Corporate, Commercial & Regulatory

Impressive depth of specialised experience

Van Bael & Bellis advises multinational clients on corporate, commercial and regulatory issues in the EU and Belgium.

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  • "The lawyers are excellent; very responsive and to the point."

    Chambers Europe

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    • 22/04/2022
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis: top-tier rankings once again in Legal 500 2022

    With six practice areas in tiers 1 and 2, Van Bael & Bellis demonstrates once again the constantly highly-rated services it offers to its clients worldwide, in the Legal 500 2022 rankings recently published online. Whilst individual lawyers receive notable accolades, a particular strength of Van Bael & Bellis is its ability to forge bonds amongst lawyers who work well together, forming – for EU Competition – ‘[a] collaborative and responsive team, who grasp facts quickly and have excellent attention to detail’. Such compliments are repeated throughout the firm’s rankings in relation to the teams of each practice area. Customs, Trade and Anti-dumping (Tier 1): ‘Van Bael & Bellis’ sizeable team enjoys a formidable market reputation on account of its prolific trade defence and WTO dispute settlement practice.’ One client’s praise: ‘High level connections, strong push to deliver, very professional.’ Healthcare and Life Sciences (Tier 1): ‘The market-leading life sciences practice at Van Bael & Bellis fields a strong and sizeable team able to advise on a host of contentious and non-contentious mandates across the sector. The team is highly regarded by public and private sector clients, ranging from multinational pharmaceutical giants to pan-European associations and sovereign states.’ Competition: EU and Global (Tier 2): ‘Top expertise on competition law and excellent understanding of client’s business needs makes a perfect match here. Pragmatic, solution oriented advice. Agreed timetables are always met.’ Competition: Belgian (Tier 2): ‘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.’ Dispute Resolution (Tier 2): Acting for many of the firm’s high-profile clients, practice head Catherine Longeval ‘maintains an active dispute resolution practice that encompasses corporate litigation, distributorship disputes, damages litigation, and other public tender matters for a client base that includes a strong roster of blue-chip multinationals and pharmaceutical companies.’ WTO: Switzerland (Tier 2): Clients ‘highly recommend’ the unit ‘for the professionalism and expertise in the fields of international trade, dispute settlement, and WTO rules’. Commercial, Corporate and M&A (Tier 3): Van Bael & Bellis continues to develop its profile within the transactional space with the team regularly advising on Belgian aspects of complex deals. Practice head Michel Bonne has a strong record across domestic and cross-border transactions in a variety of sectors and is praised for being a ‘very business oriented lawyer that is able to provide the necessary strategic advice to get a deal done’. EU Regulatory: Privacy and Data Protection (Tier 3): ‘Van Bael & Bellis advises clients on compliance policies and broad data protection issues, as well as handling more complex issues relating to international data transfers and procedures before regulatory authorities.’ Intellectual Property (Tier 3): ‘Van Bael & Bellis’ IP department handles litigation, trademark applications, licensing agreements, and patent issues, most notably for clients in the pharmaceutical and life sciences arena.’ Employment (Tier 4): ‘Van Bael & Bellis handles a diverse range of employment law mandates, such as large-scale collective redundancies and mass contract terminations for retail and manufacturing clients’, with experienced litigator Catherine Longeval at the helm. The lawyers recognized by Legal 500 across these ten practice areas are: Michel Bonne, Jean-François Bellis, Sara Beutels, Michael Clancy, Gabriele Coppo, Philippe De Baere, Fabrizio Di Gianni, Thibaut D’hulst, Clotilde du Parc, Porter Elliott, Catherine Gordley, Andrzej Kmiecik, Catherine Longeval, Richard Luff, Hannelore Matthys, Peter L’Ecluse, Andreas Reindl, Benoît Servais, Koen T’Syen, Johan Van Acker, Isabelle Van Damme and Kris Van Hove. Five lawyers are listed as ‘Leading individuals’: Jean-François Bellis, Andrzej Kmiecik and Porter Elliott for Competition – EU and global; Richard Luff for Customs, trade, WTO and anti-dumping and Catherine Longeval for Dispute Resolution. Five lawyers are listed in the ‘Hall of Fame’: Jean-François Bellis, Philippe De Baere and Fabrizio Di Gianni for Customs, trade, WTO and anti-dumping and Peter L’Ecluse and Catherine Longeval for Healthcare and life sciences. Four lawyers are listed as ‘Next generation partners’: Clotilde du Parc (WTO); Michael Clancy (Healthcare and life sciences); Johan Van Acker (Competition – EU and global); and Andreas Reindl (Competition – EU and global). The full rankings can be accessed here.

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Recommendations

  • The quality of the advice is great - we have been asking some complex questions and they have given clear and to-the-point advice and have been very proactive in providing alternative solutions.

    Chambers Europe
  • Van Bael & Bellis has ‘impressive knowledge of dispute resolution, including mediation’. The firm is notable for its strong regulatory and administrative law contentious practice as well as its impressive life sciences sector presence.

    Legal 500
  • They patiently try to understand the mentality of people in different cultures and pay full respect to that. This attitude is rare in a highly expert world. We are fully satisfied with their practice and the results therefrom.

    IFLR1000
  • They are very responsive, and experienced in pharma and compliance-related matters. They always indicate the timelines of the work they do and keep the client informed on the status of the work.

    Chambers Europe

Team focus

Van Bael & Bellis is well known for its client-centred approach, commitment to excellence, exceptional client service and personalised attention.

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Recent publications

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    • 24/05/2022
    • Articles

    Belgium - Entry into Force of New Law Governing Veterinary Medicinal Products

    The Law of 5 May 2022 regarding veterinary medicinal products (the Law - see, attachment) entered into force on 21 May 2022, subject to limited exceptions in relation to the identification code on the immediate and outer packagings. The Law both complements and implements Regulation (EU) 2019/6 on veterinary medicinal products which started to apply on 28 January 2022 (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News and Insights of 10 January 2019; see also, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News and Insights of 10 September 2021). The Law regulates a set of important issues, including clinical trials with veterinary medicinal products; product requirements such as packaging, labelling, and summary of product characteristics (SmPC); marketing authorisations; post marketing authorisation measures, including the requirement to collect data regarding the sales volumes and use of antimicrobial medicines; pharmacovigilance; the manufacturing, preparation, importation and exportation of veterinary medicinal products; wholesale and retail trade, including sales at a distance; parallel trade; veterinary medicinal products prepared in a pharmacy in accordance with a magistral or an officinal formula; inspection, supervision and criminal penalties; and administrative settlements. As a result of the Law, the Law of 25 March 1964 governing medicines will no longer apply to veterinary medicinal products and is for that reason made subject to a lot of modifications. The stated objective of the Law was to create two distinct sets of rules and to have veterinary products covered exclusively by the Law and its implementing Royal Decrees. However, the Law of 28 August 1991 regarding the exercising of the veterinary profession (the Veterinary Profession Law or VP Law) continues to apply and contains several rules that affect veterinary medicines. Additionally, the Law does not address a range of topics for which a separate set of rules was considered to be necessary, while there was no time left to complete the legislative process for that set (as noted, Regulation (EU) 2019/6 has already become applicable on 28 January 2022). This is why a separate statute, currently scheduled to be submitted as a bill to the federal Parliament in the fall of 2022, will regulate the following matters: " Additional indications on the SmPC of homeopathic veterinary medicines; " Additional obligations for wholesalers engaging in the parallel trade of veterinary medicines for reasons of public or animal health; " Authorisations for making preparations; " Substantive requirements for prescriptions; " Processing of personal data contained in inspection files; " Advertising for veterinary medicines; " Rights and obligations of veterinarians with regard to veterinary medicines (Articles 9 to 12 of the VP Law) - It is unclear whether the future law will also tackle Article 17, VP Law which covers pricing issues as well as benefits and reductions given for the benefit of veterinarians.

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    • 16/05/2022
    • Articles

    Belgium - In Enforcement Priority Note for 2022, Pharmaceutical Industry is Again Target of Belgian Competition Authority

    The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has just published its enforcement priority note for 2022 (see, attachments). In keeping with its list of priorities in previous years and in tandem with the approach taken by fellow competition authorities, including the Dutch "Autoriteit Consument & Markt", the BCA will continue to have the pharmaceutical industry in the crosshairs and makes it clear that its vigilance and efforts apply to the entire value chain. As if to remind stakeholders that it means business, the BCA refers to recent enforcement action against pharmaceutical wholesalers (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News and Insights of 18 February 2022). While this “hybrid” settlement case resulted in a fine of EUR 29.8 million for pharmaceutical wholesaler Pharma Belgium-Belmedis, the BCA continues to pursue proceedings against another wholesaler, CERP, which refused to settle. The BCA is also understood to handle cases involving excessive pricing and access to the hospital market. Of broader interest than the pharmaceutical industry is the BCA’s announcement that its budget will benefit from an increase of EUR 1.4 million (20%). The additional funds are earmarked for staff expansion, IT, knowledge management, and enforcement tools such as e-discovery and whistle blowers.

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    • 11/05/2022
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Belgian Business Law, Volume 2022, No. 04

    The April 2022 issue of our Belgian Business Law newsletter reporting on the latest developments in a range of areas, including competition, data protection, intellectual property and labour law.

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