Leaders in regulatory & administrative law across Central & Eastern Europe
Economic regulatory requirements locally and across Europe are clearly increasing. What isn’t always so clear is exactly how they will affect you. With our knowledge of regulations throughout CEE/SEE, we can best advise you on the regulatory frameworks that affect your business. But sometimes, just knowing the status quo is not enough; we strive to anticipate the compliance requirements of the future, so that you can react and plan accordingly.
You can rely on us for a variety of administrative law issues. Our expertise includes dealing with public and regulatory administrative agencies and authorities as well as courts on a local, national and international level. Apart from public law litigation, we can advise you in relation to public law issues (such as licensing and permitting) in various fields, ensuring your compliance not only with local or international law, but also with relevant industry standards.
“Outstanding regulatory expertise, in particular in the healthcare sector.”– The Legal 500
“The firm is recognised by clients for its work ethos, one saying: ‘I value the reliability in terms of keeping deadlines,’ and its ‘flexibility in offering customised solutions.’ Another client states: ‘They provide us with very good detailed legal advice and insights into Austrian public law, healthcare law and adjacent areas.'”– Chambers Europe
What makes our team the best regulatory & administrative lawyers for you?
Our regional, integrated firm offers distinct advantages spanning the full spectrum of legal services.
- An established international law firm with 60+ years of experience in Austria and CEE/SEE
- A fully integrated, single team of 340 locally-qualified lawyers in 13 countries and offices
- Collaboration and innovation across multidisciplinary teams and offices
- Excellent client satisfaction – responsive, client-oriented, and consistent
- Experience with complex and cross-border matters covering the full spectrum of legal services
- Knowledge and expertise to add value to deals across industries
Leading the legal field
Our lawyers are involved in key transactions and matters across the region, bringing their industry expertise and specialised business knowledge to add value to our clients’ work.
Advised laboratory services group on Austrian market entry & COVID testing
Massive telecommunications towers acquisition involving 24.6k sites structured in six separate deals
Expert advice on new Austrian online hate speech laws
Expertise on all regulatory matters, including licensing, environmental & EU law
Complex telecommunications tower assets acquisition
Our team advised listed Cellnex Telecom, a leading European infrastructure operator for wireless telecommunication, on all Austrian legal and regulatory aspects of its acquisition of the European telecommunications tower assets of CK Hutchison Holdings.
Our team provided innovative advice on this transformational deal for Cellnex Telecom, particularly in how the deal was structured across multiple jurisdictions with varying regulatory regimes. We were retained on the basis of our firm having handled the USD 2 billion acquisition of UPC by T-Mobile in 2018 and our track record in handling large TMT transactions in Austria and CEE.
It was structured in six independent transactions and involved six countries, to create a strategic alliance with Hutchison and entails the acquisition of in total 24,600 telecommunications sites, as well as an investment plan to deploy a further 5,250 new sites.
We led the Austrian part of the transaction (which was governed by Austrian law) and helped establish the most effective structure for our client acquiring the Austrian target company that had recently been carved out of Hutchison Austria, one of Austria’s largest telecom operators.
This was the first-ever acquisition in Austria of a large passive mobile infrastructure holding company and required a detailed analysis of its viability under Austrian corporate law and telecom regulations. A key feature of the transaction was that we led the negotiation of a complex long-term cooperation agreement between the legal entity acquired by Cellnex in Austria and Hutchinson, the telecoms operator, which will continue to use the telecoms infrastructure sold to Cellnex.
Our team was particularly crucial in assisting Cellnex in understanding the regulatory framework regarding access to and regulated tariffs for using land required for relevant infrastructure, as well as co-use and other rights of other telecommunication companies. Those topics were essential for Cellnex in its economic assessment of the deal.
We also assessed the potential impact of recently enacted new foreign direct investment (FDI) rules as well as the EU FDI Screening Regulation on the transaction.
Comprehensive solutions for clinical laboratory services
We have been advising Lifebrain, one of the largest Italian providers in clinical laboratory services in the fields of clinical chemistry, haematology, immunochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, cytology and pathology, and its Austrian affiliates on a number of matters related to their market entry in Austria and COVID-testing.
We have advised on:
- the incorporation of affiliates in Austria;
- legal requirements for providing COVID-19 tests in Austria;
- legal requirements regarding provision of laboratory services under the Austrian professional laws on health-care professionals;
- legal requirements for the establishment and operation of a laboratory under the Viennese Hospital Act and representing the company before the Viennese Administrative Court;
- legal requirements under Austrian trade law;
- procurement procedures;
- negotiating agreements with cooperation partners, customers and suppliers;
- IT law and data protection matters;
- questions of employment law;
- and representing the company in an unfair competition lawsuit filed by the Medical Chamber of Vienna, who alleges that our client is conducting COVID-19 tests without necessary permits.
Sensitive matters of online hate speech involving personality and IP rights
We have provided advice in relation to the Austrian government’s “Combat Hate in the Internet” package consisting of the Communication Platform Act and the “Hate-in-the-Internet” Act, both aimed at protecting users of digital forums and social media platforms from falling victim to online hate speech.
Since the new laws have major impacts on the daily business of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp within the framework of the Austrian civil and criminal laws, we provided and still are providing extensive advice (around 30 different matters) related to platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram with regard to user requests to unblock user accounts and/or disclose BSI data and/or requests to remove content that allegedly infringes the personality rights and/or copyrights of the complainants, as well as on the new Austrian laws to combat hate speech online.
Areas of specialisation
Environment, Planning & Zoning
Considering environmental issues at an early stage of transaction planning is essential to save time, money and nerves. The provisions of environmental law play an increasingly important role in corporate acquisitions, as well as in the planning and implementation of energy and infrastructure projects, project development and industrial plant permitting, and are crucial for their rapid and efficient implementation.
A multitude of national and European laws and regulations makes it increasingly difficult to obtain a clear and comprehensive picture of the legal requirements. Through their years of experience in this field, our environmental law specialists are ideally equipped to filter out and handle the relevant questions for you.
Licensing, Permits & Support Schemes
Overwhelmed by knowing which type of licence or permit you need? We can assist in obtaining the licences and permits required under general business rules or special rules relating to specific industries, understanding licensing agreements, and in meeting specific notification requirements, such as in the energy sector (e.g. licensing of electricity and gas trading and environmental permits, as well as with respect to energy regulations), the granting of plant-related permits under environmental laws, and in the gaming industry (e.g. licensing, operation of poker rooms and online gambling).
Knowing the ins and outs of all regulatory requirements under national and EU law isn’t easy. We can help ensure that your business is compliant in all ways, and also help develop and implement compliance programmes to manage future risk.
International Trade & Sanctions
With the current shifting economic and political landscape, businesses increasingly face international trade restrictions, and failure to pay attention to this complex legal area can have serious consequences. For many years, we have been supporting clients in their international trade relations and cross-border M&A. Whether you are faced with trade regulations, export control or trade sanctions – with our experience and global connections, we can help you run your international business smoothly and avoid potential risks.
If you are in the gambling industry, we can advise you across the CEE/SEE region on the legal frameworks that affect your daily work and long-term success. You don’t only benefit from our general experience in the field; we also work hard to become equally knowledgeable about your individual business needs. We believe this is the key to providing practical advice that helps you meet your commercial objectives. You also benefit from our excellent contacts with public authorities which allow us to couple legal expertise with a ‘practical touch’, creating solutions that work for you in the real world.
With direct experience in the insurance sector, you can rely on a team which is a market leader in the CEE/SEE region. You benefit from our strong relationships with regulatory bodies, local insurance business associations and market players across the region. Whether you are a national or international company, we can advise you on all types of insurance law, whereby our top priority is finding the strategy best suited to help you.
If you are a business in the Life Science industry we can support on all legal aspects, from compliance with anti-corruption rules and industry guidelines, to medicinal products, medical devices, trade and data protection law as well on the implementation of clinical trial and research contracts. You benefit from our long experience in different legal areas relevant to the Life Science sector; meaning we understand the unique economic, regulatory, market and political climate in which you operate.
As professional life today frequently requires spatial flexibility, (permanent or temporary) cross-border relocations and dual residences are not unusual. The residency of an individual, and also of trusts and companies, is a key element in tax and succession planning. Our private client team can assist you in all residence and relocation aspects including help with your work and residence permits, as well as with naturalisation, immigration and citizenship matters.
Constitutional & EU Law
In addition to representation before national courts, we can represent you in litigation proceedings before European public authorities, administrative and constitutional law courts as well as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). You benefit from our solid regional and local network of contacts and strong working relationships with many regional public authorities and courts, also at the level of political decision-making.
What others say about us
“Reflecting on the firm’s excellent communication channels with authorities, one client says: ‘Our overall impression of Wolf Theiss is absolutely positive. All services were delivered quickly and in the best quality.'”– Chambers Europe
“The full-package service combined with high professionalism, timely manner and orientation on the needs of the client.”– The Legal 500
Get in touch
Whether you need an international team with extensive experience, Wolf Theiss can support your business goals through our profound legal practice.