Richard Burton specialises in EU and UK competition law.

He advises on a wide range of competition law matters, including cartels, distribution agreements, pricing and other abuse of dominance issues, merger control, and intellectual property licensing.

Richard also advises on competition and regulatory matters affecting the aviation and energy sectors in Europe.

Richard’s competition law experience covers a broad range of sectors, including basic industries, chemicals, automotive components, consumer electronics, semiconductors, aviation, energy and financial services. He has substantial experience in assisting clients in cartel cases, including involvement in internal compliance investigations, representation before the European Commission, applications for leniency and appeals before the EU Courts.  


English, Dutch, French


  • IFLR1000 – EU Competition (Rising Star)
  • Best Lawyers – Competition/Antitrust


  • College of Europe, Bruges, LL.M. in European Legal Studies, 1999
  • College of Law, York, Diploma in Legal Practice, 1998
  • University of Durham, LL.B. in European Legal Studies, 1997


Contributor to Van Bael & Bellis, Competition Law of the European Community (fifth edition, Kluwer, 2010), the standard work of reference in the field of EU competition law.

Part of the editorial team of the firm’s newsletter, VBB on Competition Law. 

Bar Admissions

Solicitor, England & Wales


Notable assignments

  • The Legal 500

    Assisting Japan Airlines, Japan’s largest flag carrier, in the cartel proceeding initiated by the European Commission against more than 20 airlines in the airfreight sector and obtaining the annulment by the EU General Court of the €35.7 million fine imposed on Japan Airlines. This case received the Global Competition Review Matter of the Year award in 2016 and also won the American Lawyer’s Global Dispute of the Year: International Litigation award for 2016.

  • The Legal 500

    Assisting Renesas Electronics Corporation in obtaining immunity from fines in the Smart Card Chip cartel proceedings before the European Commission.

Publications and insights

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    • 28/08/2023
    • News

    VBB competition experts author EU cartel chapter in global Chambers guide

    Cartel enforcement continues to top the European Commission (Commission)’s priority list. In spite of an inevitable lull in dawn raid activity during the Covid-19 epidemic, the Commission has remained fully committed to tackling cartels and unannounced inspections are now very much back in force

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    • 28/06/2023
    • News

    The new Horizontal Guidelines

    On 1 June 2023, the European Commission adopted the final version of its new horizontals package, comprising revised Block Exemption Regulations on Research and Development Agreements and Specialisation Agreements and revised Guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements.

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    • 30/03/2022
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis successfully assists Japan Airlines in obtaining the partial annulment by the EU General Court of the readopted EU Commission decision in the airfreight competition case

    In a judgment issued today, the General Court of the European Union partially annulled the European Commission decision of 17 March 2017 fining Japan Airlines, and a number of other airlines, for having entered into arrangements relating to fuel and security surcharges found to be inconsistent with EU competition law. On 16 December 2016, the General Court had totally annulled, on procedural grounds, a Commission decision of 9 November 2010 relating to the same conduct and imposing the same fine. The decision which is the subject of today’s General Court judgment essentially readopted that 9 November 2010 Commission decision. In partially annulling the decision, the General Court upheld Japan Airlines’ argument that the expiry of the limitation period prevented the Commission from finding an infringement in relation to conduct with respect to intra-EEA and EU-Switzerland routes which had ended more than ten years earlier. This partial annulment resulted in the € 35.70 million fine imposed on Japan Airlines by the Commission being reduced to € 28.88 million. Van Bael & Bellis was represented in the proceeding by Jean-François Bellis and Kris Van Hove, partners and Richard Burton, senior counsel. Further details on the case can be found on the EU Court of Justice website.

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