DWL Wishes everyone the very best for 2016. This year should bring the eagerly anticipated adaptation of Belgian criminal procedural law so as to bring it into line with European Directive 2013/48/EU (the so-called Salduz bis Directive). This adaptation should be completed by 27 November next at the latest and should give everyone the right to access to a lawyer from the first stage of police questioning or the start of any investigative measure.
What’s more, according to this Directive, lawyers should be allowed to ‘actively’ defend their client. Will 2016 finally mark the, for Belgium, historic start of the adversarial investigation process? Will criminal lawyers also be able to raise an effective ‘on-the-spot defence’ during the investigative stages? At DWL, we are more than ready!
10 January 2016, Gert Warson
As of 1 February, only lawyers who successfully completed the ‘Special Training Programme Cassation Proceedings in Criminal Matters’ will be able to file appeals before the Court of Cassation (Belgian Supreme Court). From this date onwards, it will only be possible to submit grounds for cassation on the basis of a statement and that statement in cassation will have to be signed by a lawyer who completed the special training programme.
The law under which that arrangement was introduced forms part of a general plan to make courts less accessible to citizens. The view is that this arrangement will see a reduction in the number of cassation proceedings being launched from 1 February 2016 onwards. DWL is not convinced. However, since the four DWL lawyers have successfully completed this special training programme, DWL is, now more than ever, armed with the tools to raise a well-balanced defence before the criminal courts so that any subsequent cassation proceedings stand an even better chance of success!
23 January 2016, Gert Warson