On January 2nd, a collective of 13 Public Welfare Offices in Brussels and Wallonia, and nine associations, lodged an action for annulment in the Constitutional Court. This is in respect of the new article of the Belgian criminal procedure code, which now forces all social security institutions to lift the professional confidentiality requirement, where a given individual is suspected of terrorism offences.
In the collective’s view, the prohibition for those under a professional confidentiality obligation, as regards information gained during the course of their occupation, is not just simply necessary to maintain the relationship of trust. More broadly it falls within respecting the rule of law and protecting fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The collective acknowledges that fighting terrorism is necessary. However, passing legislation does not automatically mean that it is contextually applicable to today’s society. This is because, in its view, here the judicial framework around professional confidentiality already enables professionals to be relieved of their duty of confidentiality, when in cases of serious, real and imminent danger. This does, for example, include terrorist threats or related incidents.