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Civil Law in Belgium

Civil Law in Belgium

The Civil Code in Belgium 

The Civil Law in Belgium governs the laws and regulation of the Civil Code. The current Civil Code in Belgium is based on the French Civil Code developed in 1804, named Napoleonic Code, which is based on the principles of private property, the freedom of contract and biding contract.

The Belgian Civil Code helps citizens understand the law and therefore apply it easily, and therefore avoide as much as possible the recourse to justice. The language used for the Civil Code is clear and accessible to everyone, and the rules are rational and systematic. In addition, the code is egalitarian, meaning that everyone has the same rights. 

Differences between Common Law and Civil Law in Belgium

The main difference between a Common Law System and a Civil Law System in Belgium is that the last one makes a fundamental distinction between public and private law, and Belgium is one of the countries that applies this differentiation, therefore for lawyers in Belgium it is an important distinction. While Private Law in Belgium solves disputes between individuals and regulates the relations among citizens, the Public Law manages the relations between the state and its citizens in regards to internal organization of the states.

Belgian Courts apply the law to a case fact

The Belgian Civil Law contains a large number of general rules and principles and it only providing guidelines and frameworks without details. Therefore, the courts apply the laws from the code to case facts. However, since the code needs to regulate all cases that could occur in practice, in special cases that are not specifically regulated, the courts apply general principles. For assistance in law interpretation and personalized consultancy for complex cases our Belgian litigation attorneys are here to help you.

Our Belgian law firm can provide information on various legal aspects. Contact us for more information. 

Constitution of Belgium, the highest legal code of laws

Belgium’s Constitution is the highest legal rule in the internal legal order, and doctrine is a main priority in the Belgian Civil Law. It dates back to 1831 and it established Belgium as a centralized unitary state that evolved since 1970 into a federal state. The most important change that occured in the Belgian Constitution was the introduction of the Court of Arbitration which in 2013 has seen an expansion of competencies.

Doctrine is more important than jurisprudence, as applies general principles and is only a secondary source of law of explanation. In comparison to Common Law, in the Civil Law in Belgium the separation of the powers is highly important, since only the legislator has the power to  legislate, and not the judge . Judges must nterpret the law and bring suggestions.  

If your are interested in the types of Courts in Belgium, please see the related articles on our website, or schedule a meeting with us.