European law

Over the years, the influence of European law on our national legislation has gradually increased. Areas such as agriculture, trade and transport were already affected heavily, but legislation now also has a direct impact on the lives of civilians as it touches legal areas such as migration, criminal law and family law. European Law (or Union Law) is now found in legal fields and sectors hitherto unaffected.

Pels Rijcken employs attorneys who have closely follow and stay on top of these developments and they know Brussels' procedures and how to play by the EU's institutional rules. They carefully examine the meaning of the Union's legislation and are quick to see where there is room at the national level for additional or deviant measures.

In our advisory practice, state aid is one of the focal points. Where a proposed measure involves government guarantees for housing corporations, saving banks or drafting a partnership agreement for an area development project, the question of whether this measure is "state aid-proof" always arises. We have public sector clients and increasingly act on behalf of provincial authorities and large municipalities. A recurrent question that arises in our advice practice is how to safeguard certain public interests when acting within the  state aid framework. There,Pels Rijcken's attorneys always manage to provide their clients with concrete solutions.

Pels Rijcken EU law specialists spend most of their time litigating before both administrative courts as well as the civil courts, handling cases that range from transport concessions to food safety. The most fundamental cases the team handles are those in which the court is requested to test national legislation against European Treaty provisions such as free movement of capital. Dealing with this wide variety of lawsuits has also reinforced the broad focus of the team's advisory practice.


  • "Excellent and strong team with a good mix of more experienced senior lawyers and very talented younger lawyers.", Chambers Europe 2021
  • "I feel in very good hands with them, and particularly underlines that the lawyers are "very experienced and you see that. They come in with their own ideas proactively and explain their strategies.", Chambers Europe 2020
  • "Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV’s excellent and pragmatic team has a significant practice representing private clients in cartel damages proceedings, merger filings and advisory work, as well as government representation.", Legal 500 2019
  • "Clients value the firm's very broad knowledge of EU law.", Chambers Europe 2019
  • "Sources also emphasise that the team's advice is "quick, efficient and very useful.", Chambers Europe 2019
  • "The team is very hands-on and has specialised expertise in all relevant fields.", Chambers Europe 2018
  • "Pels Rijcken's extremely competent, very responsive' team is fun to work with", Legal 500 2018
  • "Clients are very enthusiastic about the firm, stating: They were outstanding - their co-operation with us is close and cost-effective.", Chambers Europe 2017
  • "The team did a great job, was quick, responsive and really to the point. It is our preferred firm for state aid questions.", Chambers Europe 2016
  • "The overall level of service is really outstanding. The advice is given within extremely short time limits and takes into account the political background of the case.", Chambers Europe 2016