Law firm Stibbe in Brussels appoints five new Counsel
21/01/2022

The Brussels office of law firm Stibbe has promoted Bastiaan Schelstraete (Environment & Planning), Stefanie François (Environment & Planning), David Verwaerde (Dispute Resolution), Lizelotte De Maeyer (Tax) and Pieter-Jan Leemen (Banking & Finance) to Counsel effective as of 1 January 2022. The new appointments demonstrate Stibbe’s ongoing commitment to promoting in-house talent to strengthen its practices.

We are pleased to announce that Stibbe Brussels has appointed five new Counsel: environment and planning specialists Bastiaan Schelstraete and Stefanie François, criminal law expert David Verwaerde, tax law specialist Lizelotte De Maeyer, and banking and finance expert Pieter-Jan Leemen.

Stibbe’s Environment & Planning team is known for its broadly developed practice, including advisory, legislative, litigation and transactional work for companies and public authorities. Bastiaan Schelstraete advises clients on the implementation of major (re)development and infrastructure projects as well as complex permit and contamination issues. He has a particular interest in the legal framework for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). In the area of dispute resolution, Bastiaan has extensive experience in proceedings before the Council of State, the Council for Permit Disputes and the civil courts. In addition, he is a member of the editorial team for various law journals focusing on environmental law and town and country planning, and has published several articles on these topics.

Stefanie François (Environment & Planning) has a strong expertise in all matters regarding EU environmental regulations in general and has a particular interest in issues relating to nature conservation, waste, soil contamination and Environmental Impact Assessments. She is well-versed in complex (re)development, infrastructure and energy projects. Her vast experience in this scope of matters is also reflected in her ability to litigate before national civil and administrative courts, the Constitutional Court, and the European Court of Justice. In addition, Stefanie is very skilled in drafting legislative texts and regulations for various authorities. She is the author of various publications on environmental law and town and country planning, and a regular guest speaker at seminars on spatial planning and its regulations.

David Verwaerde (Dispute Resolution) focuses on white-collar crimes such as money-laundering, tax fraud, embezzlement, bankruptcy offenses, computer fraud, insider trading, market abuse, urban and environment crimes, and violation of trade secrets. He also has a particular expertise in anti-money laundering (AML). David’s promotion to Counsel will contribute to the further expansion of Stibbe’s Corporate Fraud and Criminal Law practice. As Counsel, David will assist clients with complex criminal inquiries and litigation, the set-up of compliance programs, ABC policies and the implementation of AML legislation.

Lizelotte De Maeyer (Tax) has vast experience in tax litigation before administrative and judicial courts regarding a wide range of tax matters. She has a particular focus on tax procedure and the relationship between tax and privacy legislation. Lizelotte’s appointment to Counsel will further expand Stibbe’s tax litigation practice, which is an essential part of our firm’s tax law services. In addition to her tax litigation work, Lizelotte is very skilled in advising clients on tax matters, particularly in the field of corporate reorganisations and (transactional) real estate. She regularly assists clients with seeking tax rulings. Lizelotte is also one of the thriving forces of the team’s estate planning practice and often advises on the use of Belgian civil companies and certification vehicles as well as estate planning in general. She is the author of several publications on corporate tax law and tax procedures, and a regular guest speaker at seminars.

Pieter-Jan Leemen (Banking & Finance) assists financial institutions, companies and governments with Belgian and international financial transactions, particularly those relating to syndicated loans, takeover financing, restructurings, real estate financing, and project financing. Together with Stibbe’s corporate and real estate teams, Pieter-Jan will further strengthen our relationships with private equity funds, banks, direct lenders and real estate funds/developers.                                                             

Wouter Ghijsels, Managing Partner of Stibbe Brussels, says: “I would like to congratulate Bastiaan, Stefanie, David, Lizelotte and Pieter-Jan on this important achievement in their careers. The promotions of these talented lawyers are the result of their exceptional expertise and dedication to providing our clients with the highest quality of service. These appointments also demonstrate our commitment to the development of our people and the future success of our business as we continue to strengthen our practices.”

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