The High Council of Justice (CSJ) is voicing serious reservations about the government initiative to create an English-speaking business court in Brussels. The CSJ indicated, on Monday, in a communiqué that the current bill does not guarantee the new organ sufficient independence.
In October, the Michel government approved the project to create the Brussels International Business Court (“BIBC”), an English-speaking Court to settle international commercial court disputes. Both individual cases and the final judgment will be in English. The government says that the BIBC will not receive public funding and will be self-financing, in particular through registration fees paid by the parties.
The High Council of Justice is however voicing serious doubts as to the draft law. The CSJ mentions, in particular, the impartiality and the independence of judges as an issue. It responded thus, “The project grants, to the Executive, powers which are usually reserved for the legislature or the CSJ, which is a constitutional body independent of the three constitutional powers.”
This criticism refers to the appointment of its members by the Minister of Justice. The CSJ fears that this “interference” may give rise to numerous disagreements around the appointment of members and even to the application of verdicts, especially abroad. It goes on, “This issue merits particular attention because the Belgian state could be held financially liable.”
Moreover the CSJ fears that the creation of the BIBC will lead to the violation of the principle of equality between the parties if not everyone is able to have access to it. It also questions its “opaque” form of financing. The High Council of Justice says that the self-financing nature of the BIBC has yet to be demonstrated.