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Belgium / Constitutional Court / 13/2017

Non profit organisation ‘Bewonersgroep Onze Tuin’, D.M. and others, F.B and P.V., ‘Order van Vlaamse balies’ and Dominique Mathys, l’Ordre des avocats à la Cour de cassation and Bruno Maes, non profit organisation ‘Aktiekomitee Red de Voorkempen’ and others, non profit organisation ‘Associations Belges des Consommateurs Test-Achats and l’Ordre des barreaux francophones et germanophones v Belgium

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Constitutional Court
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
09/02/2017

Key facts of the case: 

The Law of 28 April 2015 reforms the court office fees. Instead of being fixed, those fees are set in proportion to the value of the claim. Furthermore, a court office fee is added for labour and fiscal cases for requests of relatively high value. The parties argue that those added fees violate the right to access to a judge, because they would make it harder for poorer citizens to access a judge. They put forward alleged violation of Articles 10, 11 and 13 of the Consitution combined with Articles 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. 

Outcome of the case:

The Court annulled the contested dispositions based on discrimination between litigants on the basis of the claim’s value, which is not pertinent to achieving the goal pursued by the legislator.