Insights & news

Van Bael & Bellis promotes Isabelle Van Damme

  • 01/02/2021
  • News

This week, Van Bael & Bellis promotes Isabelle Van Damme to its partnership. 

Isabelle specialises in international trade law (WTO and preferential trade agreements), EU law and public international law. She is a key member of Van Bael & Bellis’ exceptional International Trade and International Dispute Resolution teams.

Isabelle advises clients on WTO procedural and substantive law and represents governments in WTO dispute settlement proceedings. Her recent experience includes acting in the first WTO dispute in which the essential security exception clause in Article XXI of the GATT 1994 was interpreted and applied (DS512), and in the first significant challenge to the WTO compatibility of the EU’s climate policy measures (DS593).

Isabelle also advises governments and corporations on all aspects of the negotiation and implementation of preferential trade agreements and investment agreements. Her work on dispute settlement under preferential trade agreements includes designing a system of judicial remedies and advising a government in one of the first disputes arising under an EU preferential trade agreement.

Further, Isabelle has broad experience representing governments and individuals before various international courts and tribunals. She regularly advises and represents parties in cases before the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Notably, her blend of experience also means that she is uniquely placed to advise on the implications of Brexit. On Brexit-related matters, she has appeared as an expert witness before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee of the House of Commons and before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. As a result, she will play a key role in the firm’s post-Brexit legal team, which recently won a place on the UK government’s post-Brexit Trade Law panel.

Managing partner, Philippe De Baere, comments: “Isabelle is an exceptional lawyer who has made a considerable contribution to Van Bael & Bellis’ international law practice. We are delighted to welcome her to the partnership and look forward to continued and new success as we expand our international presence and deepen our expertise even further in the areas of international dispute settlement and investment arbitration.”

Isabelle comments: “I am truly delighted to join the partnership of the firm and look forward to contributing to the continued growth of the firm’s International Dispute Resolution team, focusing on international trade and investment disputes, and helping our clients with all matters relating to Brexit, EU law and public international law. I also look forward to working with our excellent team of lawyers and staff in Brussels, Geneva and London to further strengthen the success of the firm.

Isabelle joined Van Bael & Bellis as an associate in 2016 and was promoted to Counsel in 2018. She previously worked as a référendaire in the chambers of Advocate General Sharpston at the Court of Justice of the European Union, and as an associate at an international law firm in Geneva.


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