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07 May 2020 / news

Impact of COVID-19 on litigation in Belgium

The coronavirus (COVID-19) measures have an impact on all aspects of our lives. It comes as no surprise that these measures also impact proceedings before the Belgian courts.
This Q&A provides a response to the main questions you might have relating to pending/future court proceedings.

By Royal Decree no. 2 enacted on 9 April 2020 (as amended by Royal Decree of 28 April 2020), the Belgian government adopted several measures which strongly impact civil court proceedings. On the one hand, the Royal Decree no.2 provides for the automatic extension of all deadlines set for (i) the administration of justice (such as deadlines for filing written submissions), (ii) lodging an appeal and (iii) statute of limitation periods. On the other hand, Royal Decree no. 2 provides that, for scheduled hearings for pleadings (on the merits), the case will be automatically dealt with in writing if all parties filed submissions. These measures apply to all Belgian courts.

For matters that are not regulated by Royal Decree no. 2, the specific measures relating to COVID-19 adopted by the Belgian courts need to be taken into account. The College of courts and tribunals (“College van hoven en rechtbanken/Collège des courts et tribunaux”) issued compulsory guidelines which apply to all courts in Belgium until, at least, 3 May 2020. These guidelines are not extended, but the College of courts and tribunals has issued an “exit-strategy” which includes different measures that will apply as of 18 May 2020. In addition, each court has adopted different, more detailed measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. This Q&A is based on the general guidelines applying to all Belgian courts. We therefore recommend to reach out to us for more information if you have specific questions relating to e.g. a scheduled hearing before a specific court.

We are monitoring all measures on a daily basis and we will provide regular updates here.

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