LDR acts in close association with several university institutions. Almost all partners and staff members of LDR are (or have been) attached to the University of Ghent, Centre for Environmental and Energy Law, either as teaching assistants or as scientific assistants. They owe much of their know-how to their many years of co-operation with Prof. Dr. Hubert BOCKEN, Prof. Dr. Luc LAVRYSEN and Prof. Dr. Frank MAES. They are now scientifically active through scientific publications, legislation projects and policy-supporting studies.
As environmental law (a combination of environmental, climate, energy and spatial planning law) is a particularly technical legal discipline, LDR calls upon experts from numerous branches of science. This co-operation guarantees that the legal and technical aspects of environmental law go hand in hand when providing solutions to problems and giving advice.
A pro-active approach, aiming at avoiding legal proceedings
LDR opts for a specific approach to legal files by placing them in a broader social context and by trying in the first place to find alternatives that aim at avoiding legal proceedings in consultation with the client. Such an approach is only successful if negotiations and discussions can be conducted with the different parties involved, in particular with the authorities. Although the latter are very often the opposite party in legal proceedings, LDR has an excellent relationship, based on mutual respect with the different officials responsible for environmental, climate, energy and spatial planning matters. Within the context of general consultancy, LDR spends a lot of time providing legal and strategic assistance to both small- and large-scale environmental and spatial planning projects and drawing up due diligence reports for company take-overs. Within the high-risk matter of environmental law, LDR contributes to the promotion of a pro-active approach, aiming at avoiding legal proceedings.
Attention to environmental law as a functional branch of law
LDR knows that environmental law is a functional branch of law, the scope of which is linked to environmental, climate, energy and spatial planning issues. Environmental law cannot be categorized under one of the standard branches of law: it is not only administrative law, but also European law, tax law, civil law, criminal law, consumer law, law of property and economic law. LDR deals with the most diverse issues relating to the environment and having to do with administrative law (administrative appeal procedures with the authorities, legal proceedings before the Council of State and the Court of Arbitration), civil or criminal law (legal proceedings before civil courts and courts dealing with minor offences as well as with courts of appeal), tax law (administrative appeal procedures with the authorities and legal proceedings before tax sections of courts and courts of appeal) and European law (legal proceedings before the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights).
Attention to the role of the lawyer as ‘environmental policy actor’
The development of an environmental policy requires a broad basis of support. The input from lawyers with practical experience is therefore of vital importance. LDR shares its knowledge and expertise through many forums that focus on the development environmental, climate, energy and spatial planning policy and legislation. In this respect, the non-profit organization 'Flemish Environmental Law Association' (VVOR) has been established by Isabelle Larmuseau on 18 May 2006, in order to encourage the debate on all legal matters that concern the planning and protection of the human living environment (see www.omgevingsrecht.be).
Attention to Europe and the world
LDR does not restrict itself to federal and regional environmental issues, but permanently pays attention to environmental (legal) developments in the European Union and in the world. This knowledge of European and international environmental law is highly valuable in dealing with local environmental files.
Attention to ongoing acquisition and transfer of knowledge
LDR has developed its own digital environmental data base, which is updated on a daily basis with information about legislation, administration of justice, legal doctrine and environmental issues. These permanent updates of knowledge and expertise are implemented immediately and communicated to the parties concerned. LDR shares the knowledge and expertise it has acquired through practical experience with students, colleagues, magistrates and persons dealing with legal matters in general via lectures at several university institutions and colleges and via discourses at workshops.In 2007 LDR took the initiative to organize its own LDR-training courses. It concerns a series of training courses whereby an update is given of all relevant environmental law topics five times a year.
Attention to high-quality services
LDR has at least two lawyers, one of which is always a partner in the law firm, deal with each case. The second lawyer is designated in order to optimize the contact with the client and to ensure a timely and quick settlement. Depending on the specific know-how required for the case, the second lawyer is entrusted with general supporting activities or with thorough assistance regarding the specific matter that is dealt with.
Attention to professional deontology
All cases are carefully screened before they are accepted by the law firm. LDR develops a durable strategy in close consultation with the client. Furthermore, LDR charges reasonable and justifiable fees, so as to enable everyone to have his/her interests as regards the environment, climate, energy and spatial planning defended by specialists.