Overview

Jean-François Bellis is a founding partner of Van Bael & Bellis. Before setting up the firm in 1986, he clerked for Lord Mackenzie Stuart, the British judge at the European Court of Justice, and was a partner in the European law department of a major Brussels law firm. Jean-François has several decades of experience in competition and trade law, representing clients in numerous cases before the European Commission and the EU Courts.

EU Competition Law

Jean-François assists clients on all aspects of competition law with particular expertise in cartels, abuses of dominance and merger control.  He has acted in landmark competition cases, including United Brands, Woodpulp, Michelin I and II, Microsoft and Intel.

EU and International Trade Law

Jean-François has assisted clients in numerous anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases in proceedings before the European Commission and in related litigation before the EU Courts and the WTO dispute settlement system. He was appointed by the WTO Director-General as a member of the WTO panel in the Automotive Leather dispute between the US and Australia.

Languages

French, English

Distinctions

In 2014, Jean-François was honoured by Chambers & Partners for his “Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession”. Previously, in 2011, the Global Competition Review (GCR) granted him a “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of his longstanding experience in competition law. He has also been named by Best Lawyers as a “Lawyer of the Year” for 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015. 

Recommendations

  • Chambers Europe for Competition and Trade Law – Band 1
  • Chambers Europe for International Trade/WTO – Star Individual  
  • International Who's Who of Business Lawyers for Competition and Trade
  • Expert Guides – Guide to the World's Leading Competition and Antitrust Lawyers
  • Expert Guides – Guide to the World's Leading Trade Lawyers
  • Expert Guides – Best of the Best Top Competition Lawyers Worldwide
  • Legal 500 for Competition Law
  • Legal 500 for Customs, Trade, WTO and Anti-dumping
  • PLC for Competition Law
  • IFLR1000 – EU Competition (Leading Lawyer) 
  • European Legal Experts for Competition Law
  • Best Lawyers – Competition/Antitrust
  • Best Lawyers – Government Practice
  • Best Lawyers – Trade Law

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School, LL.M., 1974
  • University of Brussels (ULB), Master of Laws, 1972 

Publications

Jean-François Bellis has written numerous books and articles on competition and trade law and regularly speaks on both of these subjects at international conferences and seminars.

Teaching Posts

Jean-François Bellis teaches a course on EU competition law at the Institute of European Studies of the University of Brussels (ULB) and directs a seminar on competition law at the University of Liège. He also lectures on abuses of dominance at the Brussels School of Competition.

Bar Admission

Brussels

Notable assignments

  • Representing Microsoft throughout the landmark proceedings that led to the 2004 European Commission abuse of dominance decision. On appeal, Jean-François helped the company obtain a partial annulment of that decision with respect to the Commission’s remedial powers. Subsequently, in Microsoft’s appeal for alleged non-compliance with the 2004 decision, Jean-François helped Microsoft obtain the largest fine reduction in any case involving abuse of dominance.

  • Representing ACT, a trade association of more than 5,000 IT firms worldwide, in support of Intel’s challenge to the Commission decision imposing a record fine of €1.06 billion on Intel for allegedly granting rebates and payments conditional on exclusivity. The case raised many novel issues, including burden of proof, the proper legal test for assessing fidelity rebates, the Commission’s duties when gathering evidence, and jurisdiction.

  • Representing CISAC, as well as eight individual copyright management societies, in their appeal to the EU General Court which led to the annulment of the European Commission’s decision which had found CISAC and its European members to have engaged in concerted practices in violation of EU competition law.

  • Representing Japan Airlines, Japan’s largest flag carrier, and Thai Airways in the cartel proceeding initiated by the European Commission against more than 20 airlines in the airfreight sector. Charges against Thai Airways were dropped and Jean-François obtained the annulment by the EU General Court of the €35.7 million fine imposed on Japan Airlines. Jean-François is also acting as coordinating counsel in defending Japan Airlines in follow-on actions for damages brought in EU Member State courts.

Publications and insights

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    • 11/02/2019
    • News

    Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker author chapter on “Merger control in the EU”

    Thomson Reuters have published their Practical Law guide on global merger control law, which features a chapter on “Merger control in the EU” authored by Van Bael & Bellis partners Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker. This chapter answers the critical questions that typically arise in an EU merger control review with respect to the regulatory framework, jurisdictional thresholds, procedures and timetables, substantive test and remedies, amongst others. The chapter can be accessed here. Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker are also the authors of the EU chapter of Merger Control: International Series, now in its third edition, for which Jean-François Bellis and Porter Elliott serve as General Editors. Jean-François Bellis and Porter Elliott are also the Contributing Editors of the 2019 Chambers Global Practice Guide for merger control.

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    • 01/02/2019
    • News

    Jean-François Bellis chairs a panel on remedies in specific areas of enforcement at the Global Competition Law Centre’s 14th Annual Conference

    On 31 January 2019, Jean-François Bellis chaired a panel on the first day of the GCLC’s 14th Annual Conference on “Remedies in EU Competition Law; Substance, Process and Policy” held in Brussels. The panel examined competition remedies in practice in the areas of antitrust, merger control and state aid. The panel included Lars Kjølbye (Latham & Watkins), Elena Zoido (Compass Lexecon) and Jacques Derenne (GCLC, ULG, Sheppard Mullin). The full programme can be accessed here.

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    • 16/11/2018
    • News

    Jean-François Bellis moderates panel at LeadershIP EU’s 2nd annual conference in Brussels

    On 13 November 2018, Van Bael & Bellis co-managing partner Jean-François Bellis moderated a panel at LeadershIP EU’s 2nd annual conference, which explored the impact of IP and competition policy on global business and innovation looking toward the future, 5G and emerging technologies. The panel was titled Effects-Based Analysis: Where Do We Stand on Both Sides of the Atlantic? and the discussion focused on the competition law trends in the US and the EU in the area of effects-based analysis. The other panel members were the Honourable Douglas Ginsburg, Senior Circuit Judge, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Sir Robin Jacob, Sir Hugh Laddie Chair of Intellectual Property Law, University College London and Former Justice in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Further details about the conference are available here.

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