Bernardus (Ben) Smulders is a Professor in the LLM in International and European Law programme of the Brussels School of Governance at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), where since 2007 he has been teaching the highly interactive course of International and European Competition Law, in which he puts the emphasis on a multidisciplinary and at the same time practical approach to the subject. He graduated in law at Leiden University, obtained a Master’s Degree (LL.M.) at the London School of Economics and completed management executive programmes at the London Business School, INSEAD (Fontainebleau) and Stanford Business School.
Prof. Smulders is currently a Director and Principal Legal Advisor in the European Commission Legal Service, heading the Trade Policy & WTO team. Prior to this, he worked in the Legal Service as Director and Principal Legal Advisor, heading the Institutions & EMU team and served before as member of its Internal market, State aid control & Anti-dumping and Competition team. Over an aggregate period of 12 years, he gained considerable experience in representing the EU in litigation before the EU General Court and EU Court of Justice, as well as before the EFTA Court, including in a series of post Lisbon Treaty landmark cases. He served from 2014 until 2019 as Head of Cabinet to the European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans, and from 2004-2008 in the same position to the Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, after having served as a member of cabinet of several Commissioners as well as of the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi (2000 – 2004). Prior to being employed by the European Commission, Ben Smulders practised law as a partner in the Amsterdam and Brussels office of the international law firm Nauta Dutilh.
He is also a Visiting Professor of Law at various academic institutions across Europe, as well as a member of several scientific councils and boards . He is a substitute judge (Raadsheer plaatsvervanger) in the Court of Appeal of The Hague (civil and commercial chamber), co-edits the Common Market Law Review and authored numerous publications on a great variety of EU law related subjects.