In sports, we want only one thing: being the best.
This applies just as much to the lawyers of this dedicated team, who are highly experienced in representing the interests of numerous athletes, teams and clubs in various sports (racing, football, basketball, table tennis, tennis, jumping, volleyball, sailing ...). Sometimes, the interests of athletes and clubs may even be highly conflicting.
Whether practised at amateur or professional level, dozens of rules and regulations apply: federal and regional, national and international.
We provide our services to all type of sports-related clients: sport practitioners, amateurs, sports agents, sports clubs, sports federations and government.
We try to avoid disputes as much as possible through a proactive approach. We look beyond mere sports law (asset management, tax advice, employment law, incorporation of companies, ...) in order to handle as smoothly as possible the at-times complex relationships between professional athletes and sponsors or media.
All members of our dedicated sports law team combine their legal expertise with their passion for sports. Our team provides for an entire legal framework. This way, athletes, teams and clubs can focus on one single thing ... being the best!
We offer our services to professional athletes as well as amateur practitioners. At present, many sports federations do not, or insufficiently, protect amateur athletes. Hence, professional assistance can make a world of difference.
The battle against doping in sports is becoming increasingly important for national and international sports authorities. The anti-doping legislation applies to individual athletes and clubs as well as physicians and caregivers. They may face prosecution, when offences are committed.
Our dedicated team handles the disciplinary legal proceedings before the competent sporting authorities in such cases. If the case is brought before criminal court, our clients may rely on the expertise of our dedicated criminal law team.
The legal status of an athlete is regulated at different levels. Different rules apply and may cause confusion. However, the incorrect application of those rules may have important consequences in the field of social law.
Together with our dedicated social law team, we offer advice on these various statuses and we assist our clients in the event of legal proceedings before for the labour courts.
Assistance and defence before various authorities, including:
Sponsorship is quintessential to the subsistence of many athletes. The agreements between sponsors and athletes should be laid down in solid contracts. Our dedicated teams work closely together to maximally protect the athlete’s rights.
Supervision during disciplinary procedures for alleged violations before all kinds of disciplinary authorities, including:
Professional athletes have a special tax status. A favourable tax regime applies to an athlete's income. However legislation on this subject is often complex and many exceptions are involved.
Therefore, we provide comprehensive advice on income tax optimization for athletes.
Transfer regulation is becoming increasingly complex: not only do national rules and procedures apply, but also certain rules can be imposed by the international sports organization. It is sometimes difficult to reconcile international and national regulation. Moreover, it should be taken into account that national jurisprudence isn’t always aligned with international jurisprudence.
Our dedicated sports law team helps clubs, professional athletes and amateur athletes to see the forest for the trees. We offer them assistance with national or international transfers in various types of sports.
Pascal Nelissen Grade has 25 years of experience and learned all about law from childhood on. With the same earnest and attention for detail, Pascal switches his lawyer robe for a race overall and helmet and goes out racing on circuits both in Belgium and abroad.
Pascal is also:
In 2014, he was featured in the Who's who Legal Sports & Entertainment.
Jan Stijns graduated in 1987 as master of law at KU Leuven. In 2009 he also graduated as bachelor in philosophy at KU Leuven.
Jan entered the association in 1987. He is specialized in family property law and has specific attention for patrimonial law (real estate) and succession planning / taxability. He is also specialized in the fields of construction law and administrative law.
Joris De Roo graduated in 1992 as master of law at KU Leuven.
Immediately after his studies, Joris entered the association and in 1998 he became partner. He specializes in commercial and economic law and corporate law. He is also specialized in estate planning.
Kris Maes graduated as master of law at KU Leuven.
He is a member of the Bar Association of Leuven and Dendermonde.
Kris provides assistance and advice to individuals and companies on the subject of (individual and collective) labour law and social security. He is especially interested in providing thorough and permanent assistance on the subject of HR management. He is regularly invited as a guest speaker in seminars.
In the event of litigation, he prefers to come to a detailed and balanced solution after clear negotiations. But when legal proceedings are required, he is prepared to go to any length.
Alexis Lefebvre started his studies at FUNDP in Namur and graduated as master of law at UCL in Louvain-la-Neuve. After his education, Alexis entered the association.
He is specialized in litigation and providing assistance and advice in the fields of tax law, on the one hand, and economic, commercial and contract law, on the other hand.
He is a member of the Bar Association of Brussels and Leuven.
Frederiek Baudoncq is a member of the Bar Association of Leuven since 1998. From 1999 to 2005, he was part time assistant at the faculty of law of KU Leuven, department property and liability law.
He is (co) author of several books and contributions to books and articles and is a member of the editorial staff of three law journals. He completed the training to become a lawyer at the Supreme Court of Belgium, the Court of Cassation.
Alexis Hallemans studied law in Namur (FUNDP), Belgium, at the Univeristy of Leuven and in Saarbrücken (Germany). He is a lawyer since 2003. He also obtained a LL.M degree European law in Germany and an additional Masters in intellectual property and IT law at the University of Brussels. He specializes in these subjects in which he has pleaded before the Court of Justice of the EU and the Constitutional Court in Belgium. He is recommended for these subjects in Belgium (Legal 500, Tier 2).
For several years now he is a Board member of the German, Belgian and Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce AHK DEBELUX. Alexis fluently speaks Dutch, French, German and English. This allowed him to develop a strong experience and track record in legally assisting international companies in Belgium, particularly German companies.
Alexis worked in large international law firms in Belgium and Germany (CMS Hasche Sigle) before joining Nelissen Grade as a partner in the department IP, IT and commercial law.
Joke Decabooter obtained her master law degree at the Catholic University of Leuven in 2011. During her master years, Joke mainly focused on civil law, specialising in family law, family property law and liability law.
After her studies, Joke immediately joined the Bar Association of Leuven, as well as our firm. Based on her interest in private law, she mainly focuses on support, procedures and advice regarding all aspects of family law, as well as settlements and divisions. Nationality issues also fall within her expertise.
In 2015, Joke obtained her notarial profession master at the Free University of Brussels. Since 2019 she is recognized as mediator in family matters.
From the 2019-2020 academic year, Joke will be affiliated with the Catholic University of Leuven as a law assistant at the Institute for Family Law.
Karen Niesten obtained her Master's degree in Law at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) in 2012 and then completed an additional Master's degree in Taxation at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).
In 2013, she joined the Nelissen Grade office and the Leuven Bar.
Karen also completed a management programme at Solvay Business School of Economics and Management in Brussels and attended courses in Dutch taxation and inheritance law at the University of Maastricht.
Karen focuses on leading and developing the expert groups for tax law and estate planning.
On the one hand Karen focuses on financial and tax advice, including estate planning. On the other hand, she performs dispute resolution and litigation in various tax fields for the administrative authorities and tax courts in Belgium. In cooperation with Frederiek Baudoncq, she also conducts proceedings before the Court of Cassation.
From her tax background, she also supports the corporate law department.