Public Law: Belgium
THE FIRM This top-tier public law practice receives tremendous praise for its excellent resources and innovative, integrated approach. The team has worked on almost every large-scale public procurement and PPP project in Belgium and is widely recognised as a market leader in this field. A significant highlight saw the team advise the Belgian Federal Buildings Agency on various aspects of the PFI for prisons programme. This is a highly significant PPP project, including aspects of construction, public law and project financing. The team also assisted the Antwerp Port Authority with public procurement issues pertaining to the construction of its new headquarters, which will be finished in 2015.
Sources say: "Stibbe really is number one."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers regard David D'Hooghe as a "star individual" in public and administrative law. He frequently represents Flemish and Belgian governments in prominent litigation cases and lectures in public law at the Catholic University of Leuven. Sources describe him as "an expert in PPP and procurement and one of the main players in public law." France Maussion is particularly active in public tenders, especially in the French-speaking market. She routinely lectures at the University of Brussels, where she has a chair in three different faculties. Peers admire Bruno Lombaert's strength in litigation. He represents clients in diverse proceedings before the Council of State as well as the commercial and civil courts. He also lectures in administrative law at the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis. Clients praise Frederik Vandendriessche as "very solution-driven with a creative approach." He combines a prolific academic profile with considerable expertise in the energy sector.
THE FIRM This firm is a prominent player in large-scale PPP projects and boasts extensive national and international coverage. The team acts for a mixture of public authorities, sponsors and banks on some of the most prominent PPP cases in Belgium and in the EU, and also has considerable strength in compliance issues and energy work. Recent highlights include representing PMV in a triad of important road and transport projects, and advising Macquarie Airports on the environmental, planning, zoning and property aspects of its restructurings. Clients such as Eiffage and DG Infra+ also sought the firm's advice in connection with the Federal Government’s prison PPP project.
Sources say: "The team gives us the service we need; very business-friendly."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources describe Helga Van Peer as one of the finest practitioners in public procurement and PPP projects: "I like everything about working with Helga. She is an expert in her field and is adept at providing advice in a client-friendly manner. She understands what drives our business and is always quick to respond to a query." Gauthier van Thuyne is another valuable member of the team. He is especially noted for his expertise in environmental and human rights law.
THE FIRM Sources commend this firm's outstanding service, highlighting its pragmatic and flexible approach. The team has expanded in recent months and now boasts six partners dedicated to public law. It is notably active in PPP and public procurement cases, and was recently involved in the prison compound PPP project in the Walloon and Flemish regions. The team also secured a highly competitive mandate with the EC in connection with the EUR5.2 million infrastructure procurement for carbon emissions.
Sources say: "Really flexible – the team goes the extra mile."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Bob Martens wins praise for his "no-nonsense approach." He regularly advises clients such as Noriant and BNP Paribas Fortis on high-end PPP projects. Barteld Schutyser earns tremendous market feedback. As one interviewee exclaims, "he's very fast and solution-oriented. He gets back to me day or night and is extremely pleasant to work with." Peers regard Annelies Verlinden as a rising star in public law. She is noted for her expertise in regulatory matters and deep commercial awareness.
THE FIRM This full-service firm is strong in energy and environment law and enjoys an outstanding reputation for contentious issues. The team works in all three Belgian regions, granting it a prominent position in the domestic market. A notable mandate saw the team assist the federal gas and electricity regulator CREG with a variety of implementation matters concerning the EU’s Third Electricity and Gas Directives. The team also advised the regulator on a highly significant regulatory trial in the Belgian electricity market.
Sources say: "A diverse practice in administrative and constitutional law."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers describe Dirk Lindemans as "one of the best litigation lawyers in the country." His broad practice covers environment, zoning and infrastructure, and he often represents public authorities in contentious cases. The "exceptional" Frank Judo is enjoying growing market visibility and is particularly noted for his expertise in constitutional and regulatory law. Clients praise Damien Verhoeven's dedicated and service-driven approach. He covers a broad range of public and administrative law matters, with notable experience in the energy sector.
THE FIRM This firm handles the full range of public law matters and offers a multidisciplinary service thanks to its close integration with the corporate and environment groups. The team is involved in administrative and regulatory files and is able to cater for both French and Dutch-speaking clients. Clients include important names from the public and private sectors, such as the Brussels-Capital Region and Electrabel. The group recently represented the latter in a dispute against Elia and CREG before the Brussels Court of Appeal, in relation to the consequences of a 'Black Start' test.
Sources say: "The team gives high-quality integration and responds rapidly."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Patrick Peeters is "a brilliant lawyer; very straightforward and gives very balanced advice," say clients. He has exceptional experience in administrative and environmental law and also maintains a prolific academic career. François Tulkens draws extensive praise for his business acumen: "He is able to grasp the economic and commercial importance of the issues and takes the time to understand what is best for our company."
THE FIRM This seven-strong team is active in high-end public restructuring projects and also offers expertise in corporate and tax law. The group attracts significant domestic and international clients, who value its strength at both a local and global level. It frequently represents the Belgian government in various corporate and public law matters.
Sources say: "Impressive, precise and concise."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jan Meyers impresses sources with his work for private and government entities, and is especially noted for his skills in privatisation and state aid. Peers regard him as "one of the major players in complex projects." Laurent Ruzette is highly regarded for intricate public financing projects. He recently assisted with the highly significant Diabolo project, which saw the construction of a high-speed rail link to Brussels airport.
THE FIRM This well-respected team handles a diverse range of matters, from public procurement and public economy to environment and healthcare. The firm enjoys a strong presence in Brussels and the francophone regions, and frequently advises the Walloon Region on public and European law. The team further assisted the Belgian administration of aeronautics with a litigation case regarding aircraft noise disturbances in the national airport, and with the drafting of regulation relating to Belgian airports.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Eric Gillet maintains an excellent reputation for public procurement and litigation. He frequently assists government bodies with PPP projects and new public law legislation. Patrick Thiel is a prominent figure in public procurement and draws particular recognition for his publications on the subject.
THE FIRM This practice continues to grow in the market thanks to its highly integrated approach to public law. The team is involved in a number of significant PPP projects including the 'future prisons' project with leading building construction contractors, Cordeel and Willemen. The team also advised OC-ANB, the support agency of the Flemish Forestry Authority, on various projects including the development of onshore windmill parks, the redevelopment of leisure centres and the development of the Zwin nature reserve.
Sources say: "A highly active and dynamic firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Wouter Neven is a key figure in PPP projects and also comes recommended for conveyancing, construction and property development law. Clients include Kairos and Eurostation, which he assisted in their bid for the design, financing and construction of the new Antwerp hospital. Jens Debièvre recently acted for Water.Link in the creation of separate SPVs for its operation. His practice covers administrative and corporate law.
THE FIRM This four-partner team handles various aspects of public and administrative law, such as government contracts and public procurement, PPP projects, permits and licences and government property. The team is also well known for its publications and academic links, with several of the team teaching at local universities.
Sources say: "The team combines theory and practical advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "brilliant" Kaat Leus covers administrative, public and environmental law. She wins praise for her academic outlook and for being "excellent to work with." She lectures on a diverse range of public law courses at the University of Brussels.
THE FIRM This dedicated public, administrative and environmental law boutique has grown considerably over the past year and now boasts an 11-strong team. The team handles important legislation work for the Flemish and federal authorities, especially those in the infrastructure sector. A recent mandate saw the team assist AG Stadsplanning with the large 'Masterplan2020' infrastructure project in Antwerp. Sources are quick to highlight the firm's excellent value for money.
Sources say: "Highly specialised in the public law arena."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dirk Van Heuven specialises in public procurement and mid-sized PPP projects, and regularly advises local authorities on both contentious and non-contentious issues. The venerable Steve Ronse earns praise for his excellent work in local PPP projects. Clients appreciate his proactive approach, saying: "He is pragmatic and really hands-on."
of ALTIUS specialises in regulatory and real estate law. He is often involved in PPP and public procurement projects and is also noted for his activity in the energy sector. Peers regard Carlos De Wolf
of De Wolf Advokatenkantoor (Law Firm De Wolf) as "an excellent lawyer – very notable in the market."
He stands out for his litigation skills and is a prominent figure in public procurement. Eric Van Hooydonk
of Eric Van Hooydonk Lawyers continues to be an important figure in economic administrative and transportation law. He is also noted for his expertise in maritime law and advises many of the country's ports.
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