Judiciary of Belgium

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The court system of Belgium is similar to the French one. Belgium however evolved from a unitary to a federal state, but the judicial system has not been adapted to a federal system.

The native names in this article are respectively Dutch and French. The German names are not mentioned.

Normal judicial system

The territory of Belgium is subdivided into 5 judicial areas (Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Mons and Liege), 27 judicial arrondissements and 225 judicial cantons.

Below is a summary of the court system:

Social law Commercial law Civil law Criminal law
Federal territory Court of Cassation (Hof van Cassatie / Cour de cassation)
Social Chamber — Civil and Commercial Chamber — Criminal Chamber
Judicial areas (5) Court of Labour (Arbeidshof / Cour du travail) Court of Appeal (Hof van beroep / Cour d'appel)
Provinces/Brussels (11) Court of Assize (Hof van Assisen / Cour d'Assises), a jury trial for felonies and political trials
Judicial arrondissements (27) Labour Court (Arbeidsrechtbank / Tribunal du travail) Commercial Court (Rechtbank van koophandel / Tribunal de commerce) Court of First Instance (Rechtbank van eerste aanleg / Tribunal de première instance)
1-3 per judicial arrondissement (35) Police Court (Politierechtbank / Tribunal de police)
Judicial cantons (225) Justice of the peace (Vrederechter / justice de la Paix)

The Arrondissement Court (Arrondissementsrechtbank / Tribunal d'arrondissement) handles conflicts between the Labour Court, Commercial Court and Court of First Instance where it is unclear which court is competent for the respective case.

Legal help can be obtained from a House of Justice (Justitiehuis / Maison de justice), of which there is one in each judicial arrondissement and 2 in the arrondissement of Brussels (a Dutch- and French-speaking one).

Special courts

The Constitutional Court (Grondwettelijk Hof / Cour constitutionelle) is a special court mainly for conflicts between the federal level and regional level and was created as part of the federalisation of the country.

The government of Belgium also has a lot of administrative courts, of which the Council of State (Raad van State / Conseil d'État) is the main one.

International courts

As a member state of several international organisations, their international courts also have jurisdiction in Belgium:

See also


External links