Walter Van Steenbrugge

Partner Criminal Law

Walter Van Steenbrugge is the founder of the office together with Jo Van Acker. His characteristic drive colors the style of the law firm. Walter Van Steenbrugge acts in sports and criminal cases.

Walter Van Steenbrugge is a national and international criminal lawyer who has been a champion of fundamental human rights for three decades. For both victims and perpetrators of crimes. He goes to the extreme in every case. His credo is to treat every case as if it were himself or one of his intimates.

However, his open mind also brings him to other disciplines. He is the starter of the Forensic Competence Center (FCC). This is a thinking and working group of specialists from various domains (psychiatry, psychology, neurology, moral philosophy and communication sciences) that approaches files within the walls of the office together with the criminalists of the lawyer team.

Many proceedings are conducted before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the United Nations Human Rights Committee. Recently, in June 2019, the office achieved a major success for the United Nations on illegal detentions and kidnappings of Gülenists in Turkey.

In addition, Walter Van Steenbrugge is also a specialist in sports law. He provides legal assistance to athletes and clubs, both judicially and extrajudicially. That starts with advice to sports associations in case of disputes or to individual athletes who have to negotiate their contract. But Walter Van Steenbrugge also set new standards in high-profile national and international sports (doping) cases. He defends professional and amateur athletes or supporters who are confronted with sports sanctions law.

The word and the pen are his permanent tools. He pleads in Dutch and French. Walter Van Steenbrugge is also the author of books, legal contributions, blogs and opinion pieces. He speaks during study days and lectures and participates in public debates about justice.

From 1 October 2019 Walter Van Steenbrugge will guide students of Ghent University at the Faculty of Law in the 'legal clinic human rights', a partnership that is being set up with Ghent University.

Degrees and qualifications

Law degree, Ghent University, 1987


Law firm Luc Van Den Bossche


Registered at the Ghent Bar since 1987
Member of the Criminal Procedure Committee of the Flemish Bar Council


Legal advice for perpetrators and victims of crime
National and international criminal law
Human rights
Criminal business law
Drug cases
Assize cases
Sports law
Doping cases
Sports sanction law
Disciplinary law


Dutch, French, English


Lecturer in criminal law and criminal procedure law in the vocational training for lawyers of the Flemish Bar Council
Guest lecturer at various universities, colleges and secondary and primary schools
Guest lecturer in the permanent education of Ghent University and Artevelde University College about Forensic Behavioral Sciences
Teacher at the National Police School
Author of blogs ( and opinion pieces
Author of multiple legal contributions and books
Regular columnist for the journal Sport & Strategie (
Speaker at study days, regularly gives lectures and participates in public debates

Legal Contributions

Contribution to The conscience of our criminal lawyers, Margot Vanderstraeten, Linkeroever Publishers, 2011.
Playing judge is just as impossible in sports. Analysis of the decision of the judge in preliminary relief proceedings in Brussels dated 14 December 2009 in the case Wickmayer and Malisse, TSP 2010, ep 1, 8-13.
Victim of Sports Aggression: Danger Not Just on the Field but on the Court?, TSP 2010, Ep 2, 8-13.
In memoriam Jan Wauters 12 Jun 2010, TSP 2010, ep. 3, 3.
The WADA [World Anti Doping Agency] and Its Quest for Power: But What About the Athlete?, TSP 2010, eps 5, 35-39.
The draft internment law: suffering finally relieved?, Fatik 2007, eps 114, 16-20, A. De Clerck and W. Van Steenbrugge.
What justice in Belgium really stands for. On splitting scenarios and real solutions, in X., What Belgium stands for: a Future Vision, G. Buelens, J. Goossens, D. Van Reybrouck (eds.), Meulenhoff/Manteau, 2007.
Contribution in Order of the Day, Theme: Internment – Unlocked, 2005, Academia Press.
Internees and Human Rights, in X., Freedoms and Deprivation of Liberty. Human rights of detainees, E. Brems ea (eds.), Intensentia, Antwerp, 2005, 307-322.
The internment of delinquents with a mental disorder. Some considerations on the preliminary draft law, in the light of Article 6 of the ECHR Treaty, Order of the Day 2001, ep. 15, 61-68.
Some considerations regarding the Franchimont Act, Ad Rem 2004.
Assize procedure: pro vs. contra, Ad Rem 2004, eps 1, 39-45, J. De Man, H. Diependaele, M. Geyskens, W. Mertens, J. Swennen, W. Van Steenbrugge, P. Van Eeckhaut.
Reflections on the Act of 11 July 1994 on the acceleration and modernization of criminal justice, Ex.Crim. 1994, ep. 16.

Opinion & blog

Walter Van Steenbrugge on Article 6 and the right to a fair trial
Human Rights Unltd. Fried van Hoof Award


W. Van Steenbrugge, Debt and Fine: please without a blindfold, Academia Press, 2018
W. Van Steenbrugge, Punishments on a Human Scale, Luster Publishers, 2012
W. Van Steenbrugge, La parôle est libre, la plume aussi ..., 2008
W. Van Steenbrugge, The Justice Affair, Meulenhoff/Manteau, 2007


0032 (0)9 269 10 69
personal assistant: Louise Verhelst, – 0032 (0)9 269 10 61