Special (part 3): Meet the EUAEL Alliance in an Interview with the Partners

Group-Alliance-special-HI

AN ALLIANCE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING EQUINE LAW FIRMS
European US Asian Equine Lawyers is an Alliance Group founded by Schelstraete Holding B.V. with its head office in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands. The Alliance Group has independent partners in Europe, Asia and the United States and is still growing. The Alliance Group can help clients world- wide with contracting, purchase assistance, Sports law, FEI Doping cases and Litigation. It is our pleasure to introduce to you the last two members of the Alliance Group.

 

Monika Gattiker, LANTER Attorneys & Tax Advisors

ZÜRICH-SWITSERLAND

m.gattikker

How many lawyers does your firm comprise?
11 lawyers.

Which eld of law does your firm specialise in?
We provide specialised lawyers for all legal requirements of corporate clients.

Who are your “most common clients” in the equine law practice?
The riders.

Which other fields of law do you often see applied together with equine law?
Commercial law.

How come you chose to specialise in equine law?
As a horse owner and person with more than 40 years of riding experience it seems self- evident to work in this eld. My commercial focus and the special interest in life sciences and health care is also very useful for my work in equine law.

What are the ties of the firm to the equine world?
One of our partners used to own racehorses, and as mentioned earlier, I have close ties to the equine world.

Why do you find it important to have lawyers specialising in equine law?
In order to assist equine law clients and serve their best interest it is required to have broad knowledge about horses, the horse business and in fact the entire equine world, as well as, to have experience in the equine world. Further, there is a speci c arbitration law applicable to equestrian sport matters, which comprise a number of traps for persons who are not familiar with these rules and regulations. Equine law is a specialisation as, for example, maritime or aviation law.

What are the most common issues arising in the field of equine law?
Medication/doping cases and disputes related to horse purchases.

What has been one of your most challenging cases?
A horse abuse case in 2008 involving a very well known rider. There was no evidence except from 8 statements of witnesses on behalf of the FEI. Finally, we could prove that the witnesses had been “briefed” by the deputy chief steward. The hearing was 10 hours, and it was a tough ght to achieve relieve from the accusations. The FEI Tribunal made clear in its decision that it would have suspended the rider for at least two years had they been convinced of the accusations.

Longest/shortest case?
2 years/3 weeks

How do you see equestrian law has developed through the last years?
It is a growing industry, getting more professional and more commercial.

How do you see the eld developing in the future?
There will be more international and more substantial horse deals.

Which issues within equine law do you see appear (more often) in the coming years?
Disputes between seller and buyer.

How long has your rm been a part of the EUAEL alliance?
One year.

Why is it so important to have a worldwide alliance of equine lawyers?
The equine world is international, and therefore there are often questions related to a different jurisdiction.

How does your client bene t from the rm being a part of the EUAEL alliance?
We can also cover our client’s requests if they concern questions related to foreign law or cross border issues.

 

MR. LUC SCHELSTRAETE, SCHELSTRAETE EQUINE LAWYERS

OISTERWIJK, THE NETHERLANDS

Luc-uitsnede

How many lawyers does your firm comprise?
Six lawyers, two paralegals.

Which field of law does your firm specialise in?
Equine law at an international level.

Who are your “most common clients” in the equine law practice?
Our most common clients are the horsedealers, top riders and equine business managers.

Which other fields of law do you often see applied together with equine law?
Together with equine law we are also very active in doping cases, international procedural and transctional law, business law and tax law. Also veterinary legal issues are being dealt with.

How come you chose to specialise in equine law?
Before I founded the law firm Schelstraete Advocaten in the Netherlands, I was riding horses. I competed in jumping, dressage and also a little bit in eventing. So I was already infected with the equine bacteria in my childhood days. After finishing law school I was immediately consulted by clients with equine related issues which made me conclude that the equine legal business was an enormous niche. At first our scope was limited to Dutch clients, but as the legal world developed into an international arena we developed our international practice.

What are the ties of the firm to the equine world?
Our ties as equine lawyers with the equine world and sports are very tight. Several of our employee’s and alliance partners are active as horse owners and even as riders. Separate from my activities as an equine lawyer I spend a lot of time in the equine sports. My wife Jonna is an international dressage Grand Prix rider and our daughters Amber (12) and Micky (13) ride dressage and show jumping ponies. Micky is member of the Dutch A squad of dressage ponies since 2017 and already competed at the European championships in Kaposvar. Jonna and I work together in selecting potential dressage ponies and horses which will be trained and competed with. Several of the top talents have left our stables and are still competed with international riders. I refer to Buriel with Juliette Ramel, this combination competed at the Olympic Games in Rio and Alcazar with Catherine Bateson but also to well known horses like Verdict, Bonzanjo, CSI, Witness, Cupido and Grand Charmeur. The last two are still in our possession and doing great.

Why do you find it important to have lawyers specialising in equine law?
To be able to handle equine cases it is mandatory to know the equine language and network without which you simply cannot act in the interest of your client. This is only possible if one is specialised.

What are the most common issues arising in the field of equine law?
The most common cases we deal with are assistance at selling and buying horses, contracting, dispute resolution if these deals cause problems, doping cases and corporate/tax advise for international clients investing in the equine business.

What has been one of your most challenging cases?
The most challenging cases were the claims of a Swedish family buying several very expensive dressage horses in Europe finding out that both horses were suffering from veterinary defects and their supposed independent trainers received large non disclosed sums from the sellers, therefore abusing the trust that this family gave them. In both les court claims were granted and settlements in favour of our clients achieved. These actions took on average 4 years. In these cases it was established and confirmed by the German Courts (also in appeal) that commissioners acting for the buyers are not allowed to accept payments from the sellers. The court of appeal in Celle (Germany) also ruled that the commissioner involved is liable to the buyer to compensate the complete investment in the horse bought. In this particular case the commissioner not only has to pay to buyer the commission fee but also the complete purchase price, all together more than 2 million euro.

How do you see equestrian law has developed through the last years?
I’m happy to observe that the equine law has developed into a niche contributing to make the equine business more transparent and professional. This will continue in the future with better due diligence when buying and selling horses with contractual documents and a more professional dispute resolution.

How do you see the eld developing in the future?
The number of doping files will absolutely grow. The same will occur in litigation regarding horse deals.

How long has your firm been a part of the EUAEL alliance?
From the very beginning, as I’m the founder of this Alliance. This Alliance is the best option to offer our clients high level equine law service and knowledge. Via this group of top equine lawyers in the world we can be very proactive and fast if trans border problems arise for our clients. Our bene t is being able to work with local well equipped partners who are ready to act immediately at a high professional level.

Not staying behind

In the recent editions of Horse International the Alliance and its members have been presented to the readers of this magazine reflecting on their firms and individual experiences in the equine business and equestrian sports. On behalf of the Alliance we would like to thank the readers, the members and the editors of the magazine for giving us this opportunity. We are convinced that in the future, international cooperation will only further increase, and that initiatives like the Alliance will prove its high added value to the clients. It is a fact that the world these days is undergoing the process of globalization, relativizing physical and geographical boundaries between continents and distances and differences between cities like Amsterdam, Shanghai, New York etc. You can physically be in Amsterdam and work on a case in Shanghai or in New York. The legal industry cannot stay behind this development. International and specialized legal services are the right answer to the needs of our clients and the modern times.