Van Bael & Bellis (VBB) has set up a UK-based international trade team in response to its EU and UK clients’ need for support in navigating parallel enforcement regimes.

The Brussels-headquartered law firm has made two senior hires to establish the practice. Michelle Linderman (pictured), previously a partner in Crowell & Moring’s international trade group in London, joins the VBB London team as partner. An English qualified solicitor with more than 20 years of experience, Linderman advises clients on UK-specific and cross-border sanctions, the UK Modern Slavery Act, export controls and cybersecurity issues, among other specialised areas that concern national and international trade as well as financial sanctions. She also has significant expertise handling complex commercial disputes.

Ross Denton, formerly head of international trade at Ashurst, joins as senior counsel, and will work alongside Linderman in developing VBB’s UK trade practice. His expertise covers export controls, sanctions, customs and trade remedies, as well as cartels, state aid, subsidy and foreign direct investment control.

“Over the past 14 months there has been unprecedented growth in EU and UK sanctions and export control legislation,” says Linderman. “Working with the team at VBB, Ross and I will be well placed to provide clients with the commercially focussed, practical and strategic guidance needed in this complex area of law”.

“After Brexit, the UK has been given back its power to make and operate its own trade policy,” adds Denton. “The London legal market has yet to rise to the challenge of servicing clients fully in this space. Michelle and I are delighted to have been asked to help VBB, one of the great European trade firms, build up its UK-based trade practice.”

VBB says that the new arrivals add “further depth and strength” to its Brussels and Geneva teams, which it says are recognised collectively as one of the leading international trade practices in Europe.