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The Belgian judicial system AIAKOS – 25 November 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "The Belgian judicial system AIAKOS – 25 November 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Belgian judicial system AIAKOS – 25 November 2013

2 Belgium, some facts °1830 constitutional monarchy  king Philippe  prime minister 3 official languages: D, F, G area: km² population: slogan: “strength in unity” Belgium

3 Belgium, a federal state 1 king 1 federal State (= member EU) 3 regions (economics, labour market,…) -Flemish region -Walloon region -Brussels-capital region 3 communities (personal affairs, education,…) -Flemish community -French community -German-speaking community

4 Belgium, a federal state 1 king 1 federal State (= member EU) 3 regions (economics, labour market,…) -Flemish region -Walloon region -Brussels-capital region 3 communities (personal affairs, education,…) -Flemish community -French community -German-speaking community

5 1 king 1 federal State (= member EU) 3 regions (economics, labour market,…) -Flemish region -Walloon region -Brussels-capital region 3 communities (personal affairs, education,…) -Flemish community -French community -German-speaking community Belgium, a federal state

6 judiciary: federal level 3 High Courts: -Court of Cassation -Constitutional Court -Council of State  Brussels Lower Courts

7 Court of Cassation power to judge the lawfulness of judicial decisions ▫in general: interpretation/applicability of the law ▫criminal affairs: procedural mistakes doesn’t go into the heart of the matter: ▫in case of cassation: case referred to a lower court

8 Constitutional Court 12 judges watch over the observance of the Constitution mainly: ▫constitutional antidiscrimination principle ▫fundamental human rights ▫competence of legislator: power-defining rules between various legislative bodies power to overrule the legislator: ▫annulation/suspension of laws ▫declaration of unconstitutionallity and suspend laws, decrees and ordinances infringing on

9 Council of State administrative acts (individual and statutory) power to suspend and to annul contrariety to the legal rules in force an advisory body in legislative matters

10 Piramidal organisation of the jurdiciary (criminal + civil matters) 4 levels: judges of the peace (225) police tribunals (28) tribunals of first instance (27) + commercial tribunals + labour tribunals courts of appeal (5) + labour courts Court of Cassation (1)

11 Belgium: 5 judicial areas Ghent Antwerp Brussels Mons Liège Third level: -courts of appeal -labour courts

12 27 judicial districts: at present Second level: -tribunals of first Instance -labour tribunals -commercial tribunals -(police tribunals)

13 After reform: 12 judicial districts Second level: -tribunals of first Instance -labour tribunals -commercial tribunals -(police tribunals)

14 187 judicial cantons 225 judges of the peace E.g.: judicial cantons of the judicial district of Bruges

15 Criminal law – main principles (1) 3 types of crimes: crimes sanctioned by criminal penalties ▫imprisonment: 5-30 years or lifelong ▫fine: 156 EUR or more crimes sanctioned by correctional penalties ▫imprisonment: 8 days-5 years ▫fine: 156 EUR or more ▫community service: hours crimes sanctioned by police penalties ▫imprisonment: 1-7 days ▫fine: 1-25 EUR ▫community service: hours + depenalized “crimes” ▫administrative fine

16 Criminal law – main principles (2) procedural guaranties: 2-phased system investigation = inquisitorial ▫public prosecutor / judge of investigation (+ investigation tribunals) ▫secrecy ▫written proceedings ▫access to a lawyer during interrogations ??? => controversial, due to judgements of ECHR hearing = contradicatory ▫in public ▫public prosecutor vs. defendant + lawyer ▫penalties

17 Civil law – some issues (1) Civil Code = Code Napoléon (1804) family matters ▫marriage between persons of same sex = officially recognised contractual affairs ▫equality of parties ▫freedom of agreement ▫but: lots of corrections (e.g. consumer contracts) law of tort ▫he who does wrong, has the obligation to pay compensation ▫equivalence theory: fault – damage – causuality

18 How to become a judge in Belgium?

19

20 magistrates = public prosecutors + judges magistrates are appointed for life by the King (governement) after selection procedure before the Counsel of Justice ▫independent body ▫composition: magistrates + lawyers + non-magistrates kandidates: 3 ways of access to the selection procedure ▫highly experienced lawyers (>20 years at bar) => oral examination ▫experienced lawyers (>10/12 years relevant professional experience) => selective examination ▫judicial trainees ( comparative examination + evaluation of period of traineeship

21 Judicial training in Belgium duration of the training ▫public prosecutors: 18 months (short version) ▫judges: 3 years (long version) long version ▫15 months as a public prosecutor > 9 with full competence ▫6 months of external training (non-magistrate actors in justice) ▫15 months at tribunal of first instance occasional education at IGO (institute of judicial training) remunaration (1/2 of salary of an appointed judge)

22 THE END Thanks for your attention!


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