2018: “CMS advises airports and airlines on a range of state aid and competition law issues. Recent work includes advising Montpellier Airport on the European Commission’s investigation into alleged aid granted to Ryanair. Swissport is another key client, for which the team has been handling litigation concerning the granting of licences to provide ground handling services, along with a stream of corporate and commercial issues. The ‘proactive and creative’ Annabelle Lepièce leads the team, which includes experienced associate Hanne Baeyens.”

Banking, finance and capital markets

2018: “CMS is particularly active in real estate and acquisition finance and is also noted for its capital markets expertise. In recent work, counsel Benoît Vandervelde advised Deutsche Bank on the €100m bonds issuance by SPGE. Arnaud Van Oekel and Bruno Duquesne are the key partners.”

2017: “CMS often represents major banks and investors but also works for large companies such as biotech firm Curetis, which was advised regarding its IPO on Euronext Amsterdam and Brussels. Bruno Duquesne and Benoît Vandervelde are department co-heads along with Arnaud Van Oekel, who has ‘excellent negotiation skills’.”

2016: “CMS is ‘superb in financing’, where it acts as counsel for major banks and investors – representing Degroof Bank and Octo Finances in a Belgo-French bond issuance was a case in point. Arnaud Van Oekel and Bruno Duquesne head the practice, which includes recently promoted counsel Benoît Vandervelde, who ‘rapidly grasps a complex transaction’.”

2015: “CMS ‘compares extremely well’ with other firms in banking and finance [...] The team assisted Synlab Holding with the restatement of a EUR 740m syndicated credit facility. Arnaud Van Oekel co-heads the practice with Bruno Duquesne."

2014: “Property finance expert Bruno Duquesne advised Aareal as lender and arranger on the refinancing of the Belair construction project."

2013: “CMS provides ‘a good quality of service in banking law’. The team recently advised the Delhaize Group, Belgium’s largest food retailer, on Euronext Brussels and NYSE listings. Bruno Duquesne has expertise in property and structured finance."

2012: “CMS DeBacker demonstrates business acumen, industry knowledge and the ability to negotiate multi-party agreements. The team recently advised longstanding client Crédit Agricole on financing its acquisition of Centea Bank from KBC. Bruno Duquesne is a key contact, noted for his ‘ability to find solutions without deteriorating his client’s position’."

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s client base includes Crédit Agricole and Keytrade Bank, for whom the team acted on the acquisition of the Belgian private banking and internet activities of Kaupthing. It also assisted in a rare real estate acquisition financing for Westimmo in a €70m deal, and undertakes a broad diet of transactional work for ING, Bank of America and Commerzbank."


2018: “CMS’ merger with Olswang boosted its competition practice through the arrival of Dirk Van Liedekerke, whose experience covers an expansive range of merger clearance, investigations, compliance issues and litigation. Annabelle Lepièce is also a key contact and has ‘a practical and pragmatic approach’. Recent work includes advising AMP, as a subsidiary of Lagardère Travel Retail, on its acquisition by bpost.”

2017: “Annabelle Lepièce is the primary contact at CMS, which is instructed by private and public sector clients in cartel investigations, merger control, state aid and abuse of dominance cases. Lepièce is representing Delhaize Group in litigation against MasterCard concerning interchange fees on card payments.”

2016: “CMS’ workload includes state aid (including matters for the Belgian competition authorities), abuse of dominance complaints and cartel investigations. Annabelle Lepièce successfully advised Swissport Belgium on the Belgian Competition Authority’s investigation into cargo-handling services offered to airlines at Brussels Airport.”

2011: "CMS DeBacker’s Annabelle Lepièce handles cases before the Belgian Competition Council, and against the European Commission. Clients include the Walloon and Brussels regional governments.”

Commercial, Corporate and M&A

2018: “‘Good all-round firm’ CMS has a highly regarded corporate department, which is ‘very committed’ and ‘very responsive’. Recent highlights include advising Burger King on the potential acquisition of Belgium fast food chain Quick, and assisting ABN Amro Lease with a cross-border merger with Dutch entity ABN Amro Lease NV. Key practitioners include practice head Vincent Dirckx, ‘outstanding lawyer’ Arnaud Van OekelStéphane Collin and senior associate David Prync.

2017: “CMS has ‘significant experience’ in the corporate and M&A space, where Lampiris, LafargeHolcim and Burger King are key clients. Vincent Dirckx heads the practice, which advised Delhaize on all Belgian aspects of its cross-border merger with Royal Ahold.”

2016: “CMS is ‘quick on the ball’ in corporate and M&A-related matters. The team advised steel manufacturer NLMK on a major business reorganisation and assisted Burger King with setting up a Belgian joint venture. The ‘up-and-coming’ Arnaud Van Oekel is noted and Vincent Dirckx heads the practice.”

2015: "CMS acted for MetLife regarding the sale of its Belgian branch by [to] Nord Europe Assurances. Another highlight was advising German insurer Talanx on Belgian law in connection with the merger with its Belgian subsidiary HDI Gerling. Vincent Dirckx heads the practice, which also includes the recommended Stéphane Collin.”

2014: “Vincent Dirckx heads the practice at CMS, which advises a diverse client base across a range of local and cross-border corporate matters including public and private M&A. Arnaud Van Oekel advised synlab Holding on the acquisition of Laboratoire Dr. Collard. Other clients include Delhaize Group and Orchestra-Prémaman.”

2013: “Vincent Dirckx heads CMS’ ‘business-minded team’, which provides ‘practical solutions’ and ‘great responsiveness’. Recently promoted partner Arnaud Van Oekel advised Orchestra-Kazibao on its takeover of distressed Belgian baby products retailer Prémaman, including the consequent integration and reorganisation. The ‘always solution-oriented’ Cedric Guyot is also recommended.”

2012: “One of the most qualified and outstanding firms in the market’, CMS DeBacker acted on several high-profile M&A mandates in 2011 including advising Delhaize on the €935m takeover of Delta Maxi, and assisting Crédit Agricole on its €527m acquisition of Centea. The ‘business-driven’ Vincent Dirckx leads the team, and Carl Leermakers and Stéphane Collin are also recommended.”

2011: “The new team head at CMS DeBacker, Vincent Dirckx, has applied energy to his team’s work, winning instructions from Delhaize Group, Belgium’s largest food retailer, and local restructuring for Fujifilm, courier services provider Link2Biz and American Express. Cedric Guyot is recommended.”

Dispute resolution

2018: “Among CMS’ recent caseload, counsel Marie Canivet successfully represented Medicare-Market in a case brought by Ordre des Pharmaciens, the Association Pharmaceutique Belge and several pharmacies challenging its economic model. IP specialist Renaud Dupont heads the department.”

2017: “CMS has a specialist arbitration team, which is led by counsel Marie Canivet, and also fields sector-focused litigators, whose expertise spans industries such as media, insurance and retail. Overall department head Renaud Dupont represented AMP in litigation over the termination of a parcel delivery agreement with Mondial Relay.”

2016: “Renaud Dupont’s team at CMS combines expertise in business law with knowledge of insurance, competition and IP. Alexis Hallemans represented Dutch company HDD Group in a trade mark infringement case against a Belgian fitness chain.”

2015: “CMS’ recent mandates span corporate, commercial, insurance, IP and public procurement. The firm is currently representing Protteram in its dispute with Carlsberg Import arising from the termination of a distribution contract. Renaud Dupont heads the team.

2014: “Renaud Dupont heads the team at CMS, which represented global brewer AB InBev in a dispute between its brand Jupiler and competitor Maes regarding the use of blue labelling. It is also advising food retailer Delhaize Group in a damages claim against MasterCard relating to its transaction fees, which were ruled illegal by the EC (on appeal).”

2013: “CMS’ practice is ‘really pleasant to work with’, and provides ‘great responsiveness and practical solutions.’ It covers the spectrum of commercial disputes with particular strength in IP litigation, for which Renaud Dupont is the name to note. Jean-François Goffin has extensive experience in shareholders’ disputes, ‘hands-on lawyer’ Tom Heremans is an ‘experienced’ litigator, and the ‘solution-oriented’ Cedric Guyot is also recommended.”

2012: “CMS DeBacker covers all types of business law disputes, but also has a strong reputation for IP litigation, where Jean-François Goffin and Renaud Dupont recently represented Meura, a producer of processing equipment for breweries, in patent litigation against an international beer brewer.”

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s Cedric Guyot and Jean-François Goffin have been busy with IP-related trademark litigation, commercial agency and distribution claims, commercial arbitrations, as well as extensive shareholder litigation and financial misselling actions. Clients include BNP Paribas.”


2018: “‘Top choice for sensitive files’, CMS’ group impresses with its ‘quick responses and solutions’. Practice head Gaël Chuffart, who is ‘authoritative and knowledgeable’, advised Toyota on a restructuring involving several dismissals. The newly promoted Sophie Berg provides ‘commercial and spot-on advice’ and Jef Degrauwe is also recommended.”

2017: “Practice head Gaël Chuffart ‘leads by example’ at CMS, which assists with domestic and cross-border corporate reorganisations and collective dismissals, as well as giving day-to-day advice on contracts and salaries, among other matters. Sophie Berg, who made associate partner, specialises in domestic and cross-border transfers of personnel. Jef Degrauwe is another key individual.”

2016: “CMS focuses on collective dismissals and closures, transfer of personnel, harmonisation of work conditions, employment housekeeping, and strategic HR advice. Gaël Chuffart heads the department, which recently advised US company Alltech on the closure of a production site for animal feed supplements.”

2015: “CMS advises on national and international transfers, strategic human resources advice, and collective dismissals and closures. The team assisted Lagardère Belgium’s press distribution subsidiary AMP during the closure of a division. Gaël Chuffart now heads the practice.

2014: "CMS’ broad practice has been kept busy with restructurings, collective dismissals and site closures, including advising DP World on the restructuring of its Belgian operations. Practice head Michaël De Leersnyder has a wealth of experience in employment and social security law. Jef Degrauwe and senior associate Sophie Berg are also recommended."

2013: "CMS shows ‘deep and global knowledge’ of human resources and is praised for its responsiveness and flexibility. ‘Expert in the field’ Michaël De Leersnyder advised AMP on business reorganisation, including the collective dismissal of more than 10% of its employees and negotiations with the authorities to obtain authorisation to lower the early retirement age. Associate partner Gaël Chuffart is ‘professional, reliable and pragmatic’."

2012: "Practice head Michaël De Leersnyder and managing partner Stanislas van Wassenhove are the key figures in CMS DeBacker’s ‘very good’ employment team; both have a strong focus on collective labour law. Also recommended, Jef Degrauwe advised Crédit Agricole on employment aspects of its acquisition of Centea Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of KBC Group, which involved due diligence and assisting with integration."

2011: "CMS DeBacker’s Stanislas van Wassenhove had a busy year advising senior executives following the global downturn. His colleagues have been no less busy, with numerous reorganisations involving difficult negotiations- (including on lowering retirement ages), as well as temporary measures to avoid unemployment; all of which involved unions, and some dismissals. The team has also been involved in cross-border mergers, with post-merger harmonisation of employment terms. Clients include Lloyds Development Capital."


2017: “Ivan-Serge Brouhns and Thomas Hauzeur are key contacts at CMS, handling contentious and non-contentious matters involving environmental taxes, water pollution, as well as emissions permits and compliance, among other areas. Recent work includes representing a Brussels commune in proceedings concerning the introduction of new flight routes over Brussels.”

2016: “Recently promoted to counsel and senior associate respectively, Ivan-Serge Brouhns and Thomas Hauzeur lead the team at CMS [...] Brouhns handles areas such as soil remediation and waste, while Hauzeur deals with the interplay between public real estate and environmental law.”

Information technology and Telecoms

2018: “CMS’ team ‘has excellent knowledge in Belgian and EU telecom and data privacy matters’ and provides ‘pragmatic advice with the business perspective in mind’. The group has recently been acting for Proximus in appeals against various decisions of the telecoms regulator. Other clients include Facebook, Amazon Web Services and Swift. ‘Excellent’ practice head Tom De Cordier ‘provides comprehensive regulatory and business advice’. Dirk Van Liedekerke specialises in EU law and telecoms. Associates Anne-Michèle Goris and Adrien van den Branden are also recommended.”

2017: “CMS’ combined IT and IP group is ‘strong both technically and legally’, fielding lawyers who ‘know every trick in the book’. The firm represented Mobistar and BASE in proceedings before the Belgian Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Practice head Tom De Cordier ‘thinks strategically’ and Alexis Hallemans is very responsive. Tom Heremans is another key figure.”

2016: “CMS’ integrated IT and IP team mainly handles matters regarding domain names, internet marketing, e-commerce, and data privacy. A key client is the ‘.eu’ domain name registry EURid, which was represented in arbitration proceedings before the Czech Arbitration Court. Practice head Tom HeremansRenaud Dupont and Alexis Hallemans are the key partners.”

2015: “CMS’ integrated IP/TMT department assists its clients with issues regarding data privacy, e-commerce, internet marketing and domain names. Clients include media companies, software firms and telecoms companies. Practice head Tom HeremansRenaud Dupont and Veerle Raus are the names to note.”

2014: “CMS has enjoyed a steady flow of work in IT for a notable client base. The firm has extensive experience advising on domain name issues, internet marketing, e-commerce, data protection and privacy matters. Tom Heremans and Renaud Dupont are the key partners and counsel Veerle Raus is also recommended.”

2013: “CMS’ IT disputes experts succesfully represented Deckers Snoeck in a case against Business Software Alliance before the Court of Appeal of Antwerp. The team is also acting in various domain name cases, as well as e-commerce and data privacy matters. Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are recommended.”

2012: “CMS DeBacker’s practice has been busy with work relating to domain names, AdWords, internet marketing and e-commerce. The group recently advised domain name registry EURid in a dispute with a Chinese individual who unlawfully registered 10,000 domain names. Practice head Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are recommended.”

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s lawyers have seen IT-related cases in the Belgian appeals and Supreme Court, and significant volumes of first instance cases on domain name infringement against cyber-squatters. The team advised on a competition app for Facebook, and represented a long-standing client over an argument between two leading brewers, as to alleged infringement of an iPhone app. Tom Heremans is recommended.”

Insolvency and restructuring

2018: “At CMS, the team has ‘a decisive, practical and business-like’ approach and the ability to ‘consider the continuity of the business at all times’. Practice head Jean-François Goffin recently advised Idempapers on its judicial reorganisation. On the creditor side, Goffin is advising Namur Invest on Promomed’s bankruptcy proceedings.”

2017: “CMS’ court litigation expertise includes shareholder disputes and directors’ liabilities cases arising from distressed situations, judicial reorganisations and debt restructuring. Jean-François Goffin heads the team, which includes Stéphane Collin, Carl Leermakers and senior associate Grégory de Sauvage.”

2016: “Jean-François Goffin heads the department at CMS, which handles pure insolvency and restructuring mandates as well as ‘soft’ restructuring as part of corporate realignment. The team often works in tandem with the firm’s employment practice.”

2015: “CMS’ team attracts a steady flow of restructuring and insolvency matters, and co-operates closely with colleagues in the employment practice. Jean-François Goffin is the key figure in the team, which mainly acts for public bodies and Belgian and international companies.

Intellectual Property

2018: “CMS represents companies in highly regulated sectors, including TMT, chemicals, food and beverage and pharmaceutical. The IP team covers patents, copyrights and trade marks, with ancillary expertise in anti-counterfeiting and customs actions. Tom Heremans heads the department; Renaud Dupont and Tom De Cordier are also active members of the team.”

2017: “The IP attorneys at CMS are ‘on the ball’ and ‘among Belgium’s foremost specialists in the field’. Highlights included advising retailer Colruyt in proceedings against Chiara Boni before the Brussels Court of Appeal regarding the trade mark for its private label, Boni Selection. Practice head Tom Heremans gives ‘hands-on advice’.”

2016: “CMS is known for its ‘deep IP knowledge and good network’. Highlights included representing fashion company Orchestra-Prémaman regarding the alleged use of the tap and arcuate trade marks of Levi Strauss on its jeans. Practice head Tom Heremans is valued for his ‘hands-on approach’, and Alexis Hallemans is ‘a quick thinker’. Tom De Cordier joined from Allen & Overy LLP.”

2015: “CMS successfully represented Proterram in litigation with Carlsberg Import in connection with a dispute about the distribution of La Ramée special beer. Tom Heremans is the head of department."

2014: “CMS’ broad practice represented AMP (a subsidiary of Lagardère Belgium) in a copyright dispute with sports magazine, Photonews. Tom Heremans and Renaud Dupont are the key contacts."

2013: “CMS ‘knows the industry well and responds swiftly’. Renaud Dupont led the team in succesfully defending French watchmaker CMC diffusion against counterfeiting claims brought by Ice Watch. The ‘experienced’ Tom Heremans and the ‘knowledgeable’ Veerle Raus are also recommended, as is senior associate Alexis Hallemans."

2012: “CMS DeBacker recently represented steel producer Duferco in patent litigation against TPS Group and acted for international football associations FIFA and UEFA in various trade mark matters. Tom Heremans is a key contact, and is affiliated with a number of IP bodies such as the Benelux Trademark Association (of which he became president in 2011) and the Belgian Intellectual Property Council. Veerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are also recommended."

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s Tom Heremans and Veerle Raus are recommended figures, with particular strengths in tradebmark and copyright law, especially in ambush marketing and counterfeiting cases, including those in relation to the recent World Cup. It acted for a leading paper towel manufacturer on whether refills of other brands of paper, dispensed from the manufacturer’s dispensers, can count as a trade mark infringement."

Media and entertainment

2018: “CMS has a good track record handling M&A and commercial and IP litigation for sports and media companies; it also benefits from the firm’s extensive European office network in EU-wide matters. Key practitioners in the multi-disciplinary team are Tom HeremansTom De Cordier and Renaud Dupont.”

2017: “CMS’ combined IP/TMT team represented telemarketing company Link2Biz before the Belgian competition authorities in a case against Bpost regarding an abuse of dominant market position. Tom Heremans, Tom De Cordier, Alexis Hallemans and Renaud Dupont are the key contacts.”

2016: “The IP/TMT team at CMS handles a large number of matters for clients in the media sector; recently, it acted for TV Vlaanderen and M7 Group against Bhaalu in an IP-related lawsuit. Tom HeremansAlexis Hallemans and Renaud Dupont are the names to note.”

2015: "CMS’ TMT practice represented the Flemish media company Medialaan. Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are the names to note.”

2014: "CMS’ technology, media and telecoms department is a core area for the firm and it receives a steady flow of work from high-profile clients including AB InBev and Diageo. Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are the key partners.”

2013: "CMS remains active across the sector and advises the M7 Group on copyright and media law relating to satellite broadcasting. The key partners are Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont.”

2012: "Recent work for CMS DeBacker includes acting for M7 Group in a Court of Appeal case against the collecting societies, relating to a royalties claim for the alleged retransmission of broadcasting signals via the ASTRA satellite. Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are noteworthy practitioners.”

Privacy and Data Protection

2018: “At CMS, the ‘responsive and pragmatic’ team excels in multinational data protection compliance projects and also handles local data protection work, security breaches and data transfers. Department head Tom De Cordier has ‘in-depth knowledge and business understanding’ and is assisting McCain with GDPR compliance across its European business.”

2017: “Tom De Cordier leads CMS’ team, which handles data security breaches, data protection policy reviews and cross-border data transfers. Recent highlights include advising Randstad on a global GDPR compliance project.”

Real Estate and Construction

2018: “At CMS, the real estate group’s ‘local experience, connections and insights are invaluable’ and it is also highlighted for offering ‘good value for money’. Transactional real estate and property finance are among the team’s areas of expertise. In addition, its urban planning and environmental law capabilities were strengthened by the arrival of counsel Gregory Verhelst in 2016 from a Belgian firm. Pierre-Axel Chabot is active in the hotels industry. Bruno Duquesne is also recommended.”

2017: “Clients appreciate the ‘accuracy and speed’ of advice provided by CMS, which acted for Unibail-Rodamco on all tax aspects of Project Neo, a planned mixed-use urban regeneration project in Brussels. Practice head Bruno Duquesne is a property finance expert and Pierre-Axel Chabot is also recommended.”

2016: “CMS advises on all areas of real estate and construction law, including transactions, financing, planning and litigation. Recent work includes assisting real estate company Banimmo with a €44m private bond issuance. Practice head Bruno Duquesne is an expert in property finance.”

2015: “CMS advised a consortium made up of Unibail Rodamco, Besix and CFE on all real estate and tax aspects of the consortium’s bid to redevelop the multi-purpose Heysel Exhibition site. Practice head Bruno Duquesne focuses on real estate finance.”

2014: “CMS advised Terrebois, the private equity and real estate investment arm of Unibra, on the acquisition of a real estate company from real estate investment fund Internos. Department head Bruno Duquesne is recognised for his expertise in property finance [...] and Pierre-Axel Chabot is also recommended.”

2013: “CMS’ ‘proactive and knowledgeable’ practice advises on real estate investment, financing, developments and litigation, as well as PPPs, environment and tax matters. Pierre-Axel Chabot has ‘excellent negotiation skills’, and practice head Bruno Duquesne and senior associate Stacey Smits are also recommended.”

2012: “CMS DeBacker’s ‘whole team is very proactive’, and ‘understands its clients’ businesses and imperatives’. The group recently advised KBC and ING on financing a €120m property investment by Banimmo. Pierre-Axel Chabot has ‘excellent industry knowledge and gives concise to-the-point advice’, and practice head Bruno Duquesne is also recommended.”

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s head of practice Bruno Duquesne and the team received instructions from Westimmo, on a €70m financing of the acquisition of a newly developed built-to-suit office building in Brussels. It also assisted the city government of Brussels with a framework for the redevelopment of a derelict industrial area, and has acted for Brussels Harbour. RBS is a lender client. Pierre-Axel Chabot is also recommended.”


2018: “CMS has experience in the gamut of taxation matters, covering direct and indirect tax. It regularly advises its multinational clients on the tax aspects of real estate and corporate transactions. Olivier Querinjean and real estate tax expert Didier Grégoire are the names to note.”

2017: “CMS has ‘excellent knowledge of all tax-related issues’, and there are ‘no nasty surprises regarding fees’. Airbus, Toyota and UBS are active clients. Department head Olivier Querinjean is ‘a good communicator’, with key support coming from real estate tax specialist Didier Grégoire.”

2016: “CMS gives high-quality tax advice in relation to mergers, restructurings, transfer pricing, and structured finance. Head of department Olivier Querinjean ‘gets straight to the point’, Didier Grégoire specialises in real estate tax law.”

2015: “CMS’ practice head Olivier Querinjean has substantial experience in the tax aspects of restructurings, mergers, transfer pricing and structured finance, while Didier Grégoire focuses on real estate-related tax issues. The team has been advising Unibail-Rodamco on the NEO Brussels development project.”

2014: “CMS maintains a good practice with a steady flow of tax work, including advising Orchestra-Kazibao on the integration and reorganisation of Prémaman. Practice head Didier Grégoire is an expert in real estate taxation. Olivier Querinjean advises on the tax aspects of M&A, restructurings, transfer pricing, and structured finance.”

2013: “CMS’ ‘very good’ team is led by Didier Grégoire, who specialises in real estate tax matters and is praised for his ‘ability to adapt to the needs of a customer’. The ‘reliable and available’ Olivier Querinjean focuses on tax aspects of M&A, restructurings, structured financings, transfer pricing, and international tax agreements.”

2012: “CMS DeBacker’s tax department does a ‘very good job at anticipating key issues and delivering practical and quick answers’. The team includes Didier Grégoire, who has a particular focus on real estate tax issues, and Lievin De Wulf, who handles international tax advisory, transactional and contentious mandates. De Wulf recently advised Lombard International Assurances, Luxembourg’s largest life insurer, on tax implications of proposed amendments to the EU Savings Directive.”

2011: “CMS DeBacker provides tax services across a wide range of industry sectors. Practice head Didier Grégoire is a recognised real estate tax expert, especially on the VAT treatment of shopping malls, although his work has included cinemas and developers. Lievin De Wulf advised a large Benelux life insurance provider on the impact of the EU savings directive. Cross-border advice on withholding taxes is also a speciality.”