We assist companies in the fields of corporate law, commercial law, real estate law, labor law, business criminal law and economic immigration law.
European sanctions (restrictive measures)
Restrictive measures or ‘sanctions’ are an essential tool of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). They are used by the EU as part of an integrated and comprehensive policy approach, involving political dialogue, complementary efforts, and the use of other instruments at its disposal.
Key objectives when adopting sanctions
– safeguarding EU’s values, fundamental interests, and security
– preserving peace
– consolidating and supporting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law
– preventing conflicts and strengthening international security
Sanctions seek to change the policy or conduct of those targeted, with a view to promoting the objectives of the CFSP. They can target:
– governments of non-EU countries because of their policies
– entities (companies) providing the means to conduct the targeted policies
– groups or organizations such as terrorist groups
– individuals supporting the targeted policies, involved in terrorist activities, etc.
It should be noted that the implementation of such sanctions must always comply with EU law, both at listing and at periodic review.
The Court of Justice of the European Union has already recalled that “The European Union is based on the rule of law, inasmuch as neither its Member States nor its institutions can avoid review of the conformity of their acts with the basic constitutional charter, the EU and the FEU Treaties, the latter having established a complete system of legal remedies and procedures designed to enable the Court of Justice of the European Union to review the legality of acts of the institutions ” and that “generally, the EU judicature must, in accordance with the powers conferred on it by the FEU Treaty, ensure the review, in principle the full review, of the lawfulness of all EU acts in the light of the fundamental rights forming an integral part of the EU legal order.”
In the field of European sanctions, the Court has held that “The effectiveness of the judicial review guaranteed by Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights requires in particular that the EU judicature is to ensure that the decision by which restrictive measures were adopted or maintained, which affects the person or entity concerned individually, is taken on a sufficiently solid factual basis. That entails verification of the factual allegations in the summary of reasons underpinning that decision, with the consequence that judicial review cannot be restricted to an assessment of the cogency in the abstract of the reasons relied on, but must concern whether those reasons or, at the very least, one of those reasons, deemed sufficient in itself to support that decision, is substantiated”
If a sanctioned person were to lodge an application for annulment, and the Council of the EU fails to establish that the reasons relied on against the person concerned are well founded, the Court shall annul the decision to include or maintain the person concerned on the list of sanctioned persons.
In addition, the person who has been wrongfully sanctioned may claim compensation for damages, provided that the conditions for engaging the extra-contractual liability of the Union are satisfied. (To see the conditions, refer to our article here)
In this regard, we pioneered claims for such compensation for one of our clients whose success before the Court of Justice of the European Union (Grand Chamber) have set the benchmark for compensation in EU sanction cases (C-45/15 P, Safa Nicu Sepahan/Council)
We can advise you in all areas of tax law: corporate income tax, personal income tax, personal property tax, VAT, registration and inheritance tax, taxation of company directors, local taxes.
Thus, we regularly:
- Advise companies, managers, and individuals in all their decisions with tax implications.
- Represent and protect our clients during tax audits and before the country’s courts in the context of tax litigation.
- Analyze the tax implications of restructuring operations, with or without requests for tax rulings.
- Advise shareholders on the tax aspects of the transfer of their company.
- Propose tax-optimized solutions in the context of our estate planning activities.
Company and association law is the branch of private law that studies legal persons. It includes all the rules applicable to the creation, operation and possible liquidation of companies and associations. This branch of law is also interested in the relationships between the actors of legal entities (notably the shareholders, members, and directors) and those that the latter have with third parties.
We support Belgian and foreign legal persons wishing to develop their activities in our country at all stages of their development while protecting their interests in the event of litigation.
S-Team lawyers and their experts support and advise, among other aspects of corporate law, with:
- Constitution of Belgian companies or associations;
- Creation of branches of foreign companies;
- Operations on the capital and issues of securities such as the reduction and increase of capital and the sale of shares;
- Shareholders’ agreements;
- Mergers, demergers, joint-ventures and other corporate restructurings;
- Dissolutions and liquidations of companies;
- Corporate legal secretariat;
- Disputes in company law, such as disputes between shareholders (action for the forced repurchase of securities or action for withdrawal), or disputes relating to the responsibilities and duties of directors,
- Advice on various issues related to the Companies and Associations Code (CSA) and other specific company law regulations.
Where appropriate, our lawyers can also advise you in cases where your company is faced with insolvency law, as governed by book 20 of the Code of Economic Law. Thus, we regularly intervene in bankruptcy or judicial reorganization (PRJ) proceedings on behalf of creditors or debtors.
We provide legal support to enterprises (legal or natural law doing business) in the context of the opportunities or difficulties they may encounter in carrying out their activities with their partners, customers, or competitors. Thus, we ensure, among other things:
- Management of disputes between enterprises;
- Assistance in the context of market practices and consumer protection;
- Proactive advice for the structuring of the activities of our entrepreneur clients;
- Drafting or auditing of national and international contracts including the main distribution contracts such as distributorships, commercial agency, commission, license, franchise or, more generally, commercial partnership contracts;
- Debt collection, both in Belgium and abroad;
- Support in the negotiation and conclusion of commercial transactions;
- Creation and drafting of tailor-made general conditions.
Real Estate Law
Real estate law is a branch of law that governs legal issues relating to real estate. It therefore intervenes when real estate is in question, whether it is its sale, rental, and more generally any legal act, disposal or administration.
In real estate law, our lawyers intervene on behalf of national or international investors, owners, tenants, contractors, architects, real estate agents, public authorities and other players in the real estate sector in the following non-exhaustive areas:
- The acquisition of real estate;
- Questions specific to real estate promotions drawn from the application of the Breyne law (Loi Breyne);
- The negotiation and drafting of commercial leases, office leases, main residence leases, precarious occupancy agreements or even operating concession agreements;
- Drafting of construction agreements and public-private partnership contributions;
- Issues of co-ownership law;
- The rules governing the regulated activities of real estate agents, architects, promoters and property dealers; in particular with regard to their liability;
- Management of disputes specific to real estate law before state or arbitral tribunals.
Employment law is the set of legal rules applicable to relations between private employers and employees in the workplace.
It governs professional working relations between the employer and the employee individually and the collective of employees.
As these rules become ever more complex, meeting your obligations as an employer has never been so difficult. However, their violation can be costly, both financially and reputational. Our lawyers intervene at two levels: advice (I) and litigation (II).
In order to prevent possible disputes, we advise you in all areas of employment law and, particularly in the context of:
- Future layoffs that you are responsible for or that you are undergoing;
- Social aspects inherent in business buyouts and transfers;
- The conclusion and execution of employment contracts, work regulations and employment policies in matters of sexual or moral harassment, or other forms of violence at work;
- Drawing up and / or concluding collaboration contracts with independent service providers;
- Regulations prohibiting the illegal provision of salaried personnel and “bogus self-employed persons”;
- Prior information and consultation obligations of the social bodies (union delegation, committee for prevention and protection at work or works council).
We defend our clients in numerous social disputes, particularly in matters of:
- Dismissal and notice periods;
- Dismissal for serious reasons (motif grave);
- Compensation in lieu of notice;
- Compensation for manifestly unreasonable dismissal;
- Protection against dismissal;
- Medical force majeure or “medical C4”;
- Disruptive equipollent acts;
- Pay and scale regularization;
- Sexual or moral harassment and/or discrimination at work;
- Complaints for other acts punishable by legislation relating to well-being at work.
We also represent you before the criminal courts against the labor auditor in the event that your company is prosecuted for social criminal law offenses likely to result in your conviction to fines – criminal or administrative – or, for more serious offenses, to terms of imprisonment. Our lawyers can also assist you during social inspections and represent you vis-à-vis the social inspection.
Among the criminal offenses of social law commonly accused are the unlawful provision of workers, the undeclared employment of workers, the employment of foreign staff in an irregular situation, the violation of the rules relating to the safety and well-being of workers, harassment (moral or sexual) and discrimination at work, non-payment of workers’ remuneration, and non-advertising of part-time schedules.
Business Criminal Law
Business criminal law covers, on the one hand, criminal offenses specific to the conduct of business and, on the other hand, rules of economic law liable to be penalized.
Thus, it includes common law offenses (theft, swindling, breach of trust, corruption, money laundering, forgery and use of forgery, etc.) and specific offenses, in particular with regard to:
- Company law (increase in contributions in kind, abuse of corporate assets, etc.);
- Competition law (cartel, abuse of a dominant position, etc.);
- Consumer law (misleading advertising, etc.);
- Stock market law (insider trading, etc.).
Compliance with business criminal law is ensured in part by the criminal courts and in part by independent administrative authorities, such as the Financial Information Processing Unit (CTIF) or the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA).
Our lawyers have developed a particular expertise in this area and regularly assist legal entities, business leaders, and other senior executives.
Economic Immigration Law
Economic Immigration Law covers all the rules governing the exercise by foreigners of a salaried or self-employed activity on Belgian territory. We carry out on behalf of companies, all the steps involved in obtaining work permits for their non-EU employees and professional cards for the self-employed.
Since December 24, 2018, third-country nationals wishing to work as an employee for a period of more than 90 days in Belgium, and who do not benefit from an exemption from a work permit, must obtain a single permit from the competent region. A single permit application includes both a work permit application and a residence application.
A non-European foreign entrepreneur wishing to work in Belgium as an independent professional must obtain an authorization in the form of a professional card. Criminal sanctions may be applied when the business operations continue without the legally required professional card.
Intellectual property includes all intellectual works: inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, names used in commerce, appellations of origin, geographical indications, etc. In the field of intellectual property law, our lawyers act for companies and individuals in the following non-exhaustive areas:
– Civil and criminal proceedings in matters of counterfeiting
– Drafting and negotiation of research and development agreements
– Drafting and negotiating technology licensing agreements
– Definition of a strategy for the protection of know-how and technical inventions
– Definition of a trademark and trade name strategy
– Drafting and negotiating coexistence agreements between similar or identical trademarks
– Mediation between two rights holders or between a rights holder and a person accused of infringement
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to processes and techniques for resolving disputes outside of litigation.
We assist you in the following ADR processes:
Our community includes lawyers trained in principled negotiation, a negotiation technique originally developed by Harvard University, which maximizes the chances of reaching an agreement
Mediation is a form of negotiation in which the parties call upon a trained third party who is independent, neutral, and impartial.
Through various specific techniques, this third party helps the parties to re-establish dialogue, overcome their reluctance, deal with the conflict in depth and devise creative solutions in order to reach a tailor-made agreement.
Our lawyers accompany individuals and companies through the mediation process, providing legal and strategic support. We furthermore have a certified mediator in the person of Pierre Bruwier.
Conciliation is the form of negotiation in which a magistrate tries to reconcile the parties, if necessary, by formulating concrete proposals.
If the conciliation fails and the parties go to court, the judge who will be called upon to decide the dispute cannot be the same judge who had previously tried to conciliate the parties. Our lawyers accompany individuals and companies in the conciliation process, offering them legal and strategic support.