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11-Aug-2017 20:28

The paper history: private and public publishing Belgian legal publishing has never been a really booming business.It suffers somehow from the small size of the country, which is even worsened by the fact that publishers have to choose either for the Dutch or French language.The ordinary courts rank in four levels: “Tribunal de Police/Politierechtbank” (criminal) and “Tribunal des Juges de Paix/Vredegerechten” (civil) are the lowest levels for small felonies or conciliation matters.Normal starting level (first instance) is the “Tribunal de Première Instance/Rechtbank van Eerste Aanleg” (civil and criminal), which is called correctional court or juvenile court in criminal matters.Finally, the “Cour de Cassation/Hof van Cassatie” is the highest appeal level, dealing only with points of law, no new facts can be brought before this court, just like in the French system.Although civil and criminal courts are both in the same “ordinary” court system, it must be stressed that criminal cases have a specific “foreplay”, with preliminary investigations, an Examining Magistrate and a Public Attorney.For many years, the government did little more than publish the Official Gazette and was not able to produce consolidated texts of legislation in a suitable way.

Commercial courts have lay judges alongside professional magistrates and social law cases appear in the labour tribunal.The Belgian state was formed as a constitutional monarchy in 1830, as a compromise between French and Dutch claims, appeased by the British government.