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Portrait ofBernt Elsner

Bernt Elsner

Partner

Contact
CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz
Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Gauermanngasse 2
1010 Vienna
Austria
Languages English, German
Antitrust, Competition and Trade

Bernt Elsner is a leading expert in the fields of EU competition/antitrust lawpublic procurement law and public law. He was Managing Partner at CMS from 2004 to 2010. He has more than 24 years of professional experience in Vienna and Brussels.

Elsner advises and represents national and international companies in national and European merger control proceedings, especially cross-border mergers, advises on horizontal antitrust law, especially in the area of bidding cartels, vertical distribution structures, abuse control and state aid law. Here's what he hopes to achieve in the antitrust department: “I want to position CMS as the first port of call for companies seeking comprehensive top advice in merger and antitrust proceedings in multiple European jurisdictions.”

Explaining CMS's biggest asset, he says: “The CMS network offers access to more than 150 antitrust experts in 27 countries and thus significantly greater coverage in Europe than any of our competitors. This is particularly important in the case of house searches, because we can support our clients on site at very short notice thanks to our numerous locations.”
 

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"Bernt Elsner is an exceptionally competent and very pleasant partner to work with. His brightness and fantastic way of handling issues and his way of negotiating in an extremely polite, intelligent and firm way is exceptional. When Bernt speaks everybody listens."

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is very wise and pleasant to work with."

Chambers Europe, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is a highly qualified and professional lawyer in public procurement law, always committed to the client’s well-being and the case."

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

‘Thomas Hamerl and Bernt Elsner are outstanding both in legal competence but also in their behaviour towards clients, other advisors and even counterparts. This is true competence!’

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is the mastermind behind the well-coordinated team. He has very fast response times, gives excellent and clear explanations of possible choices and always supports us in making the right choices."

The Legal 500, 2023

"Bernt Elsner is an experienced senior lawyer with remarkable advocacy skills."

Chambers Europe, 2023

"He is very bright and understands abstract facts immediately. He saved the company much money by thinking critical and has deep knowledge of Austrian and EU law. Dr. Elsner is very reliable and easy to reach. If engaged , he does the work himself."

The Legal 500, 2022

Memberships & Roles

Bernt Elsner is head of the Austrian practice groups for public procurement law, EU competition law and public law.

  • Austrian Bar Association
  • Antitrust Law Study Association
  • Austrian Society for Building Law and Construction (ÖGEBAU)
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Awards & Rankings

  • Band 1 in Chambers Europe Ranking 2022: “Excellent practitioner Bernt Elsner is well placed to handle complex procurement and tender procedures while also regularly handling review proceedings. He is also sought after for his cross-border capabilities.”
  • Legal 500 lists him as a “leading individual” in Band 1 (2020, 2021) and describes him as a “very professional and knowledgeable lawyer”, with “excellent understanding in procedural and legal matters” (2021).
  • Chambers & Partners invariably list Bernt Elsner in Band 1, calling him a “brilliant procurement lawyer” (2014) who “remains calm in the face of the storm and focused on the really important issues” (2020).
  • IFLR has awarded him “market leader” in the field of energy and infrastructure (2018, 2019), Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year for European Law” (2019).
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Publications

Bernt Elsner is the author of six specialist books on public procurement law and numerous book contributions and essays, as well as being co-editor of the Zeitschrift für Vergaberecht und Bauvertragsrecht (Journal for Public Procurement Law and Construction Contract Law), the leading Austrian journal on public procurement law.

“Public procurement law is exciting because it places in tension EU law and national law, public and private law, federal and state law, as well as law, technical planning and operational costing. The complexity of large procurement procedures requires a respectful exchange between different professional disciplines, which requires many years of industry experience.”

  • Elsner/Zandler/HoraceckChapter 2: Austria, in Dolmans/Mostyn/Todd (ed.), The Dominance and Monopolies Review11 (2023) 12.
  • Elsner/Zandler/Scharf, The Private Competition Enforcement Review: Austria, in Knable Gotts/Schwartz (eds.), The Private Competition Enforcement Review13 (2022).
  • Elsner/Zandler/Horaceck, Chapter 3: Austria, in Dolmans/Mostyn (eds), The Dominance and Monopolies Review8 (2020) 30.
  • Elsner/Zandler/Wimmer-NistelbergeChapter 4: Austria, in Knable Gotts/Schwartz (Hrsg), The Private Competition Enforcement Review13 (2020) 35.
  • Publisher of the CMS Public Procurement Guide (updated 2019).
  • Vergaberecht, in Bergthaler/Grabenwarter (eds.), Musterhandbuch Öffentliches Recht2 (2014).
  • Federal Procurement Act3 (Manz, 2010)
  • Co-editor of the Journal of Procurement Law and Construction Contract Law (since 2001).
  • The new ÖNORM A 2050 (Linde, 2000).
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Lectures list

Bernt Elsner is an active lecturer on public procurement law topics, at the University of Vienna, at numerous public procurement law conferences and seminars. He was the technical director of the MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law 2019.

  • Annual guest lecturer at the University of Vienna on public procurement law.
  • Expert leader of the annual CMS Public Procurement Forum.
  • Technical Director of the MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law (2019).
  • Regular speaker at Business Circle's annual conference “Vergabeforum”.
  • Regular speaker at ARS and IMH seminars on public procurement law, competition law and compliance issues.
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Education

  • 1996 - Admitted to the Austrian Bar
  • 1993 - Mag. rer. soc. oec., Business Administration, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
  • 1991 - Dr. iur., Law, University of Vienna
  • 1989 - Mag. iur., Law, University of Vienna
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Public Procurement

Bernt Elsner is a partner and head of the Austrian practice groups for public procurement law, EU competition law and public law. He is a leading expert in the fields of public procurement law, EU competition/antitrust law and public law. He was Managing Partner at CMS from 2004 to 2010. He has more than 24 years of professional experience in Vienna and Brussels.

Elsner is one of Austria’s leading experts in the dynamic and constantly changing field of public procurement law. His publications and lectures have had a decisive influence on Austrian public procurement law.

Bernt Elsner defines his goals as head of the global CMS Public Procurement practice group as follows: “I want to position CMS as the first port of call for companies seeking comprehensive top advice for tenders in several European jurisdictions.”

“The aim of public procurement law is to provide fair rules for competition that allow contracting authorities to identify the offer with the best value for money. The best solution is the right combination of whole life costs, environmental impact and a sustainable outcome for future generations.”

Elsner advises public contracting authorities on the structuring of complex tenders, advises bidders on their participation in procurement procedures, especially public-private partnerships (PPP projects), and represents them in procurement law disputes. He has extensive experience in tender-related compliance issues. He also has in-depth experience in the construction and infrastructure sectors, healthcare, and the financial, energy and climate change sectors.

Elsner studied law at the University of Vienna and business administration at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. In 1993/94 he worked as a research assistant at the Austrian Constitutional Court for the constitutional judges Prof. Dr. Karl Spielbüchler and Prof. Dr. Karl Korinek. In 1997, he practised European competition law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Brussels. 

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"Bernt Elsner is an exceptionally competent and very pleasant partner to work with. His brightness and fantastic way of handling issues and his way of negotiating in an extremely polite, intelligent and firm way is exceptional. When Bernt speaks everybody listens."

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is very wise and pleasant to work with."

Chambers Europe, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is a highly qualified and professional lawyer in public procurement law, always committed to the client’s well-being and the case."

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is an experienced senior lawyer with remarkable advocacy skills."

Chambers Europe, 2023

‘Thomas Hamerl and Bernt Elsner are outstanding both in legal competence but also in their behaviour towards clients, other advisors and even counterparts. This is true competence!’

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is highly qualified and knowledgeable in all public procurement matters. But further to that, he has an excellent understanding of legal procedures.”

The Legal 500, 2021

"Bernt Elsner is the mastermind behind the well-coordinated team. He has very fast response times, gives excellent and clear explanations of possible choices and always supports us in making the right choices."

The Legal 500, 2023

"He is very bright and understands abstract facts immediately. He saved the company much money by thinking critical and has deep knowledge of Austrian and EU law. Dr. Elsner is very reliable and easy to reach. If engaged , he does the work himself."

The Legal 500, 2022

Memberships & Roles

Bernt Elsner is head of the Austrian practice groups for public procurement law, EU competition law and public law.

  • Austrian Bar Association
  • Antitrust Law Study Association
  • Austrian Society for Building Law and Construction (ÖGEBAU)
more less

Awards & Rankings

  • Band 1 in Chambers Europe Ranking 2022: “Excellent practitioner Bernt Elsner is well placed to handle complex procurement and tender procedures while also regularly handling review proceedings. He is also sought after for his cross-border capabilities.”
  • Legal 500 lists him as a “leading individual” in Band 1 (2020, 2021) and describes him as a “very professional and knowledgeable lawyer”, with “excellent understanding in procedural and legal matters” (2021).
  • Chambers & Partners invariably list Bernt Elsner in Band 1, calling him a “brilliant procurement lawyer” (2014) who “remains calm in the face of the storm and focused on the really important issues” (2020).
  • IFLR has awarded him “market leader” in the field of energy and infrastructure (2018, 2019), Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year for European Law” (2019).
more less

Publications

Bernt Elsner is the author of six specialist books on public procurement law and numerous book contributions and essays, as well as being co-editor of the Zeitschrift für Vergaberecht und Bauvertragsrecht (Journal for Public Procurement Law and Construction Contract Law), the leading Austrian journal on public procurement law.

“Public procurement law is exciting because it places in tension EU law and national law, public and private law, federal and state law, as well as law, technical planning and operational costing. The complexity of large procurement procedures requires a respectful exchange between different professional disciplines, which requires many years of industry experience.”

  • Elsner/Zandler/HoraceckChapter 2: Austria, in Dolmans/Mostyn/Todd (ed.), The Dominance and Monopolies Review11 (2023) 12.
  • Elsner/Zandler/Scharf, The Private Competition Enforcement Review: Austria, in Knable Gotts/Schwartz (eds.), The Private Competition Enforcement Review13 (2022).
  • Elsner/Zandler/Horaceck, Chapter 3: Austria, in Dolmans/Mostyn (eds), The Dominance and Monopolies Review8 (2020) 30.
  • Elsner/Zandler/Wimmer-NistelbergeChapter 4: Austria, in Knable Gotts/Schwartz (Hrsg), The Private Competition Enforcement Review13 (2020) 35.
  • Publisher of the CMS Public Procurement Guide (updated 2019).
  • Vergaberecht, in Bergthaler/Grabenwarter (eds.), Musterhandbuch Öffentliches Recht2 (2014).
  • Federal Procurement Act3 (Manz, 2010)
  • Co-editor of the Journal of Procurement Law and Construction Contract Law (since 2001).
  • The new ÖNORM A 2050 (Linde, 2000).
more less

Lectures list

Bernt Elsner is an active lecturer on public procurement law topics, at the University of Vienna, at numerous public procurement law conferences and seminars. He was the technical director of the MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law 2019.

  • Annual guest lecturer at the University of Vienna on public procurement law.
  • Expert leader of the annual CMS Public Procurement Forum.
  • Technical Director of the MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law (2019).
  • Regular speaker at Business Circle's annual conference “Vergabeforum”.
  • Regular speaker at ARS and IMH seminars on public procurement law, competition law and compliance issues.
more less

Education

  • 1996 - Admitted to the Austrian Bar
  • 1993 - Mag. rer. soc. oec., Business Administration, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
  • 1991 - Dr. iur., Law, University of Vienna
  • 1989 - Mag. iur., Law, University of Vienna
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Public Law

Bernt Elsner is a leading expert in public law, public procurement law and EU competition/antitrust law. He was Managing Partner at CMS from 2004 to 2010. He has more than 24 years of professional experience in Vienna and Brussels.

As a former research assistant at the Austrian Constitutional Court, he has specific experience and expertise in public law matters. He represents clients before various authorities, the Federal and Provincial Administrative Courts, the Constitutional Court, the Administrative Court and the European Courts.

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"Bernt Elsner is an exceptionally competent and very pleasant partner to work with. His brightness and fantastic way of handling issues and his way of negotiating in an extremely polite, intelligent and firm way is exceptional. When Bernt speaks everybody listens."

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is very wise and pleasant to work with."

Chambers Europe, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is a highly qualified and professional lawyer in public procurement law, always committed to the client’s well-being and the case."

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is the mastermind behind the well-coordinated team. He has very fast response times, gives excellent and clear explanations of possible choices and always supports us in making the right choices."

The Legal 500, 2023

‘Thomas Hamerl and Bernt Elsner are outstanding both in legal competence but also in their behaviour towards clients, other advisors and even counterparts. This is true competence!’

The Legal 500 EMEA, 2024

"Bernt Elsner is an experienced senior lawyer with remarkable advocacy skills."

Chambers Europe, 2023

"He is very bright and understands abstract facts immediately. He saved the company much money by thinking critical and has deep knowledge of Austrian and EU law. Dr. Elsner is very reliable and easy to reach. If engaged , he does the work himself."

The Legal 500, 2022

Memberships & Roles

Bernt Elsner is head of the Austrian practice groups for public procurement law, EU competition law and public law.

  • Austrian Bar Association
  • Antitrust Law Study Association
  • Austrian Society for Building Law and Construction (ÖGEBAU)
more less

Awards & Rankings

  • Band 1 in Chambers Europe Ranking 2022: “Excellent practitioner Bernt Elsner is well placed to handle complex procurement and tender procedures while also regularly handling review proceedings. He is also sought after for his cross-border capabilities.”
  • Legal 500 lists him as a “leading individual” in Band 1 (2020, 2021) and describes him as a “very professional and knowledgeable lawyer”, with “excellent understanding in procedural and legal matters” (2021).
  • Chambers & Partners invariably list Bernt Elsner in Band 1, calling him a “brilliant procurement lawyer” (2014) who “remains calm in the face of the storm and focused on the really important issues” (2020).
  • IFLR has awarded him “market leader” in the field of energy and infrastructure (2018, 2019), Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year for European Law” (2019).
more less

Publications

Bernt Elsner is the author of six specialist books on public procurement law and numerous book contributions and essays, as well as being co-editor of the Zeitschrift für Vergaberecht und Bauvertragsrecht (Journal for Public Procurement Law and Construction Contract Law), the leading Austrian journal on public procurement law.

“Public procurement law is exciting because it places in tension EU law and national law, public and private law, federal and state law, as well as law, technical planning and operational costing. The complexity of large procurement procedures requires a respectful exchange between different professional disciplines, which requires many years of industry experience.”

  • Elsner/Zandler/HoraceckChapter 2: Austria, in Dolmans/Mostyn/Todd (ed.), The Dominance and Monopolies Review11 (2023) 12.
  • Elsner/Zandler/Scharf, The Private Competition Enforcement Review: Austria, in Knable Gotts/Schwartz (eds.), The Private Competition Enforcement Review13 (2022).
  • Elsner/Zandler/Horaceck, Chapter 3: Austria, in Dolmans/Mostyn (eds), The Dominance and Monopolies Review8 (2020) 30.
  • Elsner/Zandler/Wimmer-NistelbergeChapter 4: Austria, in Knable Gotts/Schwartz (Hrsg), The Private Competition Enforcement Review13 (2020) 35.
  • Publisher of the CMS Public Procurement Guide (updated 2019).
  • Vergaberecht, in Bergthaler/Grabenwarter (eds.), Musterhandbuch Öffentliches Recht2 (2014).
  • Federal Procurement Act3 (Manz, 2010)
  • Co-editor of the Journal of Procurement Law and Construction Contract Law (since 2001).
  • The new ÖNORM A 2050 (Linde, 2000).
more less

Lectures list

Bernt Elsner is an active lecturer on public procurement law topics, at the University of Vienna, at numerous public procurement law conferences and seminars. He was the technical director of the MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law 2019.

  • Annual guest lecturer at the University of Vienna on public procurement law.
  • Expert leader of the annual CMS Public Procurement Forum.
  • Technical Director of the MANZ Annual Conference on Public Procurement Law (2019).
  • Regular speaker at Business Circle's annual conference “Vergabeforum”.
  • Regular speaker at ARS and IMH seminars on public procurement law, competition law and compliance issues.
more less

Education

  • 1996 - Admitted to the Austrian Bar
  • 1993 - Mag. rer. soc. oec., Business Administration, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
  • 1991 - Dr. iur., Law, University of Vienna
  • 1989 - Mag. iur., Law, University of Vienna
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On the Pulse Webinar Series 2023 - Autumn
On the Pulse webinar series brings you updates on the latest legal and commercial developments in the life sciences & healthcare sector. The Autumn edition will see our CMS sector specialists cover: Commercial - Deal landscape and transaction trends in the Life Sciences SectorDispute Resolution - The midnight clause: why choice of law and jurisdiction clauses matterPublic Procurement - Typical pitfalls to be avoided in a procurement process for pharma and medical devices suppliesequIP - Pitfalls for life sciences start-ups to avoidEach webinar will be one hour in length with a 15-minute Q&A session. To register for the full series or just the topics of interest to you, click on the registration links below. To watch the Spring webinars in the On the Pulse series, visit here.
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Anlässlich des Erscheinens des Handbuchs „Ver­gaberecht“ (Manz-Verlag) laden die Autor:innen zum Kur­z­sem­in­ar über brennende Fra­gen im Vergaberecht und zur anschließenden Buch­präsent­a­tion ein.   Die fünf Autor:innen Ruth Bittner, Bernt Elsner, Thomas Hamerl, Robert Keisler und Florian Kromer werden als „Kostprobe“ für das vorliegende Handbuch jeweils ein besonders aktuelles und praxisrelevantes Thema an­s­prechen.   Das Handbuch vermittelt den Leser:innen das österreichische Vergaberecht auf 448 Seiten übersichtlich und praxisnah. 3.575 Fußnoten weisen zu Fundstellen in den nationalen und europäischen Gesetzen, Ge­set­zes­ma­ter­i­ali­en sowie Entscheidungen der europäischen und nationalen Gerichte und Behörden. In einem Musterteil werden praxistaugliche Musterdokumente, Leitfäden und eine Toolbox zur Verfügung ges­tellt.   Tauchen Sie ein in die (Un-)Tiefen des Vergaberechts!
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We are delighted to announce that the 8th CMS Public Procurement Forum will take place in Oslo on Thursday, 22 September 2022 from 12:45 - 17:30 p.m. CET providing an update on European public procurement law. The programme will cover policy developments in the EU and recent and important decisions from the ECJ with high relevance in practice. In the second part of the event, we invite you to a comparative view sharing experiences from several jurisdictions on two topics with practical rel­ev­ance:decim­al­possible damages claims andtime limits and cut off for claims. The conference will be held in English and free of charge. There will be the possibility to participate remotely for anyone interested in these topics, but unable to attend in person. 
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CMS Public Procurement Contact Card
World-class public procurement specialists The quality of public services is increasingly determined by world-class skills in public procurement. The procurement regime applies not only to the public...
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The Dominance and Monopolies Review: Austria
The Austrian competition team has provided a comprehensive review of the most recent developments in the field of abuse of dominance in Austria as part of the 10th edition of the Dominance and Monopolies Review. In this chapter Bernt Elsner, Partner and Head of Austria and CEE Competition PAG,  Dieter Zandler, Co-Head of the Austrian competition practice group, and Vanessa Horaceck, Associate in the Austrian competition practice group cover the distinct characteristics of Austrian antitrust law and provide an overview of the most prominent cases in the past years. Readers can familiarise themselves with the recent practice of the Austrian FCA and courts in the field of abuse of a dominant market position, as for example in the OGH’s ruling against Peugeot Austria GmbH or the case against Merck Sharp & Dohme GmbH, who allegedly abused a dominant position through their predatory pricing of a drug used to treat brain tumours. Also worth reading is an overview of the most important final decisions in abuse proceedings before the Austrian cartel courts in recent years, most of which were initiated by private plaintiffs. The entire article is available here. Our CMS experts will be happy to answer any questions on this topic.
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