Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law
Kris van Hove
Office:
Glaverbel Building
Chaussée de la Hulpe 166 Terhulpsesteenweg
B-1170
City:
Brussels
Country:
Belgium
Tel:
+32 2 647 7350
Fax:
+32 2 640 6499

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Competition: Lawyers

Kris Van Hove has been practising competition law for close to 25 years at Van Bael & Bellis, where he has been a partner since 2001. His practice covers all aspects of competition law, with particular expertise in cartels, merger control, dominant market positions, distribution, technology transfer and litigation before EU and national courts. Kris’s notable experience includes the appeals to the EU General Court which led to the annulment of respective Commission decisions in CISAC and Airfreight.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE. 

A captivating journey that started in January 1993 and brought me to discover a great variety of businesses and trades. It has given me opportunities to meet with inspiring people from very different backgrounds and to travel extensively.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN COMPETITION LAW? 

Competition law is a fascinating, dynamic field of law, at the crossroads of law and economics, in constant development and branching out into nearly every aspect of today’s economy.

YOU HAVE MAINTAINED A BROAD PRACTICE ENCOMPASSING MANY SECTORS. TO WHAT EXTENT IS SECTOR-SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE IMPORTANT WHEN HANDLING DIFFERENT CASES? 

The main advantage of a broad practice is the cross-fertilisation of ideas and solutions for problems
that arise in different sectors and protects against a myopic approach.

ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES BEING FACED BY COMPETITION LAWYERS IN EUROPE? 

Increased globalisation of trade and industry coupled with the proliferation of competition law throughout the world means that most matters of significance require a multi-jurisdictional assessment. Not surprisingly then, the challenge for any competition lawyer today (in Europe or elsewhere) is staying abreast of developments not just in one’s own jurisdiction but in jurisdictions worldwide and to develop solutions that take account of the requirements of the applicable laws concerned.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PRACTICE DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS? 

I see my practice developing in tandem with the primary forces driving the development of the field in general: the expansion of private enforcement throughout Europe, diversification in global enforcement and increased merger control.

WHAT QUALITIES MAKE A SUCCESSFUL COMPETITION LAW LITIGATOR? 

Leaving no stone untouched without losing focus of what the dispute is about and being open to creative strategies.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER LAWYERS LOOKING TO SPECIALISE IN THIS AREA? 

Be curious and inquisitive; try to develop a practical, solution-oriented mindset; have a keen interest in law and economics; and foremost always listen to the needs and wishes of the client.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE MATTER YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH DURING YOUR CAREER SO FAR? 

I have had the privilege to work on a great variety of complex cases but CISAC is probably the most memorable one given the motions it went through. Our client, CISAC, the international association of collecting societies, was alleged by the EU Commission to have orchestrated illegal concertation among its European members. The case involved 25 parties on the defence side, which required a lot of coordination. It proceeded with multiple filings, a very large and long administrative hearing, attempts to settle and the adoption of a prohibition decision. The case was ultimately resolved in court when the EU’s General Court annulled the Commission’s decision on substantive grounds.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Competition: Lawyers

Kris Van Hove is a partner in Van Bael & Bellis’ Brussels office. His main areas of practice are EU and national competition law and EU aviation law. He specialises in all aspects of competition law, with particular expertise in cartels, merger control, dominant market positions, distribution and technology transfer, as well as EU aviation law. He handles notifications and investigations as well as litigation before European and national courts.

Kris’ notable experience includes achieving an exceptional result from the EU’s General Court by obtaining, on substantive grounds, the annulment of the principal part of the European Commission’s decision in CISAC (2013). He also has extensive experience in representing clients in cartel defence cases, including representation in leniency and settlement proceedings and litigation before the courts. He led the team that assisted one of the parties in the Commission’s first-ever direct settlement case (DRAM). Since then, he has been involved in several other settlement procedures (such as automotive bearings) and standard procedures (such as smart-card chips). Most recently, as counsel for Japan Airlines, he was instrumental in securing a landmark victory when the EU General Court overturned the Commission’s 2010 decision in the Air Cargo case, resulting in the annulment of Japan Airlines’ €35.7 million fine.

His practice covers a wide variety of sectors, including, but not limited to, car parts, aviation, consumer products, basic industries, steel, energy, chemicals, construction equipment, building materials, electronics, music, and information and communications technology.

Kris is a sought-after speaker who has given several lectures and presentations around the world on competition law matters, including before the ICN. He is recognised as a leading expert in his field by all major legal directories, including Chambers Global, Chambers Europe, The Legal 500, Global Competition Review’s GCR 100, Expert Guides and Best Lawyers.

Kris completed his LLM at Duke University. He holds a postgraduate degree in European Law from the Sorbonne (Paris II) and a degree in law from the University of Leuven (KUL). He is a member of the Brussels Bar.

WWL says: Kris van Hove is an eminent name in the market and is recognised for his outstanding performance in merger control matters and cartel defence proceedings. One source describes him as a “rising star in the Van Bael & Bellis practice”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Competition which can be purchased from our Shop.

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