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.


  • "Trustworthy and solid in its work." - Chambers Europe 2022
  • "The firm's lawyers have tons of experience in competition litigation and are very knowledgeable of the process." - Chambers Europe 2022
  • "Pels Rijcken is widely-recognised for its strength in court litigation involving a wide range of EU and competition issues.", "The firm has a particularly strong reputation in state aid cases and it is also highly regarded for its involvement in cartel damages actions.", "Pels provides calm support on the spot with relevant legal knowledge and proactive suggestions that go further than the principal matter at hand. The key distinguishing characteristic of Pels is that they really have adapted their approach on legal matters to the modern age. Instead of supplying only legal theoretical surveys, they take a practical approach taking into account the day-to-day business of my organization. So there is a clear link between a solid legal foundation and options on how to act. Fantastic!", "Dedicated and well-informed team. Willingness to think a long while case develops.", "The practice is unique because it has all the in-house expertise needed for providing full-service legal advice to the public sector. If necessary, a team of lawyers will be put together. The Pels Rijcken lawyers are also renowned for their expertise and have an excellent reputation in the academic field.", "The team displays a hands-on mentality when it comes to advising the client. It doesn’t matter whether the case is complex or not. Every case gets the attention it needs. They carefully dissect the issues at hand and provide practical solutions." The Legal 500, 2022
  • "Excellent and strong team with a good mix of more experienced senior lawyers and very talented younger lawyers.", Chambers Europe 2021