Overview

Quentin Declève focuses on international litigation and arbitration, as well as on EU and national competition law and international trade law. He also represents clients before the EU Courts and before Belgian civil and commercial courts.

Quentin has been involved in key cases relating to restrictive measures and sanctions taken against individuals and against sovereign States by the European Union and the United Nations (Cases T-375/14 to T-378/14 on measures adopted by the European Union with regard to Egyptian citizens). Quentin also coordinates the defence of the Belgian State in disputes involving the sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council and the European Union against Libya.

Quentin also assists clients in the field of competition law, merger control and State aids both in administrative and court proceedings. In particular, he intervened in the procedure to annul the Decision of the European Commission concerning State aid implemented by Belgium in favour of the Duferco group.

Quentin also advised the Republic of Benin in discussions within Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law to reform investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms.

From 2013 to 2015, Quentin worked part-time as a teaching assistant in EU Law for Professors François Van der Mensbrugghe and Nicolas de Sadeleer at Université Saint-Louis in Brussels.

Languages

French, English, Dutch

Recommendations

Best Lawyers - Litigation 
Legal 500 - Litigation 

Education

  • Columbia Law School, LL.M., 2016
  • Brussels School of Competition, LL.M., 2014
  • University of Ghent, Exchange programme, 2011
  • University of Louvain, Master of  Laws, 2011
  • Saint-Louis University (USL), Brussels, Bachelor of Law, 2009

Publications

Quentin is the author and editor of the International Litigation Blog (www.international-litigation-blog.com) which offers posts and discussions on developments and hot topics in the field of international litigation and arbitration.

“Fortis’s Settlement: A Comparative Case Study of Securities Class Action Mechanisms in Europe and the United States” (Business Law International, 2017).

“Achmea: Consequences on Applicable Law and ISDS Clauses in Extra-EU BITs and Future EU Trade and Investment Agreements” (European Papers, Vol. 4, 2019, No. 1).

“Ordonnance européenne de saisie conservatoire des comptes bancaires : la Cour de Justice de l’Union européenne préserve l’équilibre entre les intérêts des créanciers et les droits de la défense des débiteurs” (together with Margot Vogels, RDC/TBH, 2020).
 
“The role of treaty drafting in ensuring the binding nature and enforcement of international rulings handed down against States or international institutions: A comparison of EU and US case-law” (LawTTip, 2020).
 
“Investment Arbitration under Intra-EU BITs”, in José Rafael Mata Dona and Nikos Lavranos (ed), International Arbitration and EU Law (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd) (together with Isabelle Van Damme).
 
“De rechtspraak van het Hof van Justitie over investeringsarbitrage onder intra-EU en extra-EU investeringsverdragen” (together with Isabelle Van Damme, SEW, 2020).

Conferences 

The impact of the Achmea judgment on EU trade and investment agreements with third countries (CEPS, Brussels, 26 June 2018).

The role of treaty drafting in ensuring the binding nature and enforcement of international rulings handed down against States or international institutions: A comparison of EU and US case-law (III LawTTIP, King’s College London Dickson Poon School of Law, 22 March 2019).

Investment Arbitration and EU Law (CEPANI 40, Brussels, 8 May 2019).

Possibility to enter into an inter se agreement in order to remove intra-EU investment arbitration proceedings from the scope of the ECT (5th EFILA, London, 30 January 2020).
 

Bar admission

Brussels

Notable assignments

  • Advising and representing the Republic of Benin during the UNCITRAL's discussions on the reform of investor-State dispute settlement

Publications and insights

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    • 09/09/2021
    • Articles

    Case C-741/19: The CJEU decides that intra-EU ECT arbitration is incompatible with EU law and interprets the definition of “investment” in the ECT

    On 2 September 2021, in its judgment in Case C-741/19, Republic of Moldova v. Komstroy LLC, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) decided that intra-EU arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) is incompatible with EU law. It also gave a restrictive interpretation to the definition of “investment” in the ECT.

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    • 03/08/2021
    • Articles

    Brussels Court of Appeal Upholds Attachment Order against Kazakhstan

    On 29 June 2021, the Brussels Court of Appeal (the Court of Appeal) handed down a judgment in which it upheld a protective attachment order over more than USD 500 million worth of assets, owned by Kazakhstan, and held with the Brussels subsidiary of the Bank of New York Mellon (the BNYM). Background The proceedings before the Belgian courts result from the efforts of two Moldovan investors (Anatolie and Gabriel Stati (the Investors)) who seek to enforce an arbitral award handed down in their favour in 2013. The arbitral tribunal (chaired by Karl-Heinz Böckstiegel) had found Kazakhstan liable for a harassment campaign against the Investors which ultimately resulted in a violation of the Energy Charter Treaty provisions on Fair and Equitable Treatment. As a result, the arbitral tribunal had ordered Kazakhstan to pay USD 508 million to the Investors as compensation for the damage suffered. In the absence of voluntary payment from Kazakhstan, the Investors sought a protective attachment order from the Brussels Court of First Instance in 2017 enabling them to freeze assets owned by Kazakhstan held with BNYM pending the outcome of the proceeding leading to the recognition and enforcement of their arbitral award in Belgium. The protective attachment order was obtained in ex parte proceedings (i.e., without notice to Kazakhstan). However, upon notice of the attachment order, Kazakhstan lodged a third-party opposition (tierce opposition / derdenverzet) challenging the validity of the protective order. After the Brussels Court of First Instance dismissed the third-party opposition, Kazakhstan appealed that decision before the Court of Appeal.

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    • 14/07/2021
    • News

    Brussels Court Issues Judgment against Belgian Federal and Regional Governments in Climate Change Litigation

    On 17 June 2021, the French-speaking Brussels Court of First Instance (Franstalige rechtbank van eerste aanleg te Brussel / Tribunal de première instance francophone de Bruxelles; the Court) handed down its judgment in the so-called “Klimaatzaak” case, in which it found that the federal government as well as the governments of the three regions (i.e., Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) breached Article 1382 of the Belgian Civil Code on tort liability and Articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the ECHR) by failing to take the necessary measures to limit the adverse effects of climate change on the country’s population. On 27 April 2015, the environmental non-profit association “Klimaatzaak” representing 58,000 Belgian citizens (the claimants) filed a lawsuit against the Belgian federal government as well as against the governments of the three regions, alleging that these authorities breached their general duty of care and the citizen’s human rights by failing to implement their commitments in terms of fighting climate change. In its judgment, the Court first addressed the admissibility of the claim brought by the claimants. It held that the 58,000 Belgian citizens showed a personal and direct interest in the legal action in view of the real threat of climate change and of its present and future adverse consequences on the daily lives of citizens in Belgium and elsewhere. In addition, the Court considered that the non-profit association “Klimaatzaak” had an independent personal and direct interest in the legal action in accordance with its statutory object, clearly aimed at combating climate change. On the merits, the Court considered that both the federal government and each of the governments of the three regions were individually liable for failing to implement their climate obligations. The Court based its reasoning on three findings. First, Belgium showed mixed results in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (the GHG emissions) and therefore failed to meet international, European and national GHG emissions reduction targets. More specifically Belgium failed to comply with: • international targets laid down in the 2012 Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1997; • European targets set out in the Decision No 406/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions; • internal targets that Belgian authorities have set for themselves. In addition, experts projected that Belgium will also not meet the targets for 2030 set by the EU Regulation 2018/842 of 30 May 2018 on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030, even if additional internal policies were implemented. Second, the Belgian authorities failed to implement a strong climate governance. In particular, the Court considered that since climate policy is a competence shared between the federal government and the governments of each of the three regions, these entities should have taken appropriate coordinated actions to ensure that their climate obligations were met. Third, the Court noted that Belgium received repeated warnings from the European Union concerning its failure to meets its climate commitments. These findings, together with the fact that the Belgian authorities had full knowledge of the risks of climate change on the country’s population led the Court to conclude that neither the federal government, nor the governments of the three regions acted with the degree of care and diligence required by Article 1382 of the Belgian Civil Code. In addition, the Court considered that the same authorities breached the claimants' rights to life and right to privacy enshrined in Articles 2 and 8 of the ECHR. In that respect the Court stressed that the authorities did not take appropriate measures to prevent the risks and adverse consequences of climate change on the claimants’ life and privacy. The Court nonetheless rejected the claimants’ request for an injunction to further reduce the GHG emissions by 48% (or at least by 42%) in 2025, by 65% (or at least by 55%) in 2030, and by 100% in 2050. In particular, it found that whilst it could be determined that the federal government and the government of the three regions were liable for breach of their legal obligations, the principle of separation of powers did not allow the Court to intervene in political decisions and set specific GHG emission reduction targets. The claimants communicated their intention to appeal this part of the judgment before the Brussels Court of Appeal and to bring the case before the European Court of Human Rights.

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