Frédéric Dopagne is special counsel in the firm’s Brussels office. His practice focuses on advising and representing sovereign States, international organizations and their respective organs and agents (government officials, diplomatic missions and agents, international and EU civil servants, etc.) on a wide range of issues of public international law. He has particular experience in counselling clients on all aspects of diplomatic law, the law of State immunity as well as privileges and immunities of international organizations, including the question of the conflict between international law immunities and the individual’s right of access to a court. He also regularly provides assistance in matters related to international and EU civil service law, international sanctions and EU restrictive measures (embargo, freezing of assets, etc.), the law of treaties as well as the international responsibility of States and international organizations.
Specific issues on which Frédéric counsels sovereign States and international organizations at the domestic level include: seizures of bank accounts and other property; tax exemptions; employment and social security for local staff; real estate and lease matters; applicability of particular EU or national legislations (data protection, procurement, etc.).
In addition to his professional practice at Kelley Drye, Frédéric is an associate professor (chargé de cours) at the University of Louvain (UCL), where he mainly teaches advanced courses on diplomatic law, immunity law and the law of international organizations, and where he is Director of the LL.M. in International Law. Frédéric is also a visiting professor at the University of Liège (ULg) and the Belgian Royal Military School. He was a guest professor at the University of Lille (UCL) (2013-2015), the University of Leiden (2008), the University of Burundi (2006) and the Belgian Superior Royal Institute for Defence Studies (2001-2005). Frédéric has published and lectured on various topics of public international law and EU institutional law. He is currently Secretary-General of the Belgian Society of International Law, as well as a member of the respective Boards of Editors of the Belgian Review of International Law and Oxford International Organizations.
Assisting an international organization in negotiations with the host State on a treaty modifying the headquarters agreement and on a related complex VAT dispute.
Representing sovereign States in domestic court cases concerning employment of embassy staff and related State immunity from jurisdiction.
Representing international organizations in domestic civil and employment litigation involving jurisdictional immunity issues.
Advising a sovereign State on issues pertaining to the protection of diplomatic premises and staff by its own armed forces
Advising an international organization on a potential international responsibility claim against the host State.
Representing an international organization in litigation before national courts concerning attachment of bank accounts and related immunity from execution.
Advising a sovereign State on WTO and EU rules governing public procurement in the defence sector.
Advising a sovereign State on issues related to the EU list of banned air carriers.
Advising a sovereign State on immunity questions associated with the export of a primary commodity.
Advising a sovereign State on procedural aspects and possible third-party intervention before the General Court of the European Union in a case concerning EU restrictive measures.
Assisting a sovereign State in negotiations with national social security authorities concerning staff of the Permanent Representation to the EU.
Representing a multinational company in proceedings before the Belgian Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) concerning the interpretation and application of the U.S.-Belgium treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
Representing a multinational company in litigation before domestic courts concerning the interpretation and application of the U.S.-Belgium treaty on social security.
Advising a foreign high-ranking government official on applicability of immunity from criminal jurisdiction.
Representing individuals in staff dispute proceedings before internal grievance bodies, the NATO Administrative Tribunal, the EU General Court (then EU Civil Service Tribunal) and the Appeals Board of the European Space Agency.
Elected Secretary-General of the Belgian Society of International Law, 2017.