptcy of its nine Belgian subsidiaries. The group also assisted Brico following the financial difficulties of one of its biggest franchisors. In another matter, the group is acting for Verdesis in a dispute brought by a bank concerning money lent by the latter to an insolvent company taken over by the client. Jean-François Goffin heads up the practice.

Real estate and construction Tier 3

CMS provides 'a very high level of service', and is noted for its extensive experience in property finance, development projects and transactional real estate matters. The client roster includes Fidentia BelLx Investments, NH Hotels, Siemens and Hard Rock Cafe. Bruno Duquesne leads the team, in which Pierre-Axel Chabot ('a real negotiator') is a key name.

Tax Tier 4

CMS' team provides day-to-day assistance with matters concerning areas such as VAT and tax incentives. In addition, it has expertise in more strategic issues, such as inter-group restructurings, transfer pricing, reporting obligations and tax litigation; 'what makes the practice unique is that it has everything in-house - you can ask any tax question concerning any country and you will always have a complete answer '. Also notable is that the team 'gives you an answer very quickly, and the answers are very precise'. The firm's strong offering ensures that it generates work from many leading Belgian and international companies, including Deliveroo and Airbus. It also acts for the Belgian government; in a notable mandate, Olivier Querinjean and Annabelle Lepièce are advising Service Public Fédéral Finances (SPF Finance) on an ECJ preliminary ruling procedure, which relates to the recovery of state aid granted by the Belgian government to a multinational company. Further showcasing the strengths of the practice, Didier Grégoire and others acted for Gesmall on the development of its business in Iran and Morocco, which involved handling the related international tax aspects. Grégoire was also the lead adviser to a consortium - consisting of Unibail-Rodamco, Besix and CFE - on all tax issues associated with the development of the Mall of Europe in Belgium.

CMS is a leading and long-standing law firm in The Netherlands with 160 lawyers, civil-law notaries and tax advisers working from three offices. The firm combines expert knowledge and experience with innovation and creativity to ensure our clients achieve and secure their business goals. Its specialists form a full-service practice for national and international businesses such as Fortune 500 companies, FT European 500 companies and organisations from the DAX 30. With the same drive, it helps clients turn their start-ups into game changers.

Department Name Email Telephone
Administrative law Luurt Wildeboer +31 20 3016 382
Banking & Finance Eduard Scheenstra +31 20 3016 447
Commercial Aukje Haan +31 30 2121 747
Competition & EU Edmon Oude Elferink +32 26 5004 54
Consumer products Mark Ziekman +31 20 3016 413
Corporate/M&A Roman Tarlavski +31 20 3016 312
Dispute resolution Leonard Böhmer +31 30 2121 710
Employment and pensions Katja van Kranenburg - Hanspians +31 20 3016 402
Energy Cecilia van der Weijden +31 20 3016 411
Funds Reinout Slot +31 20 3016 319
Hotels & Leisure Roman Tarlavski +31 20 3016 312
Infrastructure & Projects Hein van der Meer +31 20 3016 227
Insolvency & Restructuring Jan Willem Bouman +31 30 2121 285
Insurance Leonard Böhmer +31 30 2121 710
Intellectual property Willem Hoorneman +31 20 3016 237
Life Sciences & Healthcare Ellen Gielen +31 30 2121 517
Mobility Petra Heemskerk +31 20 3016 295
Public Procurement Petra Heemskerk +31 20 3016 295
Real Estate & Construction Hein van der Meer +31 20 3016 227
Tax Herman Boersen +31 20 3016 451
TMC - Technology, Media & Communications Katja van Kranenburg - Hanspians +31 20 3016 402
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Ivan-Serge Brouhns  photo Mr Ivan-Serge Brouhns
Ms Virginie Dor  photo Ms Virginie Dor
Number of lawyers : 4,500+
Chinese (Mandarin)
Other offices : Brussels
Other offices : Utrecht
Other offices : Amsterdam
CMS the Netherlands : 160 lawyers, civil-law notaries and tax advisers
CMS locations : CMS has offices in 73 locations around the world
Managing Partner : Willem Hoorneman