JACQUES BOURGEOIS is a recognized authority on European Union (EU) law, with over four decades of experience in private practice and public service. He advises Sidley lawyers and clients around the globe on all aspects of EU law, with a specific focus on trade and competition matters.
Jacques has represented clients before the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and other EU institutions, as well as before the European Courts in Luxembourg and Belgian courts. He assists clients with complex EU trade and market access issues, including anti-dumping investigations and anti-subsidies. He also has extensive experience advising on matters related to the World Trade Organization (WTO), he has chaired a WTO dispute settlement panel and has represented clients in high-stakes WTO dispute settlement proceedings.
Jacques advises on EU competition matters related to restrictive business agreements and dominant positions, as well as on the review and clearance of mergers and acquisitions. Since 2006, he has served as Chairman of the Competition Commission advising the Belgian government.
Most recently, Jacques has been advising clients on various aspects of the legal and policy implications of Brexit.
Prior to entering private practice, Jacques served for over 25 years as a senior official with the European Commission. From 1987 to 1991, he was the principal legal adviser of the Commission in charge of foreign trade policy and, later, antitrust policy. Previously, he served for several years as head of the Trade Policy Instruments Division in the Directorate-General for External Relations, and was responsible for the implementation of the EU’s regulations on anti-dumping and subsidies, as well as for safeguard measures and protection against illicit commercial practices. He originally joined the Commission as a member of Legal Service in 1965 and was responsible for personnel issues, matters of institutional domain, agriculture and fisheries policy, and external relations.
Jacques’ leadership and experience in EU law is widely recognized. For example:
- He has been named a “Senior Statesman” in International Trade/WTO by Chambers Europe 2022 (Belgium and Europe-wide), where sources from the 2018 edition highlight his extensive knowledge of European law and view his key strength as his “knowledge and speed in providing the client with advice.” In the 2021 edition, it has been noted that his “name is very well known among everyone working in the field.”
- He has been recognized as a leader in International Trade/WTO by Chambers Global (Belgium and Europe-wide) since 2008.
- He is recognized as a leader in his field in the 2009-2021 editions of Who’s Who of Competition Lawyers and Economists and Who’s Who: Trade and Customs. He is praised by clients in the 2020 Trade and Customs edition, where he is described as “a statesman and an authority in the trade field” with a “strong reputation in EU trade law particularly.” Sources from the 2016 publication have described him as having “great intellectual horsepower” and note him as a “walking encyclopedia.”
- The 2022 edition of Best Lawyers in Belgium lists him for European Union Law, Litigation, and Trade Law. He has been recognized in the 2009–2021 editions in the areas of Trade, Competition/Antitrust and Regulatory Law.