About Me

With over 30 years based in Brussels, my practice is a leading authority in competition law, covering articles 101 and 102, state aid, merger control and more.

I am the longest-practicing Spanish lawyer in the private EU Law practice in Brussels, having spent over 30 years in the capital of Europe. I have built up extensive litigation experience before the European Courts in Luxembourg, representing clients in more than 100 cases, including three in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice.

I have also represented clients under investigation, obtained phase I and phase II merger control clearance and filed complaints with the European Commission and other national competition authorities. I organise anti-trust audits to help identify current or potential infringements and devise compliance programmes to help prevent future infringements.

Working with colleagues across my team, I have extensive experience of representing leading US, Japanese and European clients in sectors including aviation, ICT, media, retail, sports and food & beverage.

Before joining Bird & Bird in 2009, I was head of the Brussels office at a leading US law firm and co-head of its European competition group.

I am the Editor of World Competition, Law and Economics Journal (Wolters Kluwer) and, as well as writing extensively on competition law, I am a frequent conference speaker. I am a member of the Working Groups on Competition and State Aids of the European Confederation of Business Associations (Business Europe) and sit on the Executive Committee of the Global Competition Law Centre. From 2000 until 2020, I was a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Natolin (Warsaw).
  • My area of focus is national and EU competition law. I represent complainants and defendants in proceedings with the EU Commission and before the EU Courts. I have successfully participated in commitment proceedings, settlements and standard cases as well as merger control and State aid cases.
  • I successfully represented EMPA in the second ever Commitments Decision in the so-called Cannes Extension Agreement (C2/38.681) and the complainant against IBM in IBM Maintenance Services (AT-39692).
  • I represented FMC in the second ever Settlement Decision of the Commission (Feedphosphates case).
  • I was instrumental in achieving the first amicus curiae intervention of the EU Commission before the Spanish Supreme Court (insurance cartel case).
  • I have litigated more than 100 cases before the EU Courts.
  • I have successfully represented parties in three cases before the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice. We were successful in all three cases despite the fact that the Advocate Generals had issued an Opinion contrary to our position. These cases belong to the exceptional category of cases (less than 20%) where the Court of Justice does not follow the Opinion of its Advocates General (FENIN C-205/03P; Eurojust C-160/03 and Andersen C-303/13P).
  • I have obtained the annulment of two Commission Decisions by the EU Courts in the fields of Antitrust and State Aids (CISAC, T-421/08, and DSB, T-92/11, on appeal C-303/13P). I also negotiated with the UK government and the Legal Service of the Commission the stay of proceedings until the Commission Decision expired without the aid being awarded in British Telecoms vs Commission, T-456/12.
  • I belong to the small group of lawyers which have been hired by the Legal Service of the Commission and other EU Agencies, (EUROJUST, Research Executive Agency, Plant Variaty Protection Agency, Single Resolution Board and the European Investment Bank) to represent the institution in litigation before the EU Courts.


  • Law Degree, Zaragoza (Spain) University
  • College of Europe, Masters in EU Law (Bruges)
  • Visiting professor College of Europe (Natolin)


  • Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid and Brussels Bar
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'A big thank you for all of your amazing work and this fantastic result – what a team! This is all down to your expertise and dedication to the case [Case C-343/20 P] and we are hugely appreciative.'

GCO, Head of Competition & Regulatory Affairs at easyJet

'Jose Rivas and Bird & Bird Competition team – top performance, outstanding competence and professionalism in all matters, both while dealing with the Commission and in litigating in front of the European Court of Justice.'

Legal 500 EMEA 2022

'José Rivas leads advisory mandates relating to vertical agreements or the requirement to license IP rights on FRAND terms. He also has experience of cartel cases before the CJEU. 'We can get ahead of the game because he is very good at making sure we are aware of things going on in the sector'.'

Chambers Europe 2020

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