Marleen Denef is a partner at Curia and leads the Business Law team together with Bart Windey.


Marleen is in charge of the Non-Profit Law team specialised in all aspects of social profit organisations and, in particular, in non-profit associations (VZWs), foundations, international non-profit associations, professional associations, de facto associations... Along with her team she provides day-to-day assistance for non-profit and social profit organisations ranging from international federations and professional associations to fundraisers, research centres, homes for the elderly, hospitals, sports federations, and cultural centres… She advises these organisations in various matters such as dealings with public authorities (recognition, subsidies), competitors (business activities, name and trademark disputes), directors and employees as well as all related responsibility and liability issues.


In recent years, Marleen and her team have been consulted in particular for assignments concerning collaborations and networking in the social profit sector. More and more structures are opting for partnerships and increases in scale over the classic merger. Public-private partnerships, cooperative collaborations models, group structures and autonomisation are used increasingly in the social profit sector. This also includes the creation of subsidiaries for commercial activities, conversion to a statistical research organisation, partnerships and joint ventures with third parties. The Non-Profit Law team also regularly deals with financial techniques taken from classic corporate law. These include bond offerings and the raising of capital with prospectuses. Marleen also regularly provides guidance on in-house governance for large social profit organisations involving collaboration and involvement of the board of directors and advisory committees as well as the development of delegation codes and reporting lines.


Marleen’s team is also involved in providing advice on tax matters and is assisted by highly specialised tax experts where necessary.


Career & profile

Marleen obtained her PhD in 2002 at the Jan Ronse Institute for corporate law of Leuven University, under the guidance of Professor Koen Geens. From 2003 onwards, Marleen worked full-time at the bar, first as a partner at Dewallens & partners, subsequently as a founding partner of Curia.


Since 2004, Marleen has been teaching the "Masters after Masters in Corporate Law" programme at the HUB (formerly: KU Brussels) for a specialised course on "Associations and Foundations Law ". Between 2007 and 2013, she was also a guest lecturer at the University of Antwerp, first as the interdisciplinary ‘Chair of Social Economy’ and , from September 2009, as the Acerta Chair of Social Profit for the course “Legal framework of social profit organisations”.


Marleen is also very frequently invited to participate in training and education in these areas, both for federations in a specific subsector and for professional training institutions. Each year, she provides recurring courses in specialised practical training programmes at the University of Antwerp School of Management and the Social Governance Academy (in collaboration with Guberna).


Marleen regularly publishes on various topics relating to corporate and group law in general and the non-profit and social profit sectors in particular and is a regular contributor to the journal “Tijdschrift voor Rechtspersoon en Vennootschap (T.R.V.)”.


Between 2006 and 2010, she was an independent director of the Association for Social Profit Undertakings (Verso).


Due to her mixed experience, both in the theory and practice of associations, Marleen is also regularly invited to participate in consultation or steering committees. For example, she led the governance project of the King Boudewijn Foundation which resulted in a set of good governance recommendations for the social profit sector in September 2010, she is involved in the development of Hospital Governance recommendations (Icuro) and participates in a seminar on Cultural Governance recommendations. Since October 2009 she has also been a member of the Acerta Social Profit Advisory Council which closely follows all new trends in the social profit sector.


Curia - Arnould Nobelstraat 38 - 3000 Leuven - T +32 16 50 00 51 - F +32 16 50 00 52

Congresstraat 35 - 1000 Brussel - T +32 2 503 53 00 - F +32 2 503 68 00