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UPDATES

NEW EUROPEAN INSOLVENCY REGULATION WILL BE APPLICABLE SOON

23.6.2017

The recast European Insolvency Regulation replaces the current Regulation of 2000 and will be applicable on cross boarder insolvency procedures opened after June 26, 2017.

The new rules address the main shortcomings of the old Regulation and endeavor to contribute to a more efficient settlement of cross boarder insolvency procedures.

We highlight the main changes in this update.

  • The pre-insolvency procedure and hybrid procedure fall from now on (and more than before) within the material scope of the Regulation. These are the procedures aimed at safeguarding undertakings in financial difficulties through restructuring. For Belgium, this implies an expansion to all procedures of judicial reorganization including the amicable settlement.
  • The key concepts “centre of main interests” (COMI) and “establishment” that determine the competent court, are being clarified.
  • The Regulation entails an improved coordination between main and secondary insolvency proceedings. Secondary proceedings do not need to be a liquidation procedure anymore, which will facilitate the maintenance of the going-concern of a cross-border establishment.
  • Procedural simplification is introduced by the so-called “synthetic proceedings”, whereby the rights of foreign creditors will be protected in the main insolvency proceeding, as if a secondary proceeding were opened.
  • The member states are obliged to create an electronic register for insolvency proceedings in which the information concerning the insolvency procedure will be published. Afterwards, the different national registers will be linked via a central European e-justice portal, which gives the national judges and creditors from different member states the possibility to access all relevant information. In Belgium, the REGSOL is in the meantime up and running.
  • Lastly, this Regulation also lays down rules on the coordination of insolvency proceedings that are related to several members of the same group of companies. The aim of which is to make the efficient and combined settlement of insolvency procedures possible.

The new Insolvency Regulation works out and builds upon the experience Europe gained the past 15 years, especially with regard to the insolvency of subsidiaries of a group of companies. By creating a framework for coordination, the chances of a smooth settlement of a complex international insolvency proceeding are being increased. Contact?

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CORPORATE AND TECHNOLOGY PARTNER STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER MODERATES STARTUP LAW CLINIC WORKSHOP AT THE 2017 ITECHLAW WORLD TECHNOLOGY LAW CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO

20.6.2017

Partner Steven De Schrijver of Astrea, along with Principal Attorney Charles Lee Mudd Jr. of Chicago law firm Mudd Law, has moderated the interactive workshop “Startup Law Clinic” during the 2017 ITechLaw World Technology Law Conference which took place in Chicago from 3 to 5 May 2017. Panelists included the founders of 2 Chicago startups: Jimi Allen of Bureau Gravity (www.bureaugravity.com) (and Dr. Steven Lee of Opternative (www.opternative.com).

The workshop proactively discussed the specific needs of startup companies by combining both legal and entrepreneurial points of view on dealing with legal issues related to startups and structuring law firm engagements in a way that is mutually beneficially to lawyers and their entrepreneur clients. The attorneys on the panel described their experience of working with startups and provided an overview of a wide range of issues that tend to come up for startups, whereas the entrepreneurs on the panel described their respective startups and explained how they each dealt with law firms and legal issues as their respective businesses evolved.

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STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER RECEIVES WHO'S WHO LEGAL GLOBAL IT LAWYER OF THE YEAR AWARD AT AWARD CEREMONY IN LONDON

20.6.2017

Astrea Partner Steven De Schrijver was recognised by Who's Who Legal as the Global IT Lawyer of the Year at the 4th Annual Who’s Who Legal Awards ceremony.

Since 1996 Who's Who Legal has identified the foremost legal practitioners in multiple areas of business law. In total, this site features over 17,000 of the world's leading private practice lawyers from over 100 national jurisdictions. Who's Who Legal is published by Law Business Research Limited.

Every year Who’s Who Legal issues awards to the individuals and firms that have performed exceptionally well in their research. During this year’s ceremony, which took place at Plaisterers' Hall in London on Monday 15 May, the individual and firm winners from 34 practice areas were celebrated.

This is the third time Steven De Schrijver has received the Global IT Lawyer of the Year award, having also received the award in 2012 and 2014.

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STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER CONTRIBUTES ARTICLE ON "THE RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN: THE CURRENT AND FUTURE LEGAL FRAMEWORK” TO THE EXPERT GUIDES WEBSITE

26.4.2017

Astrea corporate and technology partner Steven De Schrijver has contributed an article entitled “The right to be forgotten: the current and future legal framework” to the Information Technology section of the Expert Guides website (www.expertguides.com).

Expert Guides has been researching the world's legal market for over 20 years and has become one of the most trusted resources for international buyers of legal services.

Its guides cover a broad — and growing — range of legal practice areas.

You can read the full article through the following link: The right to be forgotten - the current and future legal framework

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ASTREA RANKED AGAIN IN LEGAL 500 (EDITION 2017)

19.4.2017

Legal 500 yearly lists the leading law firms from around the world. This legal directory uses input from participating law firms, feedback from clients and peer reviews to select the most outstanding lawyers and law firms by specialty and by region.

Astrea is delighted to be listed again in Legal 500 (Edition 2017) with several honourable and some new rankings.

This recognition for the quality of our services stimulates us to continue further improving our services together with our clients.

The team of Dieter Veestraeten is ranked for the first time in its practice area Banking, Finance and Capital Markets in Band 4. Legal 500 writes: ‘diligent and responsive’ team mainly represents borrowers in their banking and finance needs, but also assists financial institutions. Practice head Dieter Veestraeten is recommended.

The teams of Louis Verstraeten and Marc Van Looveren are also ranked for the first time in their practice area Insolvency and Restructuring in Band 3. Legal 500 writes: Astrea’s team, which includes Louis Verstraeten and Marc Van Looveren, handles domestic judicial reorganisation proceedings for Belgian SME’s, and cross-border or group insolvencies for multinational companies. The firm also acts for creditors and foreign insolvency administrators. The team represented BHP Billiton in a landmark case concerning the effects of a foreign insolvency on assets which are attached in Belgium.

The teams of Frédéric Verspreeuwen and Steven De Schrijver maintained their ranking in their practice area Commercial, Corporate and M&A in Band 5. Legal 500 writes: ‘very accessible’ team of corporate attorneys routinely advise multinational companies, start-ups, venture capital investors and private equity firms. Recent work includes advising Belgian brewery Martens on a transaction with Unibra and Far Eastern Corporation. Frédéric Verspreeuwen and Steven De Schrijver are practice co-heads.

The teams of Steven De Schrijver and Pieter Paepe maintained their ranking in their practice area IT and Telecoms in Band 4. Legal 500 writes: Astrea’s lawyers are ‘responsive, sophisticated and strategic in their approach’. The team has specialist expertise in ICD and online gaming, handling technology transactions and advising on data privacy and outsourcing issues. Microsoft and Invenso are key clients. Steven De Schrijver ‘has been active in the IT industry for many years’. Pieter Paepe was appointed as junior partner.

Finally, the teams of Marc Van Looveren and Louis Verstraeten are ranked in their practice area Transport (which now assembles both Shipping and Aviation) in Band 2. Legal 500 writes: Astrea shows ‘permanent excellence’ in shipping and transport law, ‘especially in contentious matters’. Maritime transport and logistics mandates – including cargo claims litigation, cargo and marine insurance cases and charterparty disputes – make up the bulk of the work. The firm advised the Belgian federal government on the collision between two vessels: the Flinterstar and the LNG carrier, Al Oraiq. The ‘approachable’ Ruud De Houwer is ‘someone to watch’, and the ‘quick and efficient’ Marc Van Looveren ‘never gives up’. Louis Verstraeten is also recommended.

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MEMORANDUM – THE NEW INNOVATION DEDUCTION

31.3.2017

Ken Roelands of Astrea has written een memorandum with regard to the Act of 9 February 2017 introducing a tax deduction for innovation income, which was published in the Belgian Official Journal on 20 February 2017. This new tax incentive replaces the patent income deduction and is, unlike its predecessor, compliant with the international guidelines from the BEPS action plan drawn up by the OECD.

The new Innovation Deduction allows companies with research and development activities to exempt 85% of their net income from qualifying intellectual property rights from taxes. Thanks to, among others, the extended scope of application, this new regulation offers interesting opportunities.

You can find the PDF version of this memorandum through the following link: The new innovation deduction.

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ASTREA RANKED AGAIN IN CHAMBERS GLOBAL 2017

23.3.2017

Each year Chambers Global, a renowned international legal directory, gives a list of the leading law firms from around the world.

On the basis of input from participating law firms, feedback from clients and peer reviews, Chambers selects the most outstanding lawyers and the most leading law firms by specialty and by region.

Astrea is delighted to be listed again in Chambers Global (Edition 2017) with several honourable but also new rankings.

Frédéric Verspreeuwen is ranked in his practice area Corporate/M&A in Band 4. Chambers Global writes: Frederic Verspreeuwen has "impeccable legal knowledge and a no-nonsense approach," according to clients, who describe him as a "dedicated lawyer who is always in the loop on ongoing matters and can act and react very fast in critical situations."

Dieter Veestraeten is mentioned in his practice area Banking & Finance as a “recognised Practitioner”. Dieter is also mentioned as “foreign expert” for Germany and German clients who are active on the Belgian market. Chambers Global writes: Dieter Veestraeten of Astrea speaks fluent German and continues to advise many German clients on cross-border financing matters involving Germany and Belgium.

We are very pleased to have been able to obtain recognition for the quality of our services and hope to continue to maintain this level of quality and further develop our services together with our clients

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STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER CONTRIBUTES BELGIAN CHAPTER TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE LEGAL GUIDE TO MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS 2017

7.3.2017

Steven De Schrijver of Astrea has contributed in writing the Belgian Chapter 9 of the International Comparative Legal Guide to Mergers & Acquisitions 2017 (11th edition). This guide provides corporate counsel and international practitioners with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of mergers and acquisitions. The country question and answer chapters provide a broad overview of common issues in mergers and acquisitions in 41 jurisdictions. All chapters are written by leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers and industry specialists.

Read the complete article written by Steven De Schrijver

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LAW CONTAINING VARIOUS AMENDMENTS IN VIEW OF THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE NEW PLEDGE ACT

13.1.2017

On 30 December 2016, the Act of 25 December amending several provisions concerning security rights in movables was published. As previously discussed in our newsflash of 29 July 2016, this law postpones the date of entry into force of the Act of 11 July 2013 amending the Civil Code provisions concerning security rights in movable goods and lifting various provisions in this respect ( "New Pledge Act") for another year, i.e. until 1 January 2018.

Given the fact that the perfection of a pledge will mainly depend on the registration thereof in a national pledge registry under the New Pledge Act, the act could simply not yet enter into force as the completion of this new registry takes more time than expected. However, this delay gave the legislator the opportunity to:

(I) develop and further refine the pledge and the anticipated effect of the pledge registry after consulting experienced practitioners in this area.

(II) update the cross-references in the New Pledge Act and adapt a number of other laws that are of (in)direct concern to the subject matter.

As mentioned earlier in our newsflash of 29 July 2016, the following amendments are noteworthy:

- The clarification that a pledge grants a preferential right in the sense of Article 12 of the Mortgage Act to the pledge holder;

- The extended access to the pledge registry with a view to ensure the efficiency of the system and the perfection of a pledge;

- The abolition of the possibility to establish the perfection of a pledge on a claim by registration. For pledges on claims the former rules remain fully applicable.

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WHO'S WHO LEGAL: TMT 2017 : ASTREA PARTNER STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER LISTED AGAIN AS ONE OF THE MOST HIGHLY REGARDED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LAWYERS IN EUROPE

9.1.2017

Every year Who’s Who Legal undertakes an in-depth research to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide in the field of technology, media and telecommunications (TMT).

In its latest edition Who’s Who Legal recognises over 800 IT specialists and over 400 telecoms and media experts across 71 jurisdictions, covering a broad range of commercial and regulatory matters in these sectors.  All are considered leaders in these fields of law, following votes from clients, in-house counsel and peers.

In the Who's Who Legal: TMT 2017 edition, Astrea corporate and technology partner Steven De Schrijver is listed once again as one of the 6 most highly regarded IT lawyers in Europe.

In 2012 and 2014, Steven already received the award by Who’s Who Legal as the Information Technology Lawyer of the Year and he was also listed in the Who’s Who Legal: TMT 2016 last year.

In its TMT 2017 Analysis, Who’s Who Legal states that  “At independent Brussels outfit Astrea, Steven De Schrijver ranks as the top IT lawyer in our research drawing praise from a huge number of respondents internationally. He is very active advising large domestic and foreign tech companies on complex technology transactions and privacy law. A client reports, “He is utterly brilliant and will always find the best possible commercial outcome.””.

The full Who's Who Legal: TMT 2017 Analysis can be found here.

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