Court of Appeal to rule on the legality of Belgium’s Covid measures before 30 April
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Court of Appeal to rule on the legality of Belgium’s Covid measures before 30 April

Credit: Belga

On Monday morning, the counsel for the Belgian State asked the Brussels Court of Appeal to overturn its decision ordering the State to lift “all coronavirus measures,” which was handed down on 31 March.

According to the State’s counsel, the legal basis for the Ministerial Decrees restricting people’s freedoms in the context of the coronavirus crisis is sufficient, contrary to what the court ruled.

For their part, the lawyers of the League for Human Rights – which had taken the case to court – repeated its main demand: to prohibit the State from taking any measures via these Ministerial Decrees, and to have the measures that were already taken lifted.

According to counsel for the Belgian State, the court’s order raises several problems, starting with the question of jurisdiction.

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“Only the Council of State is competent to annul an administrative act. The League for Human Rights had initially lodged an appeal with the Council of State, which rejected it,” lawyer Emmanuel Jacubowitz stated.

However, the counsel for the League replied that the Brussels court had not gone against the Council of State, as it had not annulled the Decrees, but ordered the government to end their apparent illegality.

The judge gave the Belgian State 30 days to provide a sound legal basis, or face a penalty of €5,000 per day that this period is exceeded, with a maximum limit of €200,000.

“Before talking about the power of jurisdiction and the separation of powers, let’s talk about the rule of law,” argued Audrey Lackner, a lawyer for the League. “The State knows perfectly well that there is no legal basis.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times