A leading Brussels law firm is preparing to open an office in London in September to “fill a gap” following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Van Bael & Bellis will open the branch in Chancery Lane, subject to the approval of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), with a focus on international trade and customs law, competition law and public international law.
Brexit means companies and government entities involved in trade disputes or competition cases will have to deal with the UK regulatory authorities and the courts, alongside representation in the EU.
The firm’s senior partner David Hull said: “For competition work, companies will be required to manage both EU and UK regulatory requirements and this will be particularly important for mergers.
“Consequently, transferable expertise will be essential and, as one of Brussels’ largest competition teams, we are well positioned to advise international companies on the EU and UK interplay and offer them a one-stop shop.”
The new office will be led by Hull as well as Alex Stratakis, and the firm’s managing partner Philippe De Baere who 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.
He added: “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”, he commented, “where new trade instruments are being developed to ensure that its companies can benefit from a level playing field.”