Image of Jan Wouters

Jan Wouters

Of Counsel, Brussels


Professor Wouters combines nearly 30 years of academic scholarship and practical experience in most areas of EU law, including expertise from the international judiciary (European Court of Justice, where he was référendaire) and a long-standing practice as attorney at the Brussels Bar (since 1997 as Of Counsel at de Bandt van Hecke, nowadays Linklaters).

He advises governments and private clients on issues of:

  • international law (e.g. questions of jurisdiction and immunities, human rights, international sanctions, WTO law, various multilateral treaties);
  • EU law (e.g. cross-border provision of services, freedom of establishment, free movement of capital, competition law, state aids, institutional issues); and
  • corporate, banking and financial law (including cross-border mergers, seat transfers and split-offs, cross-border offering of securities and financial services, regulation of banks, investment funds, investment firms, insurance companies, portfolio management and investment advice).

Professor Wouters
also has broad experience as a consultant to international organisations at global (e.g. World Bank, UNIDO, Interpol) and regional (e.g. EU, ESA, OECD, Benelux) levels. In recognition of his expertise in international trade law, he has been an expert at the Indicative List for Panels of the World Trade Organization since 2008, and a member on the roster of panellists of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU, Colombia and Peru, since 2014.

As President of the Flemish Foreign Affairs Council from 2008 to 2014, Professor Wouters has advised Belgian authorities on more than 150 recent international treaties (inter alia on commodities; cultural diversity; cultural heritage; economic cooperation; environmental protection; EU treaties and external agreements; headquarters agreements of international organizations; humanitarian law; human rights law; labour standards).

Professor Wouters is also a Full Professor of International Law and International Organizations, Jean Monnet Chair ad personam EU and Global Governance and founding Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and of the Institute for International Law at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven). In Leuven, he teaches inter alia public international law, the law of international organizations and the law of the World Trade Organization. As Visiting Professor at Sciences Po (Paris), Luiss University (Rome) and the College of Europe (Bruges) he teaches EU external relations law. As Adjunct Professor at Columbia University (SIPA), he teaches on the EU, the U.S. and international human rights. He is a Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts and President of the United Nations Association Flanders – Belgium.

Professional experience
  • 2008 - 2014 President, Flemish Foreign Affairs Council (Strategische Adviesraad internationaal Vlaanderen)
  • 2007 to date Of Counsel, Linklaters
  • 2006 to date Visiting Professor, College of Europe, Bruges
  • 2003 - 2009 and 2013 – to date President, United Nations Association Flanders Belgium
  • 2002 - 2007 Of Counsel, Linklaters De Bandt, Brussels *
  • 1997 - 2001 Of Counsel, De Bandt, van Hecke, Lagae & Loesch, Brussels
  • 1998 to date Professor of International Law and the Law of International Organisations, Director of the Institute for International Law, Faculty of Law, Catholic University of Leuven; since 2007 also Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

* In 2002, De Bandt, van Hecke, Lagae & Loesch merged with Linklaters

  • 1995 - 1996 Catholic University of Leuven, Ph.D. in Law
  • 1990 - 1991 Harvard University, Visiting Researcher, Harvard Law School
  • 1989 - 1990 Yale University, LL.M.
  • 1983 - 1984 University of Antwerp - UFSIA Campus, Bachelor of Philosophy
  • 1982 - 1987 University of Antwerp - UIA - UFSIA Campus, Lic. Juris

Dutch, English, French, German