News & Insights

  • 27/02/2019
  • News

Van Bael & Bellis shines in Chambers Global 2019 with top-tier rankings for its EU competition and international trade practices

Van Bael & Bellis has once again achieved outstanding results in Chambers Global 2019, recently published online, where the firm and its lawyers are described in superlative terms by clients and peers. While the firm’s larger teams of EU competition and international trade continue to occupy the top bands, and our head of dispute resolution is “excellent”, our corporate M&A team is once again ranked amongst the top independents in the Brussels market. Our international trade and WTO team receives accolades for being “really sharp” with a “very good reputation” and work that is “strong and robust” and for the lawyers’ ability to “easily understand [clients’] needs, including not only the legal issues but also the commercial aspects. They are very good at finding the best solution considering all aspects of the issue”. Jean-François Bellis “remains a prominent figure in the trade market in Brussels”. Philippe De Baere is “‘an outstanding professional’ with a wealth of experience in the field of trade disputes and customs”. Richard Luff is noted for his expansive experience in the trade law field: both on EU mandates and in WTO trade disputes. Benoît Servais is lauded as being “‘a very strong lawyer’, particularly praising his ability in disputes and noting that ‘he is very strong at the European courts’”. Fabrizio Di Gianni is praised by clients for being “very fast and giving very clear advice” and for his “positive and reasoned approach”. Pablo Muñiz is “very good at reverting to our needs and considering all aspects of the question”, while Yuriy Rudyuk “is described by clients as ‘constructive and inventive’”. The EU competition team receives equally high praise. Jean-François Bellis is “like an encyclopaedia of EU competition and trade law, the best person for the cross-over between trade and competition”. David Hull is a “pragmatic lawyer with a cutting edge understanding of legal developments and regulatory trends, who offers very clear risk-based advice”. Clients appreciate that Andrzej Kmiecik “provides very thorough analysis, but also very pragmatic and practical solutions, and is always attentive to clients’ needs”. Porter Elliott is described as a “true expert in his field who gives very practical advice and is willing to pitch in and participate with the business”. Kris Van Hove is “responsive and does a good job of providing a broad overview but also giving concrete answers”. Clients appreciate that Markus Wellinger is “humble, open to discussions, very supportive and responsive, and is here to help”. Johan Van Acker displays a “really good understanding of [clients’] business and the commercial risk within a short space of time”. Fabrizio Di Gianni and Gabriele Coppo are both listed as Foreign Experts for Italy. Corporate/M&A partner Michel Bonne is described by clients as a “very commercial, efficient lawyer with fast reaction times and good follow-up”. Dispute resolution partner Catherine Longeval is praised for being “excellent, very detail-oriented and responsive”.

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    • 18/03/2019
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Belgian Business Law, Volume 2019, No. 02

    The February 2019 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. Please click below to read the issue.

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    • 12/03/2019
    • News

    Quentin Declève authors article on the consequences of the Court of Justice's judgment in Achmea

    In its judgment in Achmea, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that an investor-State arbitration (ISDS) clause in a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) concluded between two EU Member States is contrary to the principle of the autonomy of the EU legal order (judgment of 6 March 2018, Case C-284/16). In his article, Van Bael & Bellis associate Quentin Declève suggests that the Achmea judgment could have implications for the validity, not only of ISDS clauses in intra-EU BITs, but also of ISDS and applicable law clauses in BITs and other agreements concluded by the EU (or its Member States) with third countries. The article was published (on-line) in the European Papers and is part of a forthcoming issue dedicated to the Achmea judgment. It is accessible here.

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    • 12/03/2019
    • Articles

    Belgium – New legislation in the making on cannabis for medical use

    In light of the growing international scientific consensus on the positive medicinal effects of cannabis, Belgian lawmakers have tabled proposed legislation which, if adopted, would make the use of cannabis for medical purposes legal. A Cannabis Office will be created within the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products which will be in charge of the legal production of medical cannabis, establishing a monopoly for the Belgian State on the cultivation, trade, import and export of that product. Other EU member states already have followed a similar legislative route (e.g. the Netherlands). Following the establishment of the Cannabis Office, a call for tenders will be issued for the cultivation of a certain amount of cannabis. Licences will be granted to the successful applicants to cultivate cannabis in specified locations. The Cannabis Office will purchase the harvest and export and/or distribute it. The manufacturing process will be subject to stringent standards. For example, the cannabis will need to have a stable concentration of the active substance as well as a stable ratio of the main active ingredients, i.e. cannabidiol (CBD) and the main psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The move comes more than three years after the first cannabis-based medicine (Sativex spray) became authorized and reimbursable in Belgium for certain multiple sclerosis (“MS”) patients. If physicians want to prescribe medicinal cannabis to their patients for pain relief, or the treatment of nausea and reduced appetite during chemotherapy, further regulatory changes will be required.

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    • 08/03/2019
    • Articles

    Belgium - Bill Tackles Medicine Shortages

    A number of members of parliament introduced last week a private members’ bill that has the twin objectives of tackling medicine shortages and combating the trade in falsified medicines (bill 54 3599/001 – the “Bill” – see attached). Medicine Shortages The Bill will modify the Law of 25 March 1964 to (i) allow the concept of “temporary cessation of supply of medicines” to be determined by Royal Decree; (ii) allow the Minister to make recommendations of suitable therapeutical alternatives in case of temporary shortages of specific medicines; (iii) preclude wholesalers (“WS”) with a public-service WS status from supplying ordinary WS; and (iv) impose particular shortage-related obligations on parallel traders which previously only applied to the marketing authorisation holders. The proposed ban on public-service WS to supply ordinary WS (and therefore limit their supplies to, broadly, other public-service WS, pharmacists and hospitals) is designed to ensure the steady supply of medicines to the local market and, conversely, cut down on exports that threaten public health. Under specific conditions, the ban will not apply to medicines earmarked for clinical trials. Falsified Medicines The Bill establishes criminal sanctions for specific violations of Regulation 2016/161 which lays down safety features for the packaging of medicines for human use. The current caretaker government no longer commands a majority in the federal Chamber of Representatives. However, the Bill may be assured of an ad hoc majority in that it has already been given a time slot in the session of the committee for public health scheduled on 12 March 2019.

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    • 04/03/2019
    • Articles

    Belgian Competition Authority Will Again Focus on Pharmaceuticals in 2019

    On 1 March 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority published its yearly policy note setting out its enforcement priorities for the year (see attachments). As was the case in previous years, the pharmaceutical sector is one of the BCA’s main targets for action. Once more, the BCA indicates that it deliberately emulates the approach of other national competition authorities in focusing on “all links of the value chain, including prices charged by pharmaceutical firms, competition between distributors with public-service obligations, the competitive dynamics and innovation at the pharmacy level”. Given the pending inquiries in the sector, this announcement again does not come as a surprise. It also reflects the general competition scrutiny of the sector in Europe, as was evidenced by the publication in January 2019 of the Competition Pharmaceutical Enforcement Report by the European Commission (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences Newsflash of 28 January 2019). In other news relevant to the sector, the BCA also confirms its continued attention to public procurement. Apart from the pharmaceutical sector, the BCA will target telecommunications, distribution, service providers and logistics. All in all, this year’s enforcement priorities closely resemble those applying in 2018.

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    • 01/03/2019
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2019, No. 02

    The February 2019 issue of our newsletter, VBB on Competition Law, which covers major developments in competition law at both the European Union and Member State levels.  Click below to view and download the issue.

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    • 27/02/2019
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis shines in Chambers Global 2019 with top-tier rankings for its EU competition and international trade practices

    Van Bael & Bellis has once again achieved outstanding results in Chambers Global 2019, recently published online, where the firm and its lawyers are described in superlative terms by clients and peers. While the firm’s larger teams of EU competition and international trade continue to occupy the top bands, and our head of dispute resolution is “excellent”, our corporate M&A team is once again ranked amongst the top independents in the Brussels market. Our international trade and WTO team receives accolades for being “really sharp” with a “very good reputation” and work that is “strong and robust” and for the lawyers’ ability to “easily understand [clients’] needs, including not only the legal issues but also the commercial aspects. They are very good at finding the best solution considering all aspects of the issue”. Jean-François Bellis “remains a prominent figure in the trade market in Brussels”. Philippe De Baere is “‘an outstanding professional’ with a wealth of experience in the field of trade disputes and customs”. Richard Luff is noted for his expansive experience in the trade law field: both on EU mandates and in WTO trade disputes. Benoît Servais is lauded as being “‘a very strong lawyer’, particularly praising his ability in disputes and noting that ‘he is very strong at the European courts’”. Fabrizio Di Gianni is praised by clients for being “very fast and giving very clear advice” and for his “positive and reasoned approach”. Pablo Muñiz is “very good at reverting to our needs and considering all aspects of the question”, while Yuriy Rudyuk “is described by clients as ‘constructive and inventive’”. The EU competition team receives equally high praise. Jean-François Bellis is “like an encyclopaedia of EU competition and trade law, the best person for the cross-over between trade and competition”. David Hull is a “pragmatic lawyer with a cutting edge understanding of legal developments and regulatory trends, who offers very clear risk-based advice”. Clients appreciate that Andrzej Kmiecik “provides very thorough analysis, but also very pragmatic and practical solutions, and is always attentive to clients’ needs”. Porter Elliott is described as a “true expert in his field who gives very practical advice and is willing to pitch in and participate with the business”. Kris Van Hove is “responsive and does a good job of providing a broad overview but also giving concrete answers”. Clients appreciate that Markus Wellinger is “humble, open to discussions, very supportive and responsive, and is here to help”. Johan Van Acker displays a “really good understanding of [clients’] business and the commercial risk within a short space of time”. Fabrizio Di Gianni and Gabriele Coppo are both listed as Foreign Experts for Italy. Corporate/M&A partner Michel Bonne is described by clients as a “very commercial, efficient lawyer with fast reaction times and good follow-up”. Dispute resolution partner Catherine Longeval is praised for being “excellent, very detail-oriented and responsive”.

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