Belgian firm taps into post-Brexit market with London opening

A major Belgian firm is to open an office in London this September to advise business on the implications of Brexit.

Brussels-based Van Bael & Bellis will open premises on Chancery Lane on 1 September, subject to approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The office will focus on international trade and customs law, UK and EU competition law, and public international law, and hopes to fill a gap in the market left by Brexit.

The firm will target companies and government bodies involved in trade disputes and competition cases which involve UK regulatory authorities and courts, alongside representation in the EU.

The office will be led by senior partner David Hull, managing partner Philippe De Baere and partner Alex Stratakis, who will join from international firm Baker McKenzie.

Alex Stratakis finals-1

De Baere said: ‘Companies will increasingly need advice on the implications of the UK exiting the EU and how to mitigate any negative effects on their supply chains. Also, foreign direct investment/national security screening in the UK is set to become more rigorous and complex following recent changes to the Enterprise Act.

‘A similar phenomenon is happening in the EU where new trade instruments are being developed to ensure that its companies can benefit from a level playing field. With regards to international trade, the UK will require representation as it becomes directly involved as a party in WTO dispute settlement proceedings. Our substantial and unparalleled experience in the field of trade and customs law means we will be ideally placed to provide advice on such matters.’