1. The Constitution of Federal Belgium

TITLE I
ON FEDERAL BELGIUM, ITS COMPONENTS AND ITS TERRITORY

Article 1

Belgium is a federal State composed of Communities and Regions.

Art. 2

Belgium comprises three Communities: the Flemish Community, the French Community and the German-speaking Community.

Art. 3

Belgium comprises three Regions: the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region and the Brussels Region.

Art. 4

Belgium comprises four linguistic regions: the Dutch-speaking region, the French-speaking region, the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital and the German-speaking region.
 Each municipality of the Kingdom forms part of one of these linguistic regions.
 The boundaries of the four linguistic regions can only be changed or corrected by a law passed by a majority of the votes cast in each linguistic group in each House, on condition that a majority of the members of each group is present and provided that the total number of votes in favour that are cast in the two linguistic groups is equal to at least two thirds of the votes cast.

Art. 5

The Flemish Region comprises the following provinces: Antwerp, Flemish Brabant, West Flanders, East Flanders and Limburg. The Walloon Region comprises the following provinces: Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Liege, Luxembourg and Namur.
  A law can exclude certain territories, of which it establishes the boundaries, from division into provinces, bring them directly under the federal executive power and subject them to a specific statute. This law must be passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Art. 6

Provincial subdivisions can only be established by the law.

Art. 7

The boundaries of the State, the provinces and the municipalities can only be changed or corrected by virtue of a law.

TITLE I BIS
ON GENERAL POLITICAL OBJECTIVES OF FEDERAL BELGIUM, THE COMMUNITIES AND THE REGIONS

Art. 7 bis

In the exercise of their respective competences, the Federal State, the Communities and the Regions pursue the objectives of sustainable development in its social, economic and environmental aspects, taking into account the solidarity between the generations.

TITLE II
ON BELGIANS AND THEIR RIGHTS

Art. 8

The status as a Belgian citizen is acquired, kept and lost according to rules established by civil law.
 The Constitution and the other laws concerning political rights, establish, apart from this status, the necessary conditions for the exercising of these rights.
 In a departure from the second paragraph, the law can, in accordance with Belgium’s international and supranational obligations, establish a right to vote for citizens of the European Union who are not Belgian citizens.
 The right to vote referred to in the preceding paragraph can be extended by a law to Belgian residents who are not citizens of a Member State of the European Union, under the conditions and in accordance with the terms specified in such a law.

Transitional provision

The law referred to in the fourth paragraph cannot be passed before 1 January 2001.

Art. 9

Naturalisation is granted by the federal legislative power

Art. 10

No class distinctions exist in the State
 Belgians are equal before the law; they alone are eligible for civil and military service, but for the exceptions that can be created by a law for particular cases.
 Equality between women and men is guaranteed.

Art. 11

Enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognised for Belgians must be provided without discrimination. To this end, laws and federate laws guarantee among others the rights and freedoms of ideological and philosophical minorities.

Art. 11 bis

The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 guarantees that women and men may equally exercise their rights and freedoms, and in particular promotes their equal access to elective and public mandates.
 The Council of Ministers and the Governments of the Communities and the Regions include both women and men.
 The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 provides for women and men to sit on the permanent deputations of the provincial councils, the colleges of the burgomasters and aldermen, the councils and permanent committees of the public centres for social welfare and on the executives of any other inter-provincial, supra-municipal, inter-municipal or intra-municipal territorial body.
 The preceding paragraph does not apply when the law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 provides for the direct election of the members of the permanent deputations of the provincial councils, of aldermen, of the members of the councils and permanent committees of the social welfare centres or of the members of the executives of any other inter-provincial, supra-municipal, inter-municipal or intra-municipal territorial body.

Art. 12

The freedom of the individual is guaranteed.
 No one can be prosecuted except in the cases provided for by the law, and in the form prescribed by the law.
 Except in the case of a flagrant offence, no one can be arrested except on the strength of a reasoned judge’s order, which must be served at the latest within forty-eight hours from the deprivation of liberty and which may only result in provisional detention.

Art. 13

No one can be separated, against his will, from the judge that the law has assigned to him.

Art. 14

No punishment can be introduced or administered except by virtue of the law.

Art. 14 bis

Capital punishment is abolished.

Art. 15

One’s home is inviolable; no house search may take place except in the cases provided for by the law and in the form prescribed by the law.

Art. 16

No one can be deprived of his property except in the case of expropriation for a public purpose, in the cases and manner established by the law and in return for fair compensation paid beforehand.

Art. 17

Assets may not be confiscated as a means of punishment.

Art. 18

Civil death is abolished; it cannot be re-introduced.

Art. 19

Freedom of worship, its public practice and freedom to demonstrate one’s opinions on all matters are guaranteed, but offences committed when this freedom is used may be punished.

Art. 20

No one can be obliged to contribute in any way whatsoever to the acts and ceremonies of a religion or to observe its days of rest.

Art. 21

The State does not have the right to intervene either in the appointment or in the installation of ministers of any religion whatsoever or to forbid these ministers from corresponding with their superiors, from publishing the acts of these superiors, but, in this latter case, normal responsibilities as regards the press and publishing apply.
 The laws, federate laws and rules referred to in Article 134 guarantee the protection of this right.

Art. 22

Everyone has the right to the respect of his private and family life, except in the cases and conditions determined by the law.
 De wet, het decreet of de in artikel 134 bedoelde regel waarborgen de bescherming van dat recht.

Art. 22 bis

Each child is entitled to have his or her moral, physical, mental and sexual integrity respected.
 Each child has the right to express his or her views in all matters affecting him or her, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with his or her age and maturity.
 Each child has the right to benefit from measures and facilities which promote his or her development.
 In all decisions concerning children, the interest of the child is a primary consideration.
 The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 ensures these rights of the child.

Art. 22 ter

Every person with a disability has the right to full inclusion in society, including the right to reasonable accommodation.
 The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 guarantees the protection of this right.

Art. 23

Everyone has the right to lead a life in keeping with human dignity.
 To this end, the laws, federate laws and rules referred to in Article 134 guarantee economic, social and cultural rights, taking into account corresponding obligations, and determine the conditions for exercising them.
 These rights include among others:

  1. the right to employment and to the free choice of an occupation

within the context of a general employment policy, aimed among others at ensuring a level of employment that is as stable and high as possible, the right to fair terms of employment and to fair remuneration, as well as the right to information, consultation and collective negotiation;
2. the right to social security, to health care and to social, medical and legal aid;
3. the right to decent accommodation;
4. the right to the protection of a healthy environment;
5. the right to cultural and social fulfilment;
6. the right to family allowances.

Art. 24

§ 1. Education is free; any preventive measure is forbidden; the punishment of offences is regulated only by the law or federate law.
 The community offers free choice to parents.
 The community organises non-denominational education. This implies in particular the respect of the philosophical, ideological or religious beliefs of parents and pupils
 Schools run by the public authorities offer, until the end of compulsory education, the choice between the teaching of one of the recognised religions and non-denominational ethics teaching.

§ 2. If a community, in its capacity as an organising authority, wishes to delegate powers to one or several autonomous bodies, it can only do so by federate law adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

§ 3. Everyone has the right to education with the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. Access to education is free until the end of compulsory education.
  All pupils of school age have the right to moral or religious education at the community’s expense.

§ 4. All pupils or students, parents, teaching staff or institutions are equal before the law or federate law. The law and federate law take into account objective differences, in particular the characteristics of each organising authority that warrant appropriate treatment.

§ 5. The organisation, the recognition and the subsidising of education by the community are regulated by the law or federate law.

Art. 25

The press is free; censorship can never be introduced; no security can be demanded from authors, publishers or printers.
 When the author is known and resident in Belgium, neither the publisher, the printer nor the distributor can be prosecuted.

Art. 26

Belgians have the right to gather peaceably and without arms, in accordance with the laws that can regulate the exercise of this right, without submitting it to prior authorisation.
 This provision does not apply to open air meetings, which are entirely subject to police regulations.

Art. 27

Belgians have the right to enter into association or partnership; this right cannot be subject to any preventive measure.

Art. 28

Everyone has the right to address petitions signed by one or more persons to the public authorities.
 Constituted bodies are alone entitled to address petitions under a collective name.

Art. 29

The confidentiality of letters is inviolable.
 The law determines which officials may violate the confidentiality of letters entrusted to the postal service.

Art. 30

The use of languages spoken in Belgium is optional; only the law can rule on this matter, and only for acts of the public authorities and for judicial affairs.

Art. 31

No authorisation is necessary prior to taking legal action against civil servants for offences resulting from their administration, except with regard to what has been ruled on concerning ministers and members of the Community and Regional Governments.

Art. 32

Everyone has the right to consult any administrative document and to obtain a copy, except in the cases and conditions stipulated by the laws, federate laws or rules referred to in Article 134.

TITLE III
ON POWERS

Art. 33

All powers emanate from the Nation.
 These powers are exercised in the manner laid down by the Constitution.

Art. 34

The exercising of specific powers can be assigned by a treaty or by a law to institutions of public international law.

Art. 35

The federal authority only has competences in the matters that are formally assigned to it by the Constitution and the laws passed by virtue of the Constitution itself.
 The Communities and the Regions, each in its own field of concern, have competences for the other matters, under the conditions and in the terms stipulated by the law. This law must be adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Transitional provision

The law referred to in the second paragraph determines the date on which this article comes into force. This date cannot precede the date of the entry into force of the new article to be inserted in Title III of the Constitution, which determines the competences exclusive to the federal authority.

Art. 36

The federal legislative power is exercised jointly by the King, the House of Representatives and the Senate

Art. 37

The federal executive power, as regulated by the Constitution, belongs to the King.

Art. 38

Each Community has those powers which are recognised by the Constitution or by the laws passed by virtue of the Constitution.

Art. 39

The law assigns to the regional bodies that it creates and that are composed of elected representatives the power to manage the matters that it determines, with the exception of those referred to in Articles 30 and 127 to 129, within the scope and according to the manner laid down by a law. This law must be passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Art. 39 bis

Except for matters relating to finances or budget or matters that are regulated by a majority of two thirds of the votes cast, matters attributed exclusively to regional bodies can be the subject of a referendum in the Region concerned.
 The rule referred to in Article 134 determines the procedures and arrangements for the referendum, and is adopted by a majority of two thirds of the votes cast, under the condition that the majority of the members of the Parliament concerned is present. A law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph lays down additional majority requirements with respect to the Brussels-Capital Region.

Art. 39 ter

The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 that regulates the elections for the House of Representatives or a Community or Regional Parliament, and that is promulgated less than one year before the date on which the legislative term is to come to an end, comes into force no sooner than one year after it has been promulgated.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when the first elections for the European Parliament take place after it has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Art. 40

Judiciary power is exercised by the courts.
 Court decisions are executed in the name of the King.

Art. 41

Interests which are exclusively of a municipal or provincial nature are ruled on by municipal or provincial councils, according to the principles laid down by the Constitution. However, the rule referred to in Article 134 can abolish the provincial institutions in implementation of a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph. In such a case, the rule referred to in Article 134 can replace them by supra-municipal collectivities, the councils of which rule the exclusively supra-municipal interests in accordance with the principles established by the Constitution. The rule referred to in Article 134 must be adopted by a majority of two thirds of the votes cast, under the condition that the majority of the members of the Parliament concerned is present.
 The rule referred to in Article 134 defines the competences, working rules and mode of election of intra-municipal territorial bodies that are authorised to regulate matters of municipal interest.
 These intra-municipal territorial bodies are created in municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants following the initiative of the municipal council. Their members are directly elected. In implementation of a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, the federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 regulates the other conditions and the way in which such intra-municipal territorial bodies may be created.
 This federate law and the rule referred to in Article 134 can only be adopted by a majority of two thirds of the votes cast, under the condition that the majority of the members of the Parliament concerned is present.
 Matters of municipal, supra-municipal or provincial interest can be the subject of a referendum in the municipality, supra-municipal collectivity or province concerned. The rule referred to in Article 134 regulates the procedures and arrangements for the referendum.

CHAPTER I
ON THE FEDERAL HOUSES

Art. 42

The members of the two Houses represent the Nation, and not only those who elected them.

Art. 43

§ 1. For cases determined by the Constitution, the elected members of the House of Representatives are divided into a Dutch linguistic group and a French linguistic group, in the manner determined by the law.

§ 2. For cases determined by the Constitution, senators, except the senator appointed by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community, are divided into a Dutch linguistic group and a French linguistic group.
 The senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° and 6° make up the Dutch linguistic group of the Senate. The senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 2° to 4° and 7° make up the French linguistic group of the Senate.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014.
 The following provisions apply until that day:

Ҥ 1. For cases determined by the Constitution, the elected members of each House are divided into a Dutch linguistic group and a French linguistic group, in the manner determined by the law.

§ 2. The senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1°, 3° and 6° make up the Dutch linguistic group of the Senate. The senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 2°, 4° and 7° make up the French linguistic group of the Senate.”.

Art. 44

The Houses meet by right each year on the second Tuesday of October, unless they have been convened prior to this by the King.
 The Houses must meet for at least forty days each year. The Senate is a non-permanent body.
 The King pronounces the closing of the session.
 The King has the right to convene the Houses to an extraordinary meeting.

Transitional provision

The second sentence of the second paragraph comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Re¬gional Parliaments in 2014.

Art. 45

The King can adjourn the Houses. However, the adjournment cannot be for longer than one month, nor can it be repeated in the same session without the consent of the Houses.

Art. 46

The King has the right to dissolve the House of Representatives only if the latter, with the absolute majority of its members:

  1. either rejects a motion of confidence in the Federal Government and does not propose to the King, within three days of the day of the rejection of the motion, the appointment of a successor to the prime minister;
  2. or adopts a motion of no confidence with regard to the Federal Government and does not simultaneously propose to the King the appointment of a successor to the prime minister.

The motions of confidence and no confidence can only be voted on forty-eight hours after the tabling of the motion.
 Moreover, the King may, in the event of the resignation of the Federal Government, dissolve the House of Representatives after having received its agreement expressed by the absolute majority of its members.
 The act of dissolution convenes the electorate within forty days and the House of Representatives within two months.
 In case both Houses are dissolved in accordance with Article 195, the Houses are convened within three months.
 In case of early dissolution, the new federal parliamentary term may not extend beyond the day when the first election of the European Parliament following this dis¬solution is held.

Transitional provision

After the 2014 election of the European Parliament, a law, passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, fixes the date when the sixth paragraph comes into force. This date is that on which Article 65, third paragraph and Article 118, § 2, fourth sub-paragraph come into force.
 The fourth and fifth paragraphs come into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this date, the following provisions are applicable in lieu of the fourth and fifth paragraphs:

“The dissolution of the House of Representatives entails the dissolution of the Senate.
 The act of dissolution convenes the electorate within forty days and the Houses within two months.
 The dissolution of the House of Representatives leading to parliamentary elections at federal level that take place the same day as the 2014 election of the Community and Regional Parliaments entails the dissolution of the Senate. The electorate for the House of Representatives is convened within forty days. The Houses are convened within three months.”.

Art. 47

The sittings of the Houses are public.
 Nevertheless, each House can meet in camera at the request of its president or of ten members.
 It decides afterwards, by absolute majority, whether the sitting must be continued in public on the same subject.

Art. 48

Each House verifies the credentials of its members and judges any dispute that can be raised on this matter.

Art. 49

One cannot be a member of both Houses at the same time.

Art. 50

Any member of either House appointed by the King as minister and who accepts this appointment ceases to sit in Parliament and takes up his mandate again when the King has terminated his office as minister. The law determines the rules for his replacement in the House concerned.

Art. 51

Any member of either House appointed by the Federal Government to any salaried position other than that of minister and who accepts the appointment immediately ceases to sit in Parliament and only takes his seat again after having been re-elected.

Art. 52

Each session, each House appoints its president, its vice-presidents, and forms its bureau.

Art. 53

All resolutions are passed by an absolute majority of the votes cast, except for what is established by the rules of procedure of the Houses with regard to elections and nominations.
 If the vote is tied, the proposal submitted for discussion is rejected.
 Neither of the two Houses can pass a resolution unless a majority of its members is present.

Art. 54

Except for budgets and laws requiring a special majority, a reasoned motion signed by at least three-quarters of the members of one of the linguistic groups and tabled following the depositing of the report and prior to the final vote in a public sitting can declare that the provisions that it designates of a Government bill or private member’s bill can gravely damage relations between the Communities.
 In this case, Parliamentary procedure is suspended and the motion is referred to the Council of Ministers, which within thirty days gives its reasoned opinion on the motion and invites the House involved to pronounce on this opinion or on the Government bill or private member’s bill that, if need be, has been amended.
 This procedure can be applied only once by the members of a linguistic group with regard to the same Government bill or private member’s bill.

Art. 55

Votes are cast by sitting and standing or by call-over; on the laws as a whole is always voted by call-over. The election and nomination of candidates are carried out by secret ballot.

Art. 56

The House of Representatives has the right to hold an enquiry.
 At the request of fifteen of its members, the House of Representatives, a Community or Regional Parliament or the King, the Senate can decide by absolute majority of the votes cast, with at least a third of the votes cast in each linguistic group, that an information report will be drafted concerning an issue that also has repercussions on the competences of the Communities or Regions. The report is approved by absolute majority of the votes cast, with at least a third of the votes cast in each linguistic group.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provision applies:

“Each House has the right to hold an enquiry.”.

Art. 57

It is forbidden to present petitions to the Houses in person.
 The House of Representatives has the right to send to ministers petitions that are addressed to it. The ministers are obliged to give explanations on the content of these petitions whenever the House so requires.

Transitional provision

The second paragraph comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provision applies in lieu of the second paragraph:

“Each House has the right to send to ministers petitions that are addressed to it. The ministers are obliged to explain the content of these petitions whenever the House so requires.”.

Art. 58

No member of either House can be prosecuted or be the subject of any investigation with regard to opinions expressed and votes cast by him in the exercise of his duties.

Art. 59

Except in the case of a flagrant offence, no member of either House may, during a session and in criminal matters, be directly referred or summoned before a court or be arrested, except with the authorisation of the House of which he is a member.
 Except in the case of a flagrant offence, coercive measures requiring the intervention of a judge cannot, during a session and in criminal matters, be instituted against a member of either House, except by the first President of the appeal court at the request of the competent judge. This decision is to be communicated to the President of the House concerned.
 All searches or seizures executed by virtue of the preceding paragraph can be performed only in the presence of the President of the House concerned or a member appointed by him.
 During the session, only the officers of the public prosecutor’s office and competent officers may institute criminal proceedings against a member of either House.
 The member concerned of either House may at any stage of the judicial enquiry request during a session and in criminal matters that the House of which he is a member suspend proceedings. To grant this request, the House concerned must decide by a majority of two thirds of the votes cast.
 Detention of a member of either House or his prosecution before a court is suspended during the session if the House of which he is a member so requests.

Art. 60

Each House determines, in its rules of procedure, the way in which it exercises its duties.

SECTION I
ON THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Art. 61

The members of the House of Representatives are elected directly by citizens who are at least eighteen years of age and who do not fall within the categories of exclusion stipulated by the law.
 Each elector has the right to only one vote.

Art. 62

The composition of the electoral colleges is regulated by the law.
 Elections take place in accordance with the system of proportional representation that the law determines.
 Voting is obligatory and secret. It takes place in the municipality, except in the cases determined by the law.

Art. 63

§ 1. The House of Representatives is composed of one hundred and fifty members.

§ 2. The number of seats in each electoral district corresponds to the result of dividing the number of inhabitants of the electoral district by the federal divisor, which is obtained by dividing the number of the population of the Kingdom by one hundred and fifty.
 The remaining seats are assigned to the electoral districts with the greatest surplus of population not yet represented.

§ 3. The distribution of the members of the House of Representatives among the electoral districts is determined by the King in proportion to the population.
 The number of inhabitants in each electoral district is established every ten years by a census or by any other means defined by the law. The King publishes the results within six months.
 Within three months of this publication, the King determines the number of seats to be assigned to each electoral district.
 The new distribution is applied as of the following general election.

§ 4. The law determines the electoral districts; it also determines the conditions required to be an elector as well as the way in which elections are conducted.
 However, the law determines special rules with a view to protecting the legitimate interests of French and Dutch-speaking people in the former province of Brabant.
 The provisions which establish these special rules may only be amended by a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Art. 64

To be eligible, one must:

  1. be Belgian;
  2. enjoy civil and political rights;
  3. have reached the age of eighteen;
  4. be resident in Belgium.

No other condition of eligibility can be required.

Transitional provision

The first paragraph, 3° comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, and without prejudice to Article 64, 1°, 2° and 4°, one must have reached the age of twenty-one.

Art. 65

The members of the House of Representatives are elected for five years.
 The House is re-elected as a whole every five years.
 Elections for the House take place on the same day as elections for the European Parliament.

Transitional provision

After elections for the European Parliament have been held in 2014, a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph sets the date on which the third paragraph comes into force. This date is that on which Article 46, sixth paragraph and Article 118, § 2, fourth sub-paragraph come into force.
 Parliamentary elections at federal level will in any case take place on the same day as the first elections for the European Parliament following the publication of this revision in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Art. 66

Each member of the House of Representatives has an annual indemnity of twelve thousand francs.
 Within the national borders, the members of the House of Representatives have the right to free travel on all means of transport operated or conceded by the public authorities.
 The President of the House of Representatives can be granted an annual indemnity to be charged to the allowance that covers the expenses of this assembly.
 The House determines the amount that can be deducted from the indemnity to form a contribution to retirement and pension funds that it considers necessary to set up.

SECTION II
ON THE SENATE

Art. 67

§ 1. The Senate is composed of sixty senators, of whom:

  1. twenty-nine senators appointed by the Flemish Parliament from among its members or from among the members of the Dutch linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region;
  2. ten senators appointed from among its members by the Parliament of the French Community;
  3. eight senators appointed from among its members by the Parliament of the Walloon Region;
  4. two senators appointed from among its members by the French linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region;
  5. one senator appointed from among its members by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community;
  6. six senators appointed by the senators referred to in 1°;
  7. four senators appointed by the senators referred to in 2° to 4°.

§ 2. At least one of the senators referred to in § 1, 1° is to be legally resident in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital on the day of his election.
 Three of the senators referred to in § 1, 2° are member of the French linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region. As a departure from § 1, 2°, one of these three senators must not be a member of the Parliament of the French Community.

§ 3. The Senate is composed of no more than two-thirds of senators of the same gender.

§ 4. When a list mentioned in Article 68, § 2 is not represented by senators respectively referred to in § 1, 1° or in § 1, 2°, 3° or 4°, the senators referred to in § 1, 6° or in § 1, 7° may be appointed by the Members of the House of Representatives who have been elected on the aforesaid list.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

Ҥ 1. Without prejudice to Article 72, the Senate is composed of seventy-one senators, of whom:

  1. twenty-five senators elected in accordance with Article 61 by the Dutch electoral college;
  2. fifteen senators elected in accordance with Article 61 by the French electoral college;
  3. ten senators appointed from among its members by the Parliament of the Flemish Community, called the Flemish Parliament;
  4. ten senators appointed from among its members by the Parliament of the French Community;
  5. one senator appointed from among its members by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community;
  6. six senators appointed by the senators referred to in 1° and 3°;
  7. four senators appointed by the senators referred to in 2° and 4°.

When their Parliament is re-elected as a whole and this re-election does not coincide with the renewal of the Senate, the senators referred to in the first paragraph, 3° to 5° who no longer have a seat in their Parliament retain the mandate of senator until the opening of the first session following the re-election of their Parliament.

§ 2. § 2. At least one of the senators referred to in § 1,1°,3° and 6° is to be legally resident in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital on the day of his election.
 At least six of the senators referred to in § 1, 2°, 4° and 7° are to be legally resident in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital on the day of their election. If at least four of the senators referred to in § 1, 2° are not legally resident in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital on the day of their election, at least two of the senators referred to in § 1, 4° must be legally resident in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital on the day of their election.”.

Art. 68

§ 1. The Senate seats referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° are distributed among the lists according to the system of proportional representation determined by the law, in the way laid down by the law, on the basis of the addition of the vote counts of the lists obtained in the different electoral districts at the election for the Flemish Parliament.
 The lists of which the vote counts are added up in pursuance of the first subparagraph only qualify for being allocated Senate seats referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° provided that they have obtained at least one seat in the Flemish Parliament.
 The Senate seats referred to in Article 67, § 1, 2° to 4° are distributed among the lists according to the system of proportional representation determined by the law, in the way laid down by the law, on the basis of the addition of the vote counts of the lists obtained in the different electoral districts at the election for the Parliament of the Walloon Region and the vote counts of the lists for the French linguistic group obtained at the election for the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region.
 The lists of which the vote counts are added up in pursuance of the third subparagraph only qualify for being allocated Senate seats referred to in Article 67, § 1, 2° to 4° provided that they have obtained at least one seat respectively in the Parliament of the French Community, in the Walloon Parliament and in the French linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region.
 The law determines the rules for the appointment of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° to 4°, with the exception of the detailed rules which, in pursuance of a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, are laid down by the Community Parliaments, each for itself, by federate law. This federate law must be passed by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, on condition that the majority of the members of the Parliament concerned is present.
 The senator referred to in Article 67, § 1, 5° is appointed by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community by absolute majority of the votes cast.

§ 2. The Senate seats referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° to 7° are distributed among the lists according to the system of proportional representation determined by the law, in the way laid down by the law, on the basis of the addition of the vote counts of the lists obtained at the election for the House of Representatives. The aforesaid system of proportional representation is the system which is described in Article 63, § 2 of the Constitution. A law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph determines the electoral districts of which the votes are taken into consideration for distributing the seats of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° and 7° who belong respectively to the Dutch and the French linguistic group.
 A list may only be taken into consideration for distributing the seats of a single linguistic group.
 The law determines the rules for the appointment of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° to 7°.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014, with the exception of § 2, first sub-paragraph, last sentence. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“§ 1. The total number of senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1°, 2°, 3°, 4°, 6° and 7° is divided, according to the system of proportional representation that the law determines, among each linguistic group on the basis of the vote count of the lists ob¬tained at the election of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° and 2°.
 For the appointment of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 3° and 4°, only those lists are taken into consideration on which at least one senator referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° and 2° is elected and provided that a sufficient number of members elected on this list sit, according to the case, in the Parliament of the Flemish Commu¬nity or the Parliament of the French Community.
 For the appointment of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° and 7°, only those lists are taken into consideration on which at least on senator referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° and 2° is elected.

§ 2. For the election of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° and 2°, voting is obligatory and secret. Voting takes place in the municipality, except in the cases that the law determines.

§ 3. For the election of senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° and 2°, the law determines the electoral districts and the composition of the electoral colleges; it also determines the conditions which must be met in order to be an elector, as well as the way in which elections are conducted.
 The law determines the rules for the appointment of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 3° to 5°, with the exception of the detailed rules which, in pursuance of a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, are laid down by the Community Parliaments, each for itself, by federate law. This federate law must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, on condition that the majority of the members of the Parliament concerned is present.
 The senator referred to in Article 67, § 1, 5° is appointed by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community by absolute majority of the votes cast.
 The law determines the rules for the appointment of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° and 7°.”.

Art. 69

In order to be appointed as a senator, one must:

  1. be Belgian;
  2. enjoy civil and political rights;
  3. have reached the age of eighteen;
  4. be resident in Belgium.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“In order to be elected or appointed as a senator, one must:

  1. be Belgian;
  2. enjoy civil and political rights;
  3. have reached the age of twenty-one;
  4. be resident in Belgium.”.

Art. 70

The mandate of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° to 5° runs from the day when they take the oath in the Senate and ends, after the complete renewal of the Parliament that has appointed them, on the day when the first session of the latter is opened.
 The mandate of the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° and 7° runs from the day when they take the oath in the Senate and ends on the day when the first session of the House of Representatives following its complete renewal is opened.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“The senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° and 2° are elected for four years. The senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° and 7° are appointed for four years.
 The Senate is in any case renewed as a whole when the elections for the Community and Regional Parliaments are held in 2014.”.

Art. 71

Senators do not receive a salary.
 They do, however, have the right to be compensated for expenses.
 The compensation granted to the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1° to 4° is fixed by the Community or Regional Parliament that appoints them. It is charged to this Parliament.
 The compensation granted to the senator referred to in Article 67, § 1, 5° is the same as the compensation granted to the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 3° and is charged to the Parliament of the German-speaking Community.
 The compensation granted to the senators referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° and 7° is charged to the Senate’s allowance.
 Within the national borders, the members of the Senate have the right to free travel on all means of transport operated or conceded by the public authorities.

Transitional provision

The insertion of the third to fifth paragraphs of this article becomes effective on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014.
 Until this day, senators are entitled to a compensation of four thousand francs a year.

Art. 72

[Repealed]

Art. 73

Any assembly of the Senate that is held when the House of Representatives is not in session is null and void.

CHAPTER II
ON FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE POWER

Art. 74

As a departure from Article 36, federal legislative power is jointly exercised by the King and the House of Representatives for other matters than those described in Articles 77 and 78.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“As a departure from Article 36, federal legislative power is jointly exercised by the King and by the House of Representatives for:

  1. the granting of naturalisation;
  2. laws relating to the civil and criminal liability of the King’s ministers;
  3. State budgets and accounts, without prejudice to Article 174, first paragraph, second sentence;
  4. the setting of army quotas.”.

Art. 75

Each branch of the federal legislative power has the right to propose legislation. However, the Senate can only exercise this right with respect to the matters described in Article 77.
 With respect to the matters described in Article 78, draft bills submitted to the Houses on the King’s initiative are tabled with the House of Representatives and then sent to the Senate.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“Each branch of the federal legislative power has the right to propose legislation.
 Except for those matters described in Article 77, draft bills submitted to the Houses following the King’s initiative are tabled with the House of Representatives and are then sent to the Senate.
 Draft bills relating to the approval of treaties submitted to the Houses following the King’s initiative are tabled with the Senate and then sent to the House of Representatives.”.

Art. 76

A draft bill may be adopted by a House only after having been voted on article by article.
 The Houses have the right to amend and to split the articles and amendments proposed.
 The Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives provide for a second reading procedure.

Transitional provision

The third paragraph comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014.

Art. 77

The House of Representatives and the Senate are equally competent with respect to:

  1. declaring that there are reasons to revise such constitutional provision as they determine, and with respect to revising and co-ordinating the Constitution;
  2. matters that must be settled by both legislative Houses by virtue of the Constitution;
  3. the laws to be passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph;
  4. the laws relating to the institutions and financing of the German-speaking Community;
  5. the laws relating to the financing of political parties and the control of electoral expenditure;
  6. the laws relating to the organisation of the Senate and the senator’s status.

A law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph may designate other matters for which the House of Representatives and the Senate are equally competent.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“The House of Representatives and the Senate are equally competent with respect to:

  1. declaring that there are reasons to revise such constitutional provision as they determine, and with respect to such constitutional revision;
  2. declaring that there are reasons to revise such constitutional provision as they determine, and with respect to such constitutional revision;
  3. the laws described in Articles 5, 39, 43, 50, 68, 71, 77, 82, 115, 117, 118, 121, 123, 127 to 131, 135 to 137, 140 to 143, 145, 146, 163, 165, 166, 167, § 1, third sub-paragraph, § 4 and § 5, 169, 170, § 2, second sub-paragraph, § 3, second and third sub-paragraphs, § 4, second sub-paragraph, and 175 to 177, as well as the laws enacted in order to execute the above-mentioned laws and articles;
  4. the laws to be adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, as well as the laws enacted in order to execute such laws;
  5. the laws referred to in Article 34;
  6. the laws approving treaties;
  7. the laws adopted in accordance with Article 169, to guarantee that international or supranational commitments are observed;
  8. the laws relating to the Council of State;
  9. the organisation of the courts;
  10. the laws approving cooperation agreements between the State, the Communities and the Regions.

A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph may designate other laws for which the House of Representatives and the Senate are equally competent.”.

Art. 78

§ 1. With the reservation of what is provided for in Article 77, draft bills adopted by the House of Representatives with respect to the following matters are sent to the Senate:

  1. the laws enacted in order to execute laws to be passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph;
  2. the laws described in Articles 5, 39, 115, 117, 118, 121, 123, 127 to 129, 131, 135 to 137, 141 to 143, 163, 165, 166, 167, § 1, third sub-paragraph, 169, 170, § 2, second sub-paragraph, § 3, second and third sub-paragraphs, and § 4, second sub-paragraph, 175 and 177, as well as the laws enacted in order to execute the above-mentioned laws, with the exception of the legislation on the organisation of automated voting;
  3. the laws passed in accordance with Article 169, to guarantee that international and supranational commitments are observed;
  4. the laws relating to the Council of State and the federal administrative courts.

A law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph may designate other matters that the Senate can examine according to the procedure as described in this article.

§ 2. The Senate examines the draft bill at the request of the majority of its members, including at least a third of the members of each linguistic group. This request is made within fifteen days from the receipt of the bill.
 The Senate may, within no more than thirty days:

  • decide that there is no ground to amend the bill;
  • adopt the bill after having amended it.

If the Senate does not pronounce on the bill within the time allotted, or if it has informed the House of Representatives of its decision not to amend, the bill is sent by the House of Representatives to the King.
 If the bill has been amended, the Senate sends it to the House of Representatives, which makes a final decision by either passing or amending it.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“In other matters than those described in Articles 74 and 77, draft bills adopted by the House of Representatives are sent to the Senate.
 At the request of at least fifteen senators, the Senate examines the draft bills. This request is made within fifteen days of the draft bill being received.
 The Senate may, within no more than sixty days:

  • decide not to amend the draft bill;
  • adopt the bill after having amended it.

If the Senate does not pronounce on the bill within the time allotted, or if the Senate has informed the House of Representatives of its decision not to amend, the bill is sent by the House of Representatives to the King.
 If the bill has been amended, the Senate sends it to the House of Representatives, which makes a final decision by either adopting or rejecting all or some of the amend¬ments adopted by the Senate.”.

Art. 79

[Repealed]

Art. 80

[Repealed]

Art. 81

[Repealed]

Art. 82

A Parliamentary consultation committee composed equally of members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate settles conflicts of competence that arise between the two Houses and may, by mutual agreement, extend the examination deadline set in Article 78 at any time.
 If no majority exists in the two groups composing the committee, the latter makes its decision by a majority of two thirds of its members.
 A law determines the composition and functioning of the committee, as well as the way of calculating the time limits set in Article 78.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“A Parliamentary consultation committee composed equally of members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate settles conflicts of competence that arise between the two Houses and may, by mutual agreement, extend the examination deadlines set in Articles 78 to 81 at any time.
 In no majority exists in the two groups composing the committee, the latter makes its decision by a majority of two thirds of its members.
 A law determines the composition and functioning of the committee, as well as the way of calculating the time limits set in Articles 78 to 81.”.

Art. 83

Each private member’s bill and each Government bill mentions whether it concerns a matter described in Article 74, Article 77 or Article 78.

Art. 84

Only the law can give an authoritative interpretation of laws.

CHAPTER III
ON THE KING AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
SECTION I
ON THE KING

Art. 85

The constitutional powers of the King are hereditary through the direct, natural and legitimate descent from H.M. Leopold, George, Christian, Frederick of Saxe-Coburg, by order of primogeniture.
 The descendant mentioned in the first paragraph who marries without the King’s consent or, in his absence, without the consent of those exercising the King’s powers in cases provided for by the Constitution shall be deprived of his right to the crown.
 Nonetheless, this right may be restored by the King or, in his absence, by those exercising the powers of the King in cases provided for by the Constitution, but only with the assent of both Houses.

Art. 86

For lack of a descendant of H.M. Leopold, George, Christian, Frederick of Saxe-Coburg, the King may appoint his successor, the assent of the Houses, in the manner described in Article 87.
 In the absence of an appointment made in the manner described above, the throne is considered vacant.

Art. 87

The King may not at the same time act as head of another State without the consent of both Houses.
 Neither House may deliberate on this matter unless two thirds of its members are present, and the resolution is only adopted if it attracts at least two thirds of the votes.

Art. 88

The King’s person is inviolable; his ministers are accountable.

Art. 89

The law determines the civil list for the duration of each reign.

Art. 90

Upon the death of the King, the Houses meet without being convened at the latest on the tenth day after his death. If the Houses have been dissolved previously, and if the act of dissolution convenes them to meet later than the tenth day following the King’s death, the members of the former Houses take up their seats again until the meeting of those who will replace them.
 From the death of the King until the oath is sworn by his successor to the throne or by the Regent, the King’s constitutional powers are exercised, in the name of the Belgian people, by the ministers meeting in council, and under their responsibility.

Art. 91

The King attains his majority upon his eighteenth birthday.
 The King only accedes to the throne after having sworn the following oath before the united Houses:
 “I swear to observe the Constitution and the laws of the Belgian people, to preserve the country’s national independence and its territorial integrity.”.

Art. 92

If upon the death of the King, his successor is a minor, the two Houses meet as a single assembly to appoint a Regent and a Guardian.

Art. 93

If the King finds himself unable to reign, the ministers, having had this inability stated, immediately convene the Houses. The Regent and Guardian are appointed by the joint Houses.

Art. 94

Only one person may be Regent.
 The Regent takes up office only after having sworn the oath as prescribed in Article 91.

Art. 95

If the throne is vacant, the Houses, deliberating as one assembly, provisionally appoint a Regent, until the convening of the fully renewed Houses; this meeting must take place within two months. The new Houses, deliberating as one assembly, fill the vacancy.

SECTION II
ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Art. 96

The King appoints and dismisses his ministers.
 The Federal Government offers its resignation to the King if the House of Representatives, by an absolute majority of its members, adopts a motion of no-confidence proposing a successor to the prime minister for appointment by the King or proposes a successor to the prime minister for appointment by the King within three days of the rejection of a motion of confidence. The King appoints the proposed successor as prime minister, who takes office when the new Federal Government is sworn in.

Art. 97

Only Belgians may be ministers.

Art. 98

No member of the royal family may be a minister.

Art. 99

The Council of Ministers is composed of no more than fifteen members.
 With the possible exception of the prime minister, the Council of Ministers is composed of an equal number of Dutch-speaking members and French-speaking members.

Art. 100

Ministers have access to both Houses and must be heard whenever they so request.
 The House of Representatives may require the presence of ministers. The Senate may require their presence for the matters mentioned in Article 77 or 78. For other matters, it may request their presence.

Transitional provision

The second sentence of the second paragraph comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provision applies, without prejudice to the first paragraph and the first and last sentences of the second paragraph:

“The Senate may require their presence for discussion of a Government bill or private member’s bill as mentioned in Article 77 or a Government bill as mentioned in Article 78 or for the exercise of its right of inquiry as mentioned in Article 56.”.

Art. 101

Ministers are accountable to the House of Representatives.
 No minister can be prosecuted or be the subject of any investigation with regard to opinions expressed by him in the exercise of his duties.

Art. 102

In no circumstances may a written or oral order of the King exempt a minister from his accountability.

Art. 103

Ministers are tried exclusively by the appeal court for offences they have allegedly committed in the exercise of their duties. The same rule applies in the case of offences allegedly committed by ministers outside the exercise of their duties and for which they are tried during the exercise of their duties. As the case may be, Articles 59 and 120 are not applicable.
 The law determines the manner of proceeding against them, both when they are prosecuted and when they are tried.
 The law designates the appeal court having jurisdiction, which sits in banc, and specifies its composition. The judgments of the appeal court can be appealed to the united chambers of the Supreme Court, which does not pronounce on the merits of the case.
 Only the public prosecutor to the appeal court that has jurisdiction may institute and lead criminal proceedings against a minister.
 Authorisation by the House of Representatives is required for any public prosecutor’s request to refer the minister concerned to a particular court or to discharge him, for his direct summons before the appeal court and, except in a case of a flagrant offence, for his arrest.
 The law determines the procedure to be followed when Articles 103 and 125 are both applicable.
 A pardon may be granted to a minister convicted in accordance with the first paragraph only upon request by the House of Representatives.
 The law determines in which cases and in accordance with which rules injured parties may institute a civil action.

Transitional provision

The present article is not applicable to acts which have been the subject of a preliminary judicial investigation or to proceedings instituted prior to the entry into force of the law implementing the article.
 In such a case, the following rule applies: the House of Representatives has the right to indict ministers and to bring them before the Supreme Court. Only the united chambers of this court have jurisdiction to try ministers in cases covered by the criminal laws and by application of the penalties prescribed by such laws. The Law of 17 December 1996 concerning the temporary and partial implementation of Article 103 of the Constitution remains applicable in such cases.

Art. 104

The King appoints and dismisses the federal secretaries of State.
 These are members of the Federal Government. They do not form part of the Council of Ministers. They are deputies to a minister.
 The King determines their duties and the limits within which they may receive the right to countersign.
 Constitutional provisions that apply to ministers apply equally to federal secretaries of State, with the exception of Articles 90, second paragraph, 93 and 99.

SECTION III
ON RESPONSIBILITIES

Art. 105

The King has no powers other than those formally attributed to him by the Constitution and by specific laws passed by virtue of the Constitution itself.

Art. 106

No act of the King can take effect without the countersignature of a minister, who, in doing so, assumes responsibility for it.

Art. 107

The King bestows ranks within the army.
 He appoints civil servants to positions in the general and foreign affairs administrations of the State, but for those exceptions created by the laws.
 He makes appointments to other positions only by virtue of specific legal provisions.

Art. 108

The King makes decrees and regulations required for the execution of laws, without ever having the power either to suspend the laws themselves or to grant dispensation from their execution.

Art. 109

The King sanctions and promulgates laws.

Art. 110

The King has the right to remit or to reduce sentences passed by judges, except with regard to what has been ruled on concerning ministers and members of the Community and Regional Governments.

Art. 111

The King may not pardon a minister or a member of a Community or Regional Government convicted by the Supreme Court, except at the request of the House of Representatives or of the Parliament concerned.

Art. 112

The King may mint money, in execution of the law.

Art. 113

The King may confer titles of nobility, without ever having the power to attach privileges to them.

Art. 114

The King grants military orders, with consideration of the rules laid down by the law.

CHAPTER IV
ON COMMUNITIES AND REGIONS
SECTION I
ON BODIES
SUB-SECTION I
ON COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL PARLIAMENTS

Art. 115

§ 1. There is a Parliament of the Flemish Community, called the Flemish Parliament, and a Parliament of the French Community, the composition and functioning of which are determined by a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
 There is a Parliament of the German-speaking Community, the composition and functioning of which are determined by the law.

§ 2. Without prejudice to Article 137, the regional bodies referred to in Article 39 include a Parliament for each Region.

Art. 116

§ 1. The Community and Regional Parliaments are composed of elected representatives.

§ 2. Each Community Parliament is composed of members elected directly as members of the Community Parliament concerned or as members of a Regional Parliament.
 Except when Article 137 is applied, each Regional Parliament is composed of members elected directly as members of the Regional Parliament concerned or as members of a Community Parliament.

Art. 117

Members of the Community and Regional Parliaments are elected for a period of five years. The Community and Regional Parliaments are re-elected as a whole every five years.
 Elections for the Community and Regional Parliaments take place on the same day and coincide with elections for the European Parliament.
 In execution of a law as described in Article 118, § 2, fourth sub-paragraph, a federate law or a rule referred to in Article 134, passed in accordance with Article 118, § 2, fourth sub-paragraph, may derogate from the first and second paragraphs.

Art. 118

§ 1. Elections referred to in Article 116, § 2, as well as the composition and functioning of Community and Regional Parliaments are regulated by the law. Except for the Parliament of the German-speaking Community, such a law is adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

§ 2. A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph designates those matters relating to the election, composition and functioning of the Brussels-Capital Region Parliament, the Flemish Community Parliament, the French Community Parliament and the Walloon Region Parliament which these Parliaments regulate, each for itself, either by federate law or by rule as referred to in Article 134, according to the case. This federate law and this rule as referred to in Article 134 are adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, provided that a majority of the members of the Parliament concerned is present.
 The law as described in the first sub-paragraph determines additional majority requirements with respect to the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region.
 A law designates those matters relating to the election, composition and functioning of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community which this Parliament regulates by federate law. This federate law is adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, provided that a majority of the members of the Parliament is present.
 The law as described in the first or third sub-paragraph, according to the case, may entitle the Community and Regional Parliaments to determine, each for itself, by federate law or rule referred to in Article 134, according to the case, the duration of the term for which they are elected and the date of their election. This federate law and rule referred to in Article 134 are adopted by majorities as described in the first to third sub-paragraphs.

Transitional provision

After elections for the European Parliament have been held in 2014, a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph sets the date on which § 2, fourth sub-paragraph, comes into force. This date is that on which Article 46, sixth paragraph and Article 65, third paragraph come into force.

Art. 118 bis

Within the national borders, the members of the Regional and Community Parliaments, referred to in Articles 2 and 3, have the right to free travel on all means of transport operated or conceded by the public authorities.

Art. 119

A member of a Community or Regional Parliament cannot be at the same time a member of the House of Representatives. Moreover, neither can he be a senator as referred to in Article 67, § 1, 6° and 7°.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, the following provisions apply:

“A member of a Community or Regional Parliament cannot be at the same time a member of the House of Representatives. Moreover, neither can he be a senator as referred to in Article 67, § 1, 1°, 2°, 6° and 7°.”.

Art. 120

All members of Community and Regional Parliaments benefit from the immunities described in Articles 58 and 59.

SUB-SECTION II
ON COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS

Art. 121

§ 1. There is a Government of the Flemish Community and a Government of the French Community, the composition and functioning of which are determined by a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
 There is a Government of the German-speaking Community, the composition and functioning of which are determined by the law.

§ 2. Without prejudice to Article 137, the regional bodies referred to in Article 39 include a Government for each Region.

Art. 122

Members of each Community or Regional Government are elected by their Parliament.

Art. 123

§ 1. The law establishes the composition and functioning of the Community and Regional Governments. Except with regard to the Government of the German-speaking Community, this law is adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

§ 2. A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph designates those matters relating to the composition and functioning of the Brussels-Capital Region Government, the Flemish Community Government, the French Community Government and the Walloon Region Government which their Parliaments regulate, each one in so far as it is concerned, either by federate law or by rule as referred to in Article 134, according to the case. This federate law and this rule referred to in Article 134 are adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, provided that a majority of the members of the Parliament concerned is present.
 The law as described in the first sub-paragraph determines additional majority requirements with respect to the Parliament of the Brussels Capital Region.
 A law designates those matters relating to the composition and functioning of the government of the German-speaking Community which the Parliament of this Community regulates by federate law. This federate law is adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, provided that a majority of the members of the Parliament is present.

Art. 124

No member of a Community or Regional Government can be prosecuted or be the subject of any investigation with regard to opinions expressed and votes cast by him in the exercise of his duties.

Art. 125

Members of a Community or Regional Government are tried exclusively by the appeal court for offences they have allegedly committed in the exercise of their duties. The same rule applies in the case of offences allegedly committed by members of a Community or Regional Government outside the exercise of their duties and for which they are tried during the exercise of their duties. As the case may be, Articles 120 and 59 are not applicable.
 The law determines the manner of proceeding against them, both when they are prosecuted and when they are tried.
 The law designates the appeal court that has jurisdiction, which sits in banc, and specifies its composition. The judgments of the appeal court can be appealed to the united chambers of the Supreme Court, which does not pronounce on the merits of the case.
 Only the public prosecutor to the appeal court having jurisdiction may institute and lead criminal proceedings against a member of a Community or of a Regional Government.
 Authorisation by the Parliament of the Community or Region, each one for matters of its concern, is required for any public prosecutor’s request to refer the member concerned to a particular court or to discharge him, for his direct summons before the appeal court and, except in a case of a flagrant offence, for his arrest.
 The law determines the procedure to be followed when Articles 103 and 125 are both applicable and when there is a double application of Article 125.
 A pardon may be granted to a member of a Community or Regional Government convicted in accordance with the first paragraph only upon request by the Community or Regional Parliament concerned.
 The law determines in which cases and in accordance with which rules injured parties may bring a civil action.
 The laws referred to in the present article must be adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Transitional provision

The present article is not applicable to acts which have been the subject of a preliminary judicial investigation or to proceedings instituted prior to the entry into force of the law implementing the article.
 In such a case, the following rule applies: the Community or Regional Parliament concerned has the right to indict members of their Government and to bring them before the Supreme Court. Only the united chambers of this court have jurisdiction to try ministers in cases covered by the criminal laws and by application of the penalties prescribed by such laws. The special Law of 28 February 1997 concerning the temporary and partial implementation of Article 125 of the Constitution remains applicable in such cases.

Art. 126

Constitutional provisions that apply to members of the Regional and Community Governments, as well as the implementing laws referred to in Article 125, last paragraph apply equally to Regional secretaries of State.

SECTION II
ON RESPONSIBILITIES
SUB-SECTION I
ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMUNITIES

Art. 127

§ 1. The Parliaments of the Flemish and French Communities, each one in so far as it is concerned, regulate by federate law:

  1. cultural matters;
  2. education, with the exception of:
    a) the setting of the beginning and of the end of compulsory education;
    b) minimum standards for the granting of diplomas;
    c) the pension scheme;
  3. cooperation between the Communities, as well as international cooperation, including the concluding of treaties for those matters referred to in 1° and 2°.

A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph designates the cultural matters referred to in 1° and determines the forms of cooperation referred to in 3°, as well as the specific arrangements for the concluding of treaties referred to in 3°.

§ 2. These federate laws have the force of law in the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking regions respectively, as well as in those institutions established in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital which, because of their activities, must be considered as belonging exclusively to one Community or the other.

Art. 128

§ 1. The Parliaments of the Flemish and French Communities regulate by federate law, each one in so far as it is concerned, person-related matters, as well as, in such matters, cooperation between the Communities and international cooperation, including the concluding of treaties.
 A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph designates such person-related matters and determines the forms of cooperation, as well as the specific arrangements for the concluding of treaties.

§ 2. These federate laws have the force of law in the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking regions respectively, as well as – unless a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph determines otherwise – with regard to those institutions established in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital which, because of their organisation, must be considered as belonging exclusively to one Community or the other.

Art. 129

§ 1. The Parliaments of the Flemish and French Communities, to the exclusion of the federal legislator, regulate by federate law, each one as far as it is concerned, the use of languages for:

  1. administrative matters;
  2. education in the establishments created, subsidised or recognised by the public authorities;
  3. social relations between employers and their personnel, as well as company acts and documents required by the law and by regulations.

§ 2. These federate laws have the force of law in the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking regions respectively, except as concerns:

  • the municipalities or groups of municipalities adjacent to another linguistic Region and in which the law prescribes or permits the use of another language than that of the Region in which they are located. For these municipalities, a change to the rules governing the use of languages in the matters as described in § 1 may be made only by a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph;
  • services whose activities extend beyond the linguistic region within which they are located;
  • federal and international institutions designated by the law whose activities are common to more than one Community.

Art. 130

§ 1. The Parliament of the German-speaking Community regulates by federate law:

  1. cultural matters;
  2. person-related matters;
  3. education, within the limits established by Article 127, § 1, first sub-paragraph, 2°;
  4. cooperation between the Communities, as well as international cooperation, including the conclusion of treaties, for matters referred to in 1°, 2° and 3°;
  5. the use of languages for education in establishments created, subsidised or recognised by the public authorities.

The law designates the cultural and person-related matters referred to in 1° and 2° and determines the forms of cooperation referred to in 4°, as well as the manner in which treaties are concluded.

§ 2. These federate laws have the force of law in the German-speaking region.

Art. 131

The law determines the measures designed to prevent all forms of discrimination for ideological or philosophical reasons.

Art. 132

The right to propose legislation belongs to the Community Government and to the members of the Community Parliament.

Art. 133

Only the federate law can give an authoritative interpretation of federate laws. .

SUB-SECTION II
ON THE COMPETENCES OF THE REGIONS

Art. 134

Laws passed in order to execute Article 39 determine the judicial force of the rules which the bodies that they create enact in matters which they determine.
 They can confer to these bodies the power to pass federate laws that have the force of law, within the jurisdiction and in the manner that they determine.

SUB-SECTION III
SPECIAL PROVISIONS

Art. 135

A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph designates the authorities which exercise for the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital the competences not assigned to the Communities in the matters referred to in Article 128, § 1.

Art. 135 bis

A law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph can attribute to the Region of Brussels-Capital, for the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital, powers that have not been assigned to the Communities in the matters referred to in Article 127, § 1, first sub-paragraph, 1° and in the same sub-paragraph, 3°, insofar as this 3° concerns matters referred to in the aforesaid 1°.

Art. 136

There are linguistic groups within the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, as well as executive colleges, responsible for Community matters; their composition, functioning and competences and, without prejudice to Article 175, their financing are regulated by a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
 The colleges together form the United College, which acts as a consultation and coordination body between the two Communities.

Art. 137

With a view to the application of Article 39, the Parliaments of the Flemish and French Communities, as well as their respective Governments, may exercise the competences, respectively, of the Flemish Region and of the Walloon Region, under the conditions and according to the terms set by the law. This law must be adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Art. 138

The Parliament of the French Community, on one hand, and the Parliament of the Walloon Region and the French linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, on the other hand, may decide by common accord and each by federate law, that in the French-speaking region, the Parliament and the Government of the Walloon Region and, in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital, the French linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region and its executive college exercise, in full or in part, competences of the French Community.
 These federate laws are adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast within the Parliament of the French Community and by absolute majority of the votes cast within the Parliament of the Walloon Region and within the French linguistic group in the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, provided that a majority of the Parliament members or of the members of the linguistic group concerned is present. They can regulate the financing of the competences which they designate, as well as the transfer of personnel, assets, rights and obligations linked with these competences.
 These competences are exercised, according to the case, by means of federate laws, decisions or regulations.

Art. 139

Upon proposal by their respective Governments, the Parliament of the German-speaking Community and the Parliament of the Walloon Region can, each by federate law, decide by common accord that the Parliament and the Government of the German-speaking Community exercise, in whole or in part, competences of the Walloon Region.
 These competences are exercised, according to the case, by means of federate laws, decisions or regulations.

Art. 140

The Parliament and the Government of the German-speaking Community exercise by means of decisions and regulations all other competences attributed to them by the law.
 Article 159 is applicable to these decisions and regulations.

CHAPTER V
ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT, AND THE PREVENTION AND RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS
SECTION I
ON THE PREVENTION OF CONFLICTS OF COMPETENCE

Art. 141

The law organises a procedure to prevent conflicts between laws, federate laws and rules referred to in Article 134, as well as between federate laws themselves and between the rules referred to in Article 134 themselves.

SECTION II
ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

Art. 142

There is for all Belgium a Constitutional Court, the composition, competences and functioning of which are established by the law.

This Court rules by means of judgments on:

  1. those conflicts referred to in Article 141;
  2. the violation of Articles 10, 11 and 24 by a law, a federate law or a rule as referred to in Article 134;
  3. the violation of constitutional articles that the law determines by a law, a federate law or by a rule as referred to in Article 134.

A matter may be referred to the Court by any authority designated by the law, by any person that can prove an interest or, pre-judicially, by any court.
 The Court pronounces by a ruling, under the conditions and according to the terms specified by the law, on every referendum described in Article 39bis before it is organised.
 In the cases, under the conditions and according to the terms that it specifies, the law can give the Court competence to pronounce by a judgment on appeals lodged against decisions made by legislative assemblies or bodies thereof regarding the control of electoral expenditure incurred in the elections for the House of Representatives.
 The laws referred to in the first paragraph, in the second paragraph, 3° and in the third to fifth paragraphs are adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

SECTION III
ON THE PREVENTION AND THE SETTLEMENT OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Art. 143

§ 1. In the exercise of their respective responsibilities, the federal State, the Communities, the Regions and the Joint Community Commission act with respect for federal loyalty, in order to prevent conflicts of interest.

§ 2. The Senate makes decisions, by means of reasoned opinions, on conflicts of interest which may arise between the assemblies which legislate through laws, federate laws or rules as referred to in Article 134, under the conditions and in the manner determined by a law adopted by a majority as referred to in Article 4, last paragraph.

§ 3. A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph organises a procedure designed to prevent and to settle conflicts of interest between the Federal Government, the Community and Regional Governments and the United College of the Joint Community Commission.

§ 4. The procedures described in §§ 2 and 3 do not apply to laws, decrees, regulations, acts and decisions of the Federal State relating to the basis of taxation, tax rates and exemptions, and any other element playing a role in the computation of the personal income tax.

Transitional provision

Concerning the prevention and the settlement of conflicts of interest, the ordinary law of 9 August 1980 on institutional reforms remains valid; however, it can only be repealed, completed, corrected or replaced by those laws mentioned in §§ 2 and 3.

CHAPTER VI
ON JUDICIAL POWER

Art. 144

Disputes about civil rights belong exclusively to the competence of the courts.
 However, the law can empower the Council of State or federal administrative courts, in accordance with the terms it specifies, to rule on the effects that their decisions have with respect to civil law.

Art. 145

Disputes about political rights belong to the competence of the courts, except for the exceptions established by the law.

Art. 146

A court and a body capable of rendering judgment can only be established by virtue of a law. No extraordinary courts or commissions may be created, no matter under which designation.

Art. 147

There is a Supreme Court for all Belgium.
 This Court has no competence over the substance of the case.

Art. 148

Court hearings are public, unless such public access endangers morals or the peace; if such is the case, the Court so declares in a judgment.
 In cases of political or press offences, proceedings can only be conducted in camera on the basis of a unanimous vote.

Art. 149

Each judgment is supported by reasons. It is made public according to the terms specified by the law. In criminal matters, the operative part is pronounced publicly.

Art. 150

A jury is sworn in for all criminal matters, as well as for political and press offences, with the exception of press offences motivated by racism or xenophobia.

Art. 151

§ 1. Judges are independent in the exercise of their jurisdictional competences. The public prosecutor is independent in conducting individual investigations and prosecutions, without prejudice to the right of the competent minister to order prosecutions and to prescribe binding directives on criminal policy, including policy on investigations and prosecutions.
 Moreover, Community and Regional Governments have the right, each one insofar as it is concerned, to order prosecutions regarding matters falling under their responsibility through the Minister referred to in the first paragraph. A law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph determines the manner in which they exercise this right.
 A law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph provides for the participation by the Communities and the Regions, in matters falling under their responsibility, in the elaboration of the directives described in the first sub-paragraph and in planning security policy, and also for the participation of their representatives in the meetings of the College of Public Prosecutors General, insofar as these meetings have reference to these same matters.

§ 2. There is one High Council of Justice for all Belgium. In the exercise of its competences, the High Council of Justice respects the independence referred to in § 1.
 The High Council of Justice is composed of a Dutch-speaking college and of a French-speaking college. Each college comprises an equal number of members and is constituted with equal representation, on the one hand, of judges and officers of the public prosecutor’s office elected directly by their peers under the conditions and in the manner determined by the law and, on the other hand, of other members appointed by the Senate by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, under conditions established by the law.
 Within each college, there is a nomination and appointment committee, as well as an advisory and investigatory committee, which are constituted with equal representation in accordance with the provision laid down in the preceding paragraph.
 The law specifies the composition of the High Council of Justice, of its colleges and of their committees, as well as the conditions under which and the manner in which they exercise their competences.

§ 3. The High Council of Justice exercises its competences in the following areas:

  1. the nomination of candidates for appointment as judge, as referred to in § 4, first sub-paragraph or for appointment as officer of the public prosecutor’s office;
  2. the nomination of candidates for an appointment to the positions referred to in § 5, first sub-paragraph and to the position of head of the public prosecutor’s office;
  3. access to the position of judge or of officer of the public prosecutor’s office;
  4. training of judges and of officers of the public prosecutor’s office;
  5. drafting of general profiles for the positions referred to in 2°;
  6. voicing of advice and of proposals concerning the general operation and organisation of the judiciary;
  7. general surveillance on and the promoting of the use of means of internal control;
  8. to the exclusion of all disciplinary and criminal competences:
    • the receiving and the following-up of complaints relating to the operation of the judiciary;
    • the conducting of an enquiry on the operation of the judiciary.

Under the conditions and in the manner determined by the law, the competences referred to in 1° to 4° are assigned to the relevant nomination and appointment committee, and the competences referred to in 5° to 8° are assigned to the relevant advisory and investigatory committee. The law determines the cases in which and the manner in which the nomination and appointment committees and the advisory and investigatory committees exercise their competences jointly.
 A law to be adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph determines the other competences of this Council.

§ 4. The justices of the peace and the judges of the courts and of the Supreme Court are appointed by the King under the conditions and in the manner specified by the law.
 Such appointment is made on reasoned nomination by the relevant nomination and appointment committee, by a majority of two thirds in accordance with the terms specified by the law and after evaluation of qualifications and aptitude. The nomination can be rejected only in the manner specified by the law and with justification.
 In the case of appointment of an appeal judge or of a judge of the Supreme Court, the general assembly of the court concerned issues a reasoned opinion in the manner specified by the law, prior to the nomination referred to in the preceding paragraph.

§ 5. The first president of the Supreme Court, the first presidents of the appeal courts and the presidents of the lower courts are appointed to those positions by the King under the conditions and in the manner specified by the law.
 Such appointment is made on reasoned nomination by the relevant nomination and appointment committee, by a majority of two thirds in accordance with the terms specified by the law and after evaluation of qualifications and aptitude. The nomination may be rejected only in the manner specified by the law and with justification.
 In the case of appointment to the position of first president of the Supreme Court or of first president of an appeal court, the general assembly of the court concerned issues a reasoned opinion in the manner specified by the law, prior to the nomination referred to in the preceding paragraph.
 The president of the Supreme Court, the presidents of the sections of this court, the presidents of the divisions of the appeal courts and the vice-presidents of the lower courts are appointed to their positions by the courts from their midst under the conditions and in the manner specified by the law.
 Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 152, the law specifies the duration of the appointment to these positions.

§ 6. In the manner specified by the law, the judges, the incumbents of the positions referred to in § 5, fourth sub-paragraph and the officers of the public prosecutor’s office are subject to an evaluation.

Transitional provision

The provisions of §§ 3 to 6 enter into force after the setting up of the High Council of Justice, referred to in § 2.
 On that date, it is assumed that the first president and the president of the Supreme Court, the presidents of the sections of this court, the first presidents of the appeal courts, the presidents of the divisions of these courts and the presidents and vice-presidents of the lower courts are appointed to these positions for the duration and under the conditions specified by the law and that they are appointed at the same time to the Supreme Court, to the appeal court or to the labour court and to the corresponding lower court, respectively.
 In the meantime, the following provisions remain applicable:
 The justices of the peace and the judges of the lower courts are appointed directly by the King.
 The judges of the appeal courts and the presidents and vice-presidents of the courts of first instance under their jurisdiction are appointed by the King from two lists each with two candidates, one submitted by these courts, the other by the provincial councils and the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, depending upon the case.
 The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the King from two lists each with two candidates, one submitted by the Supreme Court, the other alternately by the House of Representatives and by the Senate.
 In these two cases, the candidates placed on one list may also appear on the other.
 All the nominations are made public at least fifteen days before the appointment.
 The courts choose from among themselves their presidents and vice-presidents.

Art. 152

Judges are appointed for life. They retire at an age determined by the law and receive the pension provided for by the law.
 No judge can be deprived of his post or suspended except by a court decision.
 The transfer of a judge can only take place by his appointment to a new position and with his consent.

Art. 153

The King appoints and dismisses officials of the public prosecutor’s offices attached to the courts.

Art. 154

Salaries of members of the judicature are determined by the law.

Art. 155 A judge cannot accept a salaried position from a Government, unless this position is exercised free of charge, and even then, such a position must not entail an incompatibility as determined by the law.

Art. 156

There are five appeal courts in Belgium:

  1. that of Brussels, with jurisdiction over the provinces of Flemish Brabant, of Walloon Brabant and the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital;
  2. that of Ghent, with jurisdiction over the provinces of West Flanders and East Flanders;
  3. that of Antwerp, with jurisdiction over the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg;
  4. that of Liege, with jurisdiction over the provinces of Liege, Namur and Luxembourg;
  5. that of Mons, with jurisdiction over the province of Hainaut.

Art. 157

There are military courts when a state of war referred to in Article 167, § 1, second sub-paragraph has been stated to exist. The organisation of the military courts, their powers, their members’ rights and obligations as well as their members’ terms of office are determined by the law.
 There are commercial courts in the places determined by the law. The law lays down rules for their organisation, their powers, the way their members are appointed as well as their members’ terms of office.
 The law also lays down rules for the organisation of the labour courts, their powers, the way their members are appointed as well as their members’ terms of office.
 There are courts for the enforcement of penalties in the places determined by the law. The law lays down rules for their organisation, their powers, the way their members are appointed as well as their members’ terms of office.

Transitional provision

The first paragraph becomes effective on the date of repeal of the Law of 15 June 1899 containing Titles I and II of the Military Penal Procedure Code.
 Until then, the following provision remains effective:
 Specific laws regulate the organisation of the military courts, their powers, their members’ rights and obligations as well as their members’ terms of office.

Art. 157 bis

Any modification to essential features of the reform regarding the use of languages in judicial matters in the judicial district of Brussels, as well as any modification to features relating to this issue and concerning the public prosecutor’s office, the Bench and the extent of jurisdiction, may only be made by a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Transitional provision

The law determines the date on which this article comes into force. This date is that on which the law of 19 July 2012 reforming the judicial district of Brussels comes into force.

Art. 158

The Supreme Court makes decisions in conflicts of powers in the manner provided for by the law.

Art. 159

Courts only apply general, provincial or local decisions and regulations provided that they are in accordance with the law.

CHAPTER VII
ON THE COUNCIL OF STATE AND ADMINISTRATIVE COURTS

Art. 160

There is a Council of State for all Belgium, the composition, competences and functioning of which are determined by the law. However, the law can give the King the power to establish the procedure in accordance with the principles that it determines.
 The Council of State makes decisions by means of judgments as an administrative court and provides an opinion in the cases determined by the law.
 Any modification to the rules relating to the general assembly of the Council of State’s Administrative Litigation Section which come into force on the same day as this paragraph may only be made by a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Transitional provision

This article comes into force on 14 October 2012.

Art. 161

An administrative court can only be established by virtue of a law.

CHAPTER VIII
ON PROVINCIAL AND MUNICIPAL INSTITUTIONS

Art. 162

Provincial and municipal institutions are regulated by the law.

The law guarantees the application of the following principles:

  1. the direct election of the members of provincial and municipal councils;
  2. the attribution to provincial and municipal councils of all that is of provincial and municipal interest, without prejudice to the approval of their acts in the cases and in the manner that the law determines;
  3. the decentralisation of competences to provincial and municipal institutions;
  4. the public nature of provincial and municipal council meetings, within the limits established by the law;
  5. the disclosure of accounts and budgets;
  6. the intervention of the supervisory authority or of the federal legislative power to prevent the law from being violated or public interests from being harmed.

Supra-municipal collectivities are governed by the rule referred to in Article 134. This rule enshrines the application of the principles mentioned in the second paragraph. Other principles considered essential can be set by the rule referred to in Article 134, whether or not adopted by a majority of two thirds of the votes cast, under the condition that the majority of the members of the Parliament concerned is present. Articles 159 and 190 are applicable to decisions and regulations of supra-municipal collectivities.”
 In accordance with a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, the federate law or the rule referred to in Article 134 establishes the conditions and the manner in which several provinces, supra-municipal collectivities or municipalities can cooperate or form associations. However, provincial councils, councils of supra-municipal collectivities or municipal councils cannot be permitted to deliberate jointly.

Art. 163

The competences exercised in the Flemish and Walloon Regions by elected provincial bodies are exercised, in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital, by the Flemish and French Communities and by the Joint Community Commission, each with respect to matters falling under their responsibility in pursuance of Articles 127 and 128 and, with respect to other matters, by the Brussels-Capital Region.
 However, a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph establishes the detailed rules by which the Brussels-Capital Region or any institution whose members are designated by the latter exercise the competences described in the first paragraph which do not belong to those matters referred to in Article 39. A law adopted by the same majority lays down rules for the attribution to those institutions described in Article 136 of all or part of the competences referred to in the first paragraph that belong to those matters described in Articles 127 and 128.

Art. 164

The drafting of registry office certificates relating to civil status and the maintenance of registers fall exclusively under the responsibility of the municipal authorities.

Art. 165

§ 1. The law creates metropolitan districts and federations of municipalities. It determines their organisation and their competences and, when doing so, guarantees the application of the principles described in Article 162.
 Each metropolitan district has a council and an executive college.
 The president of the executive college is elected by the council from its midst; his election is ratified by the King; the law establishes his status.
 Articles 159 and 190 apply to the decisions and regulations of the metropolitan districts and the federations of municipalities.
 The boundaries of the metropolitan districts and of the federations of municipalities can only be changed or corrected by virtue of a law.

§ 2. The law creates the body within which each metropolitan district and the nearest federations of municipalities consult each other under the conditions and in the manner which the law establishes to examine common problems of a technical nature that fall under their respective competence.

§ 3. Several federations of municipalities may cooperate or form associations with each other or with one or more metropolitan districts in accordance with the conditions and in the manner prescribed by the law to jointly regulate and manage those issues that fall within their competence. Their councils are not permitted to deliberate jointly.

Art. 166

§ 1. Article 165 applies to the metropolitan district to which the capital of the Kingdom belongs, with the exception of what is provided for hereinafter.

§ 2. The competences of the metropolitan district to which the capital of the Kingdom belongs are, in the manner determined by a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, exercised by the bodies of the Brussels-Capital Region created by virtue of Article 39.

§ 3. The bodies described in Article 136:

  1. possess, each for its Community, the same competences as the other organising powers with respect to cultural, educational and person-related matters;
  2. exercise, each for its Community, the competences delegated to them by the Flemish Community Parliament and by the French Community Parliament;
  3. jointly regulate those matters described in 1° which are of common interest.

TITLE IV
TITLE IV

Art. 167

§ 1. The King directs international relations, notwithstanding the competence of Communities and Regions to regulate international cooperation, including the concluding of treaties, for those matters that fall within their competences in pursuance of or by virtue of the Constitution.
 The King commands the armed forces; he states that there exists a state of war or that hostilities have ceased. He notifies the Houses with additional appropriate messages as soon as interests and security of the State permit.
 Cession, exchange or expansion of territory can only take place by virtue of a law.

§ 2. The King concludes treaties, with the exception of those regarding matters described in § 3.These treaties take effect only after they have received the approval of the House of Representatives.

§ 3. The Community and Regional Governments described in Article 121 conclude, each one in so far as it is concerned, treaties regarding matters that fall within the competence of their Parliament. These treaties take effect only after they have received the approval of the Parliament.

§ 4. A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph fixes the specific rules for the concluding of treaties described in § 3 and of the treaties that do not exclusively concern matters falling within the competence of the Regions or Communities in pursuance of or by virtue of the Constitution.

§ 5. The King, by common consent with the Community or Regional Governments concerned, can denounce treaties concluded before 18 May 1993 and covering matters described in § 3.
 The King denounces these treaties if the Community or Regional Governments concerned invite him to do so. A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph establishes the procedure in the event of disagreement between the Community and Regional Governments concerned.

Transitional provision

The second sentence of § 2 comes into force on the day when elections take place with a view to the complete renewal of the Community and Regional Parliaments in 2014. Until this day, treaties referred to in § 2 take effect only after they have received the approval of both Houses.

Art. 168

From the beginning, the Houses are informed of negotiations concerning any revision of the treaties establishing the European Community and the treaties and acts which have modified or complemented them. They receive the draft treaty before its signature.

Art. 168 bis

With respect to the election of the European Parliament, the law determines special rules with a view to protecting the legitimate interests of French and Dutch-speaking people in the former province of Brabant.
 The provisions which establish these special rules may only be amended by a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

Art.169

In order to ensure the observance of international or supranational obligations, the authorities mentioned in Articles 36 and 37 can, provided that the conditions stipulated by the law are met, temporarily replace the bodies mentioned in Articles 115 and 121. This law must be adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.

TITLE V
ON FINANCES

Art. 170

§ 1. Taxes to the benefit of the State can only be introduced by a law.

§ 2. Taxes to the benefit of a Community or Region can only be introduced by a federate law or a rule as described in Article 134.
 The law determines, with respect to the taxes referred to in the first sub-paragraph, the exceptions that are proved to be necessary.

§ 3. A charge or tax can only be introduced by a province or a supra-municipal collectivity by the decision of its council.
 The law determines, with respect to the taxes described in the first paragraph, the exceptions that are proved to be necessary.
 The law can abolish, either totally or partially, the taxes referred to in the first sub-paragraph.

§ 4. A charge or tax can only be introduced by the metropolitan districts, federations of municipalities or by the municipalities by a decision of their council.
 The law determines, with respect to the taxes referred to in the first sub-paragraph, the exceptions that are proved to be necessary.

Art. 171

Taxes to the benefit of the State, a Community or a Region are subject to an annual vote.
 The rules which introduce them are valid only for one year if they are not renewed.

Art. 172

No privileges with regard to taxes can be introduced.
 No exemption or reduction of taxes can be introduced except by a law.

Art. 173

Except to the benefit of the provinces, the bodies responsible for polders and for draining and flood protection, and except for the cases formally excepted by the laws, the federate laws and rules referred to in Article 134, charges can only be claimed from citizens in the form of taxes to the benefit of the State, the Community, the Region, the metropolitan district, the federation of municipalities or the municipality.

Art. 174

Each year, the House of Representatives passes the law that settles the final accounts and approves the budget. However, the House of Representatives and the Senate fix, each for itself, their operating allowances annually.
 All State receipts and expenditure must be included in the budget and in the accounts.

Art. 175

A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph establishes the system for financing the Flemish Community and the French Community.
 The Flemish and French Community Parliaments decide by federate law, each one in so far as it is concerned, upon the use of their revenues.

Art. 176

A law establishes the system for financing the German-speaking Community.
 The Parliament of the German-speaking Community decides by federate law upon the use of its revenues.

Art. 177

A law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph establishes the system for financing the Regions.
 Regional Parliaments determine, each one for matters of its concern, the use of their revenues, by means of the rules referred to in Article 134.

Art. 178

Under the conditions and in the manner stipulated by a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region transfers, by the rule referred to in Article 134, financial means to the Joint Community Commission and to the Flemish and French Community Commissions.

Art. 179

No pension or gratuity payable by the public treasury can be attributed other than by virtue of a law.

Art. 180

Members of the Court of Audit are appointed by the House of Representatives for a term established by the law.
 This Court is responsible for examining and validating the general administration accounts and the accounts of all accounting officers answerable to the public treasury. It must see that no budgetary item is surpassed and that no transfers take place. The Court also has general oversight of operations relating to the establishment and collection of entitlements owed to the State, including tax receipts. It clears the accounts of the various State administrations and is responsible for collecting all information and accounting documents needed for that purpose. General accounts of the State are submitted to the House of Representatives with the Court of Audit’s observations.
 This Court is organised by the law.
 The law can entrust the Court of Audit with the control of the budgets and accountancy of the Communities and Regions, as well as of the public interest bodies which depend on them. It can also permit their control to be regulated by the federate law or the rule referred to in Article 134. Except as far as the German-speaking Community is concerned, the said law is passed by the majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
 The law, the federate law or the rule referred to in Article 134 can entrust additional tasks to the Court of Audit. After the Court has agreed to it, the federate law or the rule referred to in Article 134 fixes the fee that is paid to the Court for carrying out these tasks. No fee is due for carrying out a task that the Court is already performing for a Community or Region before this paragraph comes into force.

Art. 181

§ 1. The salaries and pensions of ministers of religion are paid for by the State; the amounts required are charged annually to the budget.

§ 2. The salaries and pensions of representatives of organisations recognised by the law as providing moral assistance according to a non-denominational philosophical concept are paid for by the State; the amounts required are charged annually to the budget.

TITLE VI
ON THE ARMED FORCES AND THE POLICE SERVICE

Art. 182

Army recruitment methods are determined by the law. The law also regulates the promotion, the rights and the duties of military personnel.

Art. 183

Military quotas are subject to an annual vote. The law that determines them is valid only for one year if it is not renewed.

Art. 184

The organisation and competence of the integrated police service, structured at two levels, are regulated by the law. The essential features of the status of the members of the personnel of the integrated police service, structured at two levels, are regulated by the law.

Transitional provision

However, the King can decide upon and implement the essential features of the status of the members of the personnel of the integrated police service, structured at two levels, provided that this decree, with regard to these features, is confirmed by the law before 30 April 2002.

Art. 185

Foreign troops may only be admitted to the service of the State, or occupy or cross the territory by virtue of a law.

Art. 186

Military personnel can only be deprived of rank, honours and pensions in the manner described by the law.

TITLE VII
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Art. 187

The Constitution cannot be wholly or partially suspended.

Art. 188

From the day on which the Constitution becomes enforceable, all laws, decrees, decisions, regulations and other acts that are contrary to it are abrogated.

Art. 189

The text of the Constitution is drafted in Dutch, in French and in German.

Art. 190

No law or decision, or regulation of general, provincial or municipal administration is binding until it has been published in the manner described by the law.

Art. 191

All foreigners on Belgian soil benefit from the protection provided to persons and property, except for those exceptions provided for by the law.

Art. 192

An oath can only be made obligatory by virtue of a law. The law determines the wording.

Art. 193

The Belgian Nation adopts red, yellow and black colours, and as arms of the kingdom the Lion of Belgium with the motto: UNION IS STRENGTH.

Art. 194

The city of Brussels is the capital of Belgium and the seat of the Federal Government.

TITLE VIII
ON THE REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION

Art. 195

The federal legislative power has the right to declare that there are reasons to revise such constitutional provision as it determines.
 Following such a declaration, the two Houses are automatically dissolved.
 Two new Houses are then convened, in accordance with Article 46.
 These Houses make decisions, in common accord with the King, on the points submitted for revision.
 In this case, the Houses can only debate provided that at least two thirds of the members who make up each House are present; and no change is adopted unless it is supported by at least two thirds of the votes cast.

Transitional provision

The Houses, as they were constituted following their full renewal on 13 June 2010, may however, in common consent with the King, pronounce on the revision of the following provisions, articles and groups of articles, but only to the effect as indicated hereafter:

  1. Articles 5, second paragraph, 11bis, 41, fifth paragraph, 159 and 190, in order to guarantee the full exercise of the Regions’ autonomy towards the provinces without prejudice neither to the present specific provisions of the law of 9 August 1988 modifying the law on municipalities, the electoral law for municipalities, the law organising public centres for social welfare, the law on provinces, the electoral Code, the electoral law for provinces and the law organising simultaneous elections for the Legislative Houses and the provincial councils, nor to those relating to the office of governor, and in order to limit the meaning of the word “province” used in the Constitution to its sole territorial meaning, to the exclusion of any institutional meaning;
  2. Article 23, in order to guarantee the right to child allowances;
  3. Title III, in order to insert in it a provision aimed at prohibiting to modify election laws less than one year before the date when elections are to be held;
  4. Articles 43, § 1, 44, second paragraph, 46, fifth paragraph, 69, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83 and 168, in order to implement the reform of the bicameral system and entrust the residual legislative powers to the House of Representatives;
  5. Articles 46 and 117, in order to provide that the parliamentary elections at federal level will take place the same day as the election of the European Parliament and that, in case of early dissolution, the new federal parliamentary term may not extend beyond the day when the election of the European Parliament following this dissolution is held, as well as in order to permit a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph to entitle the Regions and Communities to determine, by special decree or special ordinance, the duration of the term for which their Parliaments are elected and the date for the election of these Parliaments, and to provide that a law, passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph, fixes the date when the new rules laid down in this division with regard to elections will enter into force;
  6. Article 63, § 4, in order to supplement it with a sub-paragraph providing that, for the election of the House of Representatives, the law establishes special rules with a view to protecting the legitimate interests of French and Dutch-speaking people in the former province of Brabant, and also providing that the provisions which establish these special rules can only be amended by a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph;
  7. Title III, Chapter IV, Section II, Sub-section III, in order to insert in it an article permitting a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph to attribute to the Region of Brussels-Capital, for the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital, powers that have not been assigned to the Communities in the matters referred to in Article 127, § 1, first sub-paragraph, 1° and in the same sub-paragraph, 3°, insofar as this 3° concerns matters referred to in the aforesaid 1°;
  8. Title III, Chapter IV, Section II, Sub-section III, in order to permit a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph to simplify the procedures for cooperation between entities;
  9. Article 143, in order to supplement it with a paragraph that precludes the procedure relating to conflicts of interest from being initiated with respect to a law or decision of the federal authority which modifies the basis of taxation, the tax rate, exemptions or any other element playing a role in the computation of the personal income tax;
  10. Title III, Chapter VI, in order to insert in it a provision according to which any modification to essential features of the reform regarding the use of languages in judicial matters in the judicial district of Brussels, as well as any modification to features relating to this issue and concerning the public prosecutor’s office, the Bench and the extent of jurisdiction, may only be made by a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph;
  11. Article 144, in order to provide that the Council of State and, as the case may be, federal administrative courts may rule on the effects that their decisions have with respect to private law;
  12. Article 151, § 1, in order to provide that the Communities and the Regions are entitled to order prosecutions regarding matters falling under their responsibility through the Minister of Justice, who immediately carries out the prosecutions, and in order to permit a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph to provide for the participation by the Communities and the Regions, in matters falling under their responsibility, in decisions concerning the investigation and prosecution policy of public prosecutors, the binding guidelines with respect to criminal policy, the representation in the College of Public Prosecutors General, and in decisions concerning the Guide Note on Full Security and the National Security Scheme;
  13. Article 160, in order to add a paragraph providing that any modification to the new powers granted to the general assembly of the Council of State’s Administrative Litigation Section and any modification to the rules for deliberation in this assembly may only be made by a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph;
  14. Title IV, in order to insert in it an article providing that, with respect to the election of the European Parliament, the law determines special rules with a view to protecting the legitimate interests of French and Dutch-speaking people in the former province of Brabant, and that the provisions which establish these special rules can only be amended by a law passed by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph;
  15. Article 180, in order to provide that assemblies which legislate through federate laws or rules referred to in Article 134 may entrust tasks to the Court of Audit, for which a fee may be charged.

The Houses can only debate on the items mentioned in the first paragraph provided that at least two thirds of the members who make up each House are present and no change is adopted unless it is supported by at least two thirds of the votes cast.
 This transitional provision is not to be considered as a declaration in the sense of Article 195, second paragraph.

Art. 196

No constitutional revision can be started or pursued during times of war or when the Houses are prevented from meeting freely on federal territory.

Art. 197

During a regency, no changes can be made to the Constitution regarding the constitutional powers of the King and Articles 85 to 88, 91 to 95, 106 and 197 of the Constitution.

Art. 198

In agreement with the King, the Constituent Houses can change the numbering of articles and of subdivisions of the articles of the Constitution, as well as the subdivisions of the latter into titles, chapters and sections, modify the terminology of provisions not submitted for revision in order to harmonise them with the terminology of new provisions and to ensure the concordance of the Dutch, French and German texts of the Constitution.
 In this case, the Houses can debate only provided that at least two thirds of the members who make up each House are present; and no change will be adopted unless it is supported by at least two thirds of the votes cast.

TITLE IX
THE ENTRY INTO FORCE AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

I. – The provisions of Article 85 will for the first time be applicable to the progeny of H.R.H. Prince Albert, Felix, Humbert, Theodore, Christian, Eugene, Marie, Prince of Liege, Prince of Belgium, it being understood that the marriage of H.R.H. Princess Astrid, Josephine, Charlotte, Fabrizia, Elisabeth, Paola, Marie, Princess of Belgium to Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este, is regarded as having obtained the consent described in Article 85, second paragraph.
 Until such time, the following provisions remain in effect.
 The constitutional powers of the King are hereditary through the direct, natural and legitimate descent from H.M. Leopold, George, Christian, Frederick of Saxe-Coburg, from male to male, by order of primogeniture and with the permanent exclusion of women and of their descendants.
 The prince who marries without the King’s consent or, in his absence, without the consent of those exercising the King’s powers in cases provided for by the Constitution shall be deprived of his right to the crown.
 Nonetheless, this right may be restored by the King or, in his absence, by those exercising the powers of the King in cases provided for by the Constitution, but only with the assent of both Houses. .

II. [Repealed]

III. — Article 125 is valid for events taking place after 8 May 1993.

IV. [Repealed]

V. [Repealed]

VI. — § 1. [Repealed]

§ 2. [Repealed]

§ 3. The personnel and the assets of the province of Brabant will be divided between the province of Flemish Brabant, the province of Walloon Brabant, the Brussels-Capital Region, the authorities and the institutions described in Articles 135 and 136, as well as the federal authority, in accordance with the terms determined by a law adopted by a majority as described in Article 4, last paragraph.
 Following the next renewal of the provincial councils and until they are divided, personnel and assets remaining in common will be jointly managed by the province of Flemish Brabant, the province of Walloon Brabant and by the authorities which are competent in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital.

§ 4. [Repealed]

§ 5. [Repealed]

2. Organic Law

Translation

Last update: 15 January 2017.

Provisions entering into force after that date are shown in a text box with grey background, preceded or not by the words “Future provision[s]”, as the case may be.

TITLE I
JURISDICTION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
CHAPTER I : ACTIONS FOR ANNULMENT
SECTION I
ACTIONS FOR ANNULMENT

Article 1

The Constitutional Court shall rule in the form of judgments on actions for full or partial annulment of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution for infringement of:

  1. the rules that have been established by or in pursuance of the Constitution to determine the respective powers of the State, the Communities and the Regions; or
  2. the articles of Title II, “The Belgians and their Rights”, and Articles 170, 172 and 191 of the Constitution.
  3. Article 143, § 1, of the Constitution.

Art. 2

The actions referred to in Article 1 shall be instituted:

  1. by the Council of Ministers or by the Government of a Community or Region;
  2. by any natural or legal person with a justifiable interest; or
  3. by the presidents of the legislative assemblies at the request of two-thirds of their members.

The provisions of this Act that concern the Community or Regional governments shall apply to the Joint Board of the Common Community Commission and the Board of the French Community Commission.

Art. 3

§ 1. Without prejudice to what is provided in paragraph 2 and Article 4, the actions for full or partial annulment of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution shall only be admissible insofar as they are instituted within six months after the publication of the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution.

§ 2. Actions for full or partial annulment of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution by which a convention is ratified shall only be admissible insofar as they are instituted within sixty days after the publication of the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution.

Art. 3 bis

For actions for annulment of a decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution, which are based on a breach of Articles 6, § 2, and 9, § 1, of the Special Act of 16 January 1989 on the financing of the communities and regions, the six-month period provided for by Article 3 shall only begin as soon as the assessment term stipulated in Article 359 of the Income Tax Code of 1992 has expired.

Art. 4

The Council of Ministers or the Government of a Community or Region shall have a new sixmonth period in which to institute an action for annulment of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution if:

  1. an action is brought against a regulation covering the same subject and enacted by another legislative body than that which adopted the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution. This period shall begin on the day after the date of publication of the notice referred to in Article 74;
  2. the Court has annulled a regulation entirely or partially covering the same subject and enacted by another legislative body than that which adopted the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution. This period shall begin on the day after the date of publication of the judgment in the Moniteur belge.

The Council of Ministers, the Government of a Community or Region, the presidents of the legislative assemblies at the request of two-thirds of their members, or any natural or legal person with a justifiable interest shall have a new six-month period in which to institute an action for annulment of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution, if the Court, ruling on a preliminary issue, has decided that this statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution infringes one of the rules or articles of the Constitution referred to in Article 1. This period shall begin on the day after the date of publication of the judgment in the Moniteur belge.

Art. 5

Actions for annulment shall be instituted before the Court by means of a petition which, as the case may be, is signed by the Prime Minister, by a member of the Government designated by that Government, by the president of a legislative assembly, or by a party with a justifiable interest or its lawyer.

Future provision 1

Art. 5

Art. 5. Actions for annulment shall be instituted before the Court by means of a petition filed by the Prime Minister, by a member of the Government designated by that Government, by the president of a legislative assembly, or by a party with a justifiable interest or its lawyer.

Art. 6

The petition shall be dated and signed. It shall state the subject of the appeal and shall set out the facts and grounds.

Future provision 2

Art. 6

The petition shall state the subject of the appeal and shall set out the facts and grounds.

Art. 7

The petitioning party shall attach to its petition a copy of the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution against which the action for annulment is instituted, along with, where appropriate, the annexes thereto.

Where the action is instituted by the Council of Ministers, the Government of a Community or Region, or the president of a legislative assembly, the petitioning party shall also attach to its petition a certified true copy of its decision to institute the action for annulment.

Where a legal person institutes the action or intervenes in the proceedings, this party shall, on first request, submit proof of the decision to institute or continue the action or to intervene in the proceedings and, if its articles of association must be published in the Annexes to the Moniteur belge, a copy of this publication.

Art. 8

If the action is well-founded, the Constitutional Court shall entirely or partially annul the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution against which the action was instituted.

If the Court entirely or partially annuls a decree or a rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution that was adopted in accordance with Article 92bis/1 of the Special Act of 8 August 1980 on institutional reform, it also annuls the corresponding provisions that appear in the decree or decrees or the rule or rules referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution that was (were) adopted at the same time.

Where the Court so deems necessary, it shall, by a general ruling, specify which effects of the nullified provisions are to be considered maintained or be provisionally maintained for the period appointed by the Court.

SECTION II
EFFECTS OF ANNULMENT JUDGMENTS

Art. 9

§ 1. The annulment judgments delivered by the Constitutional Court shall have final and binding effect as from their publication in the Moniteur belge.

§ 2. The judgments delivered by the Constitutional Court whereby actions for annulment are dismissed shall be binding on the courts with respect to the points of law settled by those judgments.

Art. 10

A final and conclusive judgment of a criminal court may be entirely or partially revoked by that court insofar as the judgment in question is based on a provision of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution which has been subsequently nullified by the Constitutional Court, or on a regulation implementing such statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution.

Art. 11

It shall be for the Public Prosecution Service to demand such revocation.

The right to demand the revocation shall also be vested in:

  1. the convicted person;
  2. the person with regard to whom a decision has been given ordering deferment of the pronouncement of the judgment;
  3. in the event that the convicted person or, where appropriate, the person with regard to whom a decision has been given ordering deferment of the pronouncement of the judgment has deceased or has been declared incompetent or absent, in his spouse, his direct descendants or ascendants, his brothers and sisters;
  4. the party who has been declared liable under civil law for the convicted person or, where appropriate, the person with regard to whom a decision has been given ordering deferment of the pronouncement of the judgment.

Art. 12

§ 1. The case shall be brought before the competent court, either at the suit of the Public Prosecution Service, or by a petition stating the ground for revocation. On pain of nullity, the action shall be instituted within six months after publication of the judgment of the Constitutional Court in the Moniteur belge.

§ 2. After being seized of the case or of the petition, and in the event that the convicted person has died, is absent or has been declared incompetent, that court shall appoint a guardian for his defence, who shall represent him in the revocation proceedings.

§ 3. The Public Prosecution Service shall have the petition notified to all those who are party to the challenged decision. The notification shall comprise a summons to appear before the court that delivered the challenged decision, along with the text of Articles 10 to 12 of the present Act. The decision whereby a final ruling is given on the revocation shall be deemed to have been delivered in adversarial proceedings with respect to the validly summoned party claiming damages, even if this party did not intervene in the action for revocation before the close of the proceedings.

§ 4. The case file on the basis of which the challenged decision was delivered shall be made available for inspection by the parties for a period of at least fifteen days.

§ 5. The court that has been seized of the case may, if the convicted person has been taken into custody in pursuance of the decision of which the revocation is being demanded, order that this person be provisionally released in accordance with the procedure specified in Article 27, § 3, of the Act of 20 July 1990 on pre-trial detention. If the grounds adduced seem valid and are such as to justify the requested revocation, that court may order the suspension of all measures for the execution or enforcement of the decision that is susceptible of revocation.

§ 6. The court may, at the request of one the persons referred to in Article 11, 1° to 4°, order that its revocation decision be published in abstract form in a newspaper which it designates.

§ 7. The costs of the proceedings shall be borne by the State.

Art. 13

§ 1. Judgments delivered in criminal cases on the basis of a nullified statute, nullified decree or nullified rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution, or of a regulation implementing such statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution, as well as decisions to suspend the pronouncement of such judgments shall be reversed by the revocation within the limits in which this revocation was pronounced.

§ 2. If in the challenged decision only one sentence was passed in respect of several offences, of which at least one had been committed in breach of a provision that has not been nullified, the court, at the suit of the Public Prosecution Service and provided that the proceedings have not become barred by limitation, may either uphold the judgment in its entirety or reduce the sentence, or suspend the pronouncement of the judgment, or hand down a decision of acquittal.

§ 3. If the offences that led to the revoked judgment remain punishable by virtue of provisions that become applicable again as a result of the annulment, the court that heard the action for revocation may, at the suit of the Public Prosecution Service and provided that the proceedings have not become barred by limitation, pass new sentences without however this resulting in an increase in penalties.

§ 4. The court shall order the repayment of any wrongfully collected fine, plus the legal interest accruing from the date of collection. Article 28 of the Act of 13 March 1973 on compensation for wrongful pretrial detention shall also apply to convicted persons who have been wrongfully taken into custody in pursuance of the revoked judgment.

§ 5. If, as a result of the revocation, the court is no longer competent to rule on the civil action, it shall refer the case to the competent court. Articles 660 to 663 of the Judicial Code and Article 16, §§ 1 and 2, of the present Act shall also apply to such referral.

Art. 14

Decisions to confine suspects and accused persons who are in a state of insanity, mental disturbance or mental deficiency, which have been delivered by virtue of the Act on the protection of society against abnormal persons or habitual criminals may be revoked in accordance with Articles 10 to 13.

Art. 15

Notwithstanding Article 1082, second paragraph, of the Judicial Code, a second appeal to the Supreme Court may be brought if this relies exclusively upon the annulment by the Constitutional Court of the provision of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution which constituted the basis of the challenged decision, or of a regulation implementing such statute, decree or rule

Art. 16

§ 1. A final and conclusive judgment of a civil court may be entirely or partially revoked at the suit of the persons who were party to, or were duly summoned to appear in, those proceedings, insofar as the judgment in question is based on a provision of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution which has been subsequently nullified by the Constitutional Court, or on a regulation implementing such statute, decree or rule.

§ 2. The court may, within the limits of the revocation, pronounce a new judgment based on a different ground or on a different legal definition of an offence or an act substantiating the challenged decision.

§ 3. The action for revocation shall be brought before the court that delivered the challenged decision; such action shall, on pain of nullity, be initiated by a summons setting out the grounds and notified to all parties involved in the challenged decision.

§ 4. On pain of nullity, the action shall be instituted within six months after publication of the judgment of the Constitutional Court in the Moniteur belge.

Art. 17

A judgment of the Council of State may be entirely or partially revoked, insofar as it is based on a provision of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution which has been subsequently nullified by the Constitutional Court, or on a regulation implementing such statute, decree or rule.

The time limit for appeals shall be six months from the date of publication of the judgment of the Constitutional Court in the Moniteur belge.

Art. 18

Notwithstanding the expiry of the time limits set by the laws and special regulations, administrative or judicial appeals, as the case may be, may still be lodged against acts and regulations of the various administrative bodies as well as against decisions of other courts of law than those referred to in Article 16 of the present Act, insofar as those decisions are based on a provision of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution which has been subsequently nullified by the Constitutional Court, or on a regulation implementing such statute, decree or rule, within six months after publication of the judgment of the Constitutional Court in the Moniteur belge.

SECTION III
SUSPENSION

Art. 19

At the suit of the petitioning party, the Court may, by a duly reasoned decision, entirely or partially suspend the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution against which an action for annulment has been brought.

Art. 20

Without prejudice to Article 16ter of the Special Act of 8 August 1980 on institutional reform and Article 5ter of the Special Act of 12 January 1989 on the Brussels institutions, suspension may only be decided in the following cases:

  1. if valid grounds are adduced and on condition that the immediate implementation of the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution against which the appeal has been brought is liable to cause serious detriment which is difficult to remedy;
  2. if an appeal has been lodged against a rule which is identical or similar to a rule already nullified by the Constitutional Court and which has been adopted by the same legislative body.

Art. 21

The suspension shall be demanded in the petition for annulment or in a separate document signed in accordance with Article 5, attached to the petition or submitted in the course of the proceedings.

Notwithstanding Article 3, petitions for suspension shall only be admissible if they are filed within three months after publication of the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution.

Art. 22

Without prejudice to Article 16ter of the Special Act of 8 August 1980 on institutional reform and Article 5ter of the Special Act of 12 January 1989 on the Brussels institutions, the action referred to in Article 20, 1°, shall contain a statement of the facts showing that the immediate implementation of the challenged rule is liable to cause serious detriment which is difficult to remedy.

If the action is instituted by a separate document, it shall be dated and signed and shall specify the rule against which the action for annulment is being instituted.

Art. 23

Without prejudice to Articles 70 to 73, the Court shall rule on the action without delay in a duly reasoned judgment after hearing the parties.

Art. 24

The judgment ordering the suspension shall be formulated in Dutch, French and German. At the request of the registrar of the Court, the judgment shall be published in its entirety or in abstract form in the Moniteur belge.

The judgment shall be effective from the date of publication.

Art. 25

The Court shall deliver its judgment on the main action within three months after pronouncement of the judgment ordering the suspension. This time limit cannot be extended.

If no judgment is delivered on the main action within that time limit, the suspension shall immediately cease to have effect.

SECTION IV
ACTIONS FOR ANNULMENT OF DECISIONS OF THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REVIEW COMMITTEE ON EXPENDITURE FOR THE ELECTIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Art. 25 bis

The Court shall rule by way of judgments on actions for annulment, on the ground of infringement of procedural requirements which are essential or breach of which leads to nullity, or of abuse or misuse of powers, brought against decisions of the Review Committee referred to in Article 14/1 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses for the elections of the House of Representatives, the financing and open accounting of political parties.

For the investigation of such actions, the Court has the powers vested in it by Article 26, §§ 1 and 1bis.

Art. 25 ter

The actions referred to in Article 25bis shall be instituted by the elected candidate against whom the Review Committee has pronounced a penalty decision.

Such actions shall only be admissible insofar as they are instituted within thirty days after notification of the decision of the Review Committee. The limitation period for the actions referred to in the present article shall only begin if the notification of the penalty decision by the Review Committee specifies the existence of said action for annulment and the formalities and time limits to be observed. If this condition is not fulfilled, the limitation period shall begin four months after the person concerned has been notified of the decision of the Review Committee.

Art. 25 quater

Actions for annulment shall be instituted before the Court by means of a petition signed by the elected candidate referred to in Article 25ter or by his lawyer.

The petition shall be dated and signed. It shall state the subject of the appeal and shall set out the facts and grounds.

Without prejudice to Articles 70 to 73, the Court shall rule on the action for annulment within three months after its submission, in a duly reasoned judgment after hearing the parties.

Art. 25 quinquies

The petitioning party shall attach to its petition a copy of the decision of the Review Committee referred to in Article 14/1 of the Act of 4 July 1989 on the limitation and control of election expenses for the elections of the House of Representatives, the financing and open accounting of political parties, against which the action for annulment is instituted, along with, where appropriate, the annexes thereto.

The registrar shall notify the petition to the president of the House of Representatives. Within ten days after receipt of the notification sent by the registrar, the president of the House of Representatives shall send the case file that led to the challenged decision to the Court.

Within thirty days after receipt of the notification sent by the registrar, the Review Committee may make a written submission to the Court. Any written submission that has not been filed within that time limit shall be barred from the proceedings. The registrar shall send a copy of the written submission to the petitioning party, who shall have fifteen days from the date of receipt in which to send a statement of reply to the registry. Those time limits may be shortened or extended by a duly reasoned order of the president.

Art. 25 sexies

If the action is well-founded, the Court shall annul the decision of the Review Committee against which the action was instituted.

The registrar shall notify the judgments to the parties and to the president of the House of Representatives.

Art. 25 septies

Articles 74, 76, 78, 80, 85 to 89bis and 113 shall not apply to actions for annulment of decisions of the Review Committee. If, however, the Court is requested to make use of its powers in accordance with Article 26, the Council of Ministers shall be notified thereof by the registrar. In that case, the Council of Ministers shall have fifteen days in which to make a written submission to the Court.

Artikel 90 is van toepassing op het beroep bedoeld in artikel 25 bis mits de in artikel 89 bepaalde termijn wordt vervangen door de termijn van vijftien dagen waarin artikel 25quinquies, derde lid, voorziet en die in voorkomend geval wordt verkort of verlengd.

CHAPTER II: PRELIMINARY ISSUES

Art. 26

§ 1. The Constitutional Court shall, by way of preliminary ruling, settle in the form of judgments issues relating to:

  1. infringement by a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution of the rules that have been established by or in pursuance of the Constitution to determine the respective powers of the State, the Communities and the Regions;
  2. without prejudice to 1°, any conflict between decrees or between rules referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution that are enacted by different legislative bodies and insofar as the conflict has arisen from their respective scope of action;
  3. infringement by a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution of the articles of Title II, “The Belgians and their Rights”, and Articles 170, 172 and 191 of the Constitution.
  4. infringement by a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution of article 143, §1, of the Constitution.

§ 1bis. From the scope of this article shall be excluded the statutes, decrees and rules referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution which ratify a treaty establishing the European Union or the Convention of 4 November 1950 for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms or an Additional Protocol to this Convention.

§ 2. Where a question relating to that matter is raised before a court of law, said court shall request the Constitutional Court to give a ruling on that question.

The court of law, however, is not obliged to do so:

  1. if the case cannot be heard by the court in question for reasons of lack of jurisdiction or inadmissibility of the case, unless those reasons are derived from rules in respect of which the request is made to refer a question for a preliminary ruling;
  2. if the Constitutional Court has already ruled on a question or appeal on an identical subject.

The court of law whose decision is open to appeal, opposition, appeal to the Supreme Court or action for annulment before the Council of State, shall not be obliged to do so if the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution evidently does not infringe a rule or article of the Constitution referred to in §1 or if the court of law believes that the reply to the preliminary question is not essential to be able to pass judgment.

§ 3. Unless there is serious doubt about the compatibility of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution with one of the rules or articles of the Constitution referred to in §1 and if no question or appeal on the same subject is pending before the Constitutional Court, a court of law shall not be obliged to refer a question for a preliminary ruling, both in the event that the action is urgent and the judgment on the action is merely of a temporary nature, and in the event that the proceedings are concerned with judging the necessity of keeping a suspect in pre-trial detention.

§ 4. Where it is invoked before a court of law that a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution infringes a fundamental right which is guaranteed in an entirely or partly similar manner by a provision of Title II of the Constitution and by a provision of European or international law, said court of law shall first refer the question of compatibility with the provision of Title II of the Constitution to the Constitutional Court for a preliminary ruling. Where only the infringement of the provision of European or international law is invoked before the court of law, said court of law shall, even ex officio, investigate whether Title II of the Constitution contains an entirely or partly similar provision. These obligations shall not prejudice the right of the court of law, at the same time or at a later date, to refer a question to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling.

Notwithstanding the first paragraph, the obligation to refer a preliminary question to the Constitutional Court shall not apply:

  1. in the cases referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3;
  2. if the court of law finds that the provision of Title II of the Constitution has manifestly not been infringed;
  3. if the court of law finds that it appears from a judgment delivered by an international court of law that the provision of European or international law has manifestly been infringed;
  4. if the court of law finds that it appears from a judgment delivered by the Constitutional Court that the provision of Title II of the Constitution has manifestly been infringed.

Art. 27

§ 1. Preliminary questions shall be referred to the Constitutional Court by communication of a certified true copy of the referral decision signed by the president and registrar of the court of law.

§ 2. The referral decision shall state the provisions of the statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution in respect of which the question is referred; where appropriate, it shall also specify which articles of the Constitution or of the special laws are relevant in that respect. The Constitutional Court, however, may reformulate the preliminary question referred.

Art. 28

The court of law which posed the preliminary question and any other court of law passing judgment in the same case shall comply with the ruling given by the Constitutional Court in the settlement of the dispute in connection with which the questions referred to in Article 26 were posed.

Where the Court so deems necessary, it shall, by a general ruling, specify which effects of the provisions which have been declared unconstitutional are to be considered maintained or be provisionally maintained for the period appointed by the Court.

Art. 29

§ 1. No legal remedy shall lie against a decision of a court of law insofar as it refers a question to the Constitutional Court for a preliminary ruling.

§ 2. Any decision whereby a court of law refuses to refer a question for a preliminary ruling shall state the reason for the refusal. No separate legal remedy shall lie against the decision of a court of law that refuses to refer such a question.

Art. 30

A decision to refer a question to the Constitutional Court for a preliminary ruling shall have the effect of suspending the proceedings and the time limits for proceedings and limitation periods from the date of that decision until the date on which the ruling of the Constitutional Court is notified to the court of law that posed the preliminary question. A copy of the ruling shall be sent to the parties.

The court of law may, however, even ex officio, take the necessary provisional measures to ensure protection of the rights that are granted by European Union law.

CHAPTER III: COMMON PROVISIONS

Art. 30 bis

For the purposes of Articles 1 and 26, § 1, rules referred to in 1° of these two provisions shall mean the consultation, involvement, provision of information, opinions, unanimous opinions, agreements, common agreements and proposals referred to in the Special Act of 8 August 1980 on institutional reform, except for the cooperation agreements referred to in Article 92bis of the aforementioned Act, as well as in the Special Act of 16 January 1989 on the financing of the Communities and Regions or in any other statute adopted in pursuance of Articles 39, 127, § 1, 128, § 1, 129, § 1, 130, § 1, 135, 136, 137, 140, 166, 175, 176 and 177 of the Constitution.

CHAPTER IV: REVIEW OF REFERENDUMS

Art. 30 ter

The Constitutional Court shall rule by way of decisions on all regional referendums, prior to the organization thereof, by examining whether the statutes, decrees or rules referred to in Article 1 as well as the conditions and specific rules set out by or in pursuance of Article 39bis of the Constitution have been complied with.

The petition shall be submitted by the President of the Regional Parliament. This petition shall be dated and signed. It shall state the subject of the referendum by indicating the competence of the regional authority it falls under, and shall contain the formulation of the question that will be put, the name of the initiator of the referendum or, if there are several initiators, the name of their representative, the comments, if any, formulated by the President of the Regional Parliament, and the administrative file. This administrative file shall be sent together with a list of documents it contains.

The Constitutional Court shall rule on the petition within sixty days after submission thereof.

If the referendum fails to comply with any one of the statutes, decrees, conditions or specific rules referred to in Article 1, or if the matter is not referred to the Constitutional Court first, the referendum shall not be held. The referendum cannot be held as long as the Court has not given its ruling.

CHAPTER V: PROTECTION OF PRIVACY

Art. 30 quater

At every stage of the judicial procedure, and even after the judgment has been pronounced, the president may, ex officio or at the simple request of a party or of a third party with a justifiable interest, decide that references identifying them directly shall, at the earliest convenience, be omitted from any publication which the Court may issue, or has issued, in pursuance of this special Act or on its own initiative.

TITLE II
ORGANIZATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
CHAPTER I: JUDGES OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

Art. 31

The Constitutional Court shall be composed of twelve judges: six Dutch-speaking judges, who form the Dutch language group of the Court, and six French-speaking judges, who form the French language group of the Court.

The title of Dutch-speaking judge or of French-speaking judge of the Constitutional Court shall, for the judges referred to in Article 34, § 1, 1°, be determined by the language of their degree, and for the judges referred to in Article 34, § 1, 2°, by the parliamentary language group to which they last belonged.

Art. 32

The judges shall be appointed for life by the King from a list of two candidates, nominated alternately by the House of Representatives and by the Senate. The list of candidates shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present.

Nominations shall take place at least fifteen days after publication of the vacancy in the Moniteur belge. This publication shall take place at the earliest three months prior to the vacancy occurring.

All nominations shall be published in the Moniteur belge; no appointment shall take place earlier than fifteen days after this publication.

Art. 33

The Dutch-speaking and French-speaking judges of the Constitutional Court shall elect a Dutch-speaking and French-speaking president from their respective language groups.

Art. 34

§ 1. To be appointed judge at the Constitutional Court, candidates shall be at least forty years of age and shall satisfy one of the following conditions:

  1. having held, in Belgium, for at least five years the office of:
    a) Justice, Attorney-General, First Advocate-General or Advocate-General at the Supreme Court; or
    b) Member of the Council of State or Auditor-General, Assistant Auditor-General, First Auditor or First Legal Secretary at the Council of State; or
    c) Legal Secretary at the Constitutional Court; or
    d) Professor or Associate Professor of Law at a Belgian university;
  2. having been for at least five years a member of the Senate, the House of Representatives or a Community or Regional Parliament

§ 2. The Court shall number among its Dutch-speaking and French-speaking judges respectively as many judges who satisfy the conditions stipulated in § 1, 1°, as judges who satisfy the condition stipulated in § 1, 2°.

Among the judges who satisfy the conditions stipulated in § 1, 1°, at least one judge shall satisfy the condition referred to under a) or the condition referred to under b), at least one judge shall satisfy the condition referred to under c), and at least one judge shall satisfy the condition stipulated under d). § 3. A candidate nominated on the basis of the condition stipulated in § 1, 1°, cannot be nominated on the basis of the condition stipulated in § 1, 2°.

A candidate nominated on the basis of the condition stipulated in § 1, 2°, cannot be nominated on the basis of the condition stipulated in § 1, 1°.

§ 4. At least one judge of the Court, belonging to the judges who satisfy the conditions referred to in § 1, 1°, shall furnish proof of an adequate knowledge of German. The King shall determine the manner in which proof of knowledge of German shall be furnished.

§ 5. The Court shall be composed of judges of both genders, both as regards the judges referred to in § 1, 1°, and those referred to in § 1, 2°.

The Court shall consist of at least one-third of judges of each gender.3

Art. 35

The Constitutional Court shall be assisted by maximum twenty-four legal secretaries, half of whom Dutch-speaking and the other half French-speaking, according to the language of their degree, and who shall have furnished proof of an adequate knowledge of the second national language before an examination board composed by the Managing Director of the Selection and Recruitment Office of the Federal Government.

At least one Dutch-speaking and one French-speaking legal secretary shall furnish proof of an adequate knowledge of German before an examination board composed by the Managing Director of the Selection and Recruitment Office of the Federal Government.

Art. 36

To be appointed legal secretary, candidates shall be at least twenty-five years of age and shall hold a degree of Doctor or Licentiate of Law.

Appointments shall only be possible if there is a vacancy and at least fifteen days after publication of the vacancy in the Moniteur belge. This publication shall take place at the earliest three months prior to the vacancy occurring.

Art. 37

With a view to their appointment, candidates shall be ranked on the basis of an open competition of which the Court shall determine the conditions and appoint the examination board.

Half of the examination board shall consist of judges of the Court and the other half of persons from outside the Court, with due regard for linguistic parity.

The results of the exams shall remain valid for three years.

The open competition shall, with respect to its effects, be equated with the open competitions which in the government services and the public utility institutions give access to the post of administrative secretary-lawyer.

Art. 38

The legal secretaries shall be appointed by the Court for an internship of three years according to their ranking on the basis of the open competition referred to in Article 37.

After those three years, the appointment shall be definitive, unless the Court decides otherwise during the third year of internship.

Art. 39

The office of legal secretary at the Constitutional Court shall be equated with the judicial offices with respect to the appointment conditions stipulated in Articles 70 and 71 of the laws on the Council of State, as coordinated on 12 January 1973, and in Articles 187 et seq. of the Judicial Code.

The years worked as legal secretary at the Constitutional Court shall be taken into consideration for the purpose of determining the length of service in any administrative or judicial post or in a post with the Council of State or the Constitutional Court which the legal secretaries might subsequently hold.

CHAPTER III: REGISTRARS

Art. 40

§ 1. The King shall appoint two registrars from two lists of two candidates each, one nominated by the Dutch linguistic group and the other by the French linguistic group at the Constitutional Court.

Article 32, second and third paragraph, shall apply to these nominations.

§ 2. The linguistic group of a registrar shall be determined by the linguistic group of the Constitutional Court by which he was nominated.

Art. 41

To qualify for appointment as registrar with the Constitutional Court, candidates shall:

  1. be thirty years of age;
  2. have passed one of the following competitions:
    a) the open competition for legal secretary at the Constitutional Cour
    b) the open competition for legal secretary at the Supreme Court;
    c) the open competition for assistant auditor or assistant legal secretary at the Council of State;
    d) the professional competence examination required by Article 259bis of the Judicial Code;
    e) the open competition for admission to judicial internship referred to in Article 259quater of the Judicial Code;
    f) the competition for recruitment grade Level 1, qualification “lawyer”, for the services of the federal government, the Communities and the Regions, and for the public utility institutions that depend thereon, and for the services of the Constitutional Court;
    g) the competition for the recruitment grade of attaché, qualification “lawyer”, for the Legislative Assemblies and for the Community and Regional parliaments;
  3. have at least two years of relevant practical experience.

Furthermore, Dutch-speaking candidates shall furnish proof of knowledge of French, and Frenchspeaking candidates shall furnish proof of knowledge of Dutch, by passing one of the exams stipulated in Articles 43quinquies and 53, § 6, of the Act of 15 June 1935 on the use of languages in judicial matters, in Article 43, §3, third paragraph, of the laws on the use of languages in administrative matters, as coordinated on 18 July 1966, and in Article 73, § 2, fifth paragraph, of the laws on the Council of State, as coordinated on 12 January 1973.

CHAPTER IV: ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Art. 42

The Constitutional Court shall have its own staff. The Court shall determine the organizational hierarchy and linguistic framework of the staff, with due regard for linguistic parity at each level; the Court shall appoint and dismiss the members of its staff.

The King shall approve the organizational hierarchy and linguistic framework referred to in the first paragraph.

Unless the Court decides otherwise, as required for the proper functioning of its services and established in a set of rules approved by Royal Decree, the staff shall be subject to the legal and statutory rules that apply to permanently appointed public servants of the Kingdom.

Art. 43

The Constitutional Court shall decide on the duties, reasons for non-attendance, replacements, absences, leave and holiday arrangements of the members of the administrative staff.

The Court may delegate all or part of these powers to a staff committee, composed of the two presidents, two judges from the Dutch language group and two judges from the French language group, appointed by the Court for a renewable term of four years.

CHAPTER V: INCOMPATIBILITIES

Art. 44

The offices of judge, legal secretary and registrar shall be incompatible with the judicial offices, with the exercise of a public office won by election, with any public function or position of a political or administrative nature, with the office of notary public or bailiff, with the profession of lawyer, with a military position, and with the office of minister of a recognized religion.

The King, on the favourable and duly reasoned recommendation of the Constitutional Court, may depart from the first paragraph in the following cases:

  1. position of professor or teacher, tutor, lecturer or assistant at an institution for higher education, insofar as this position is exercised for no more than five hours per week and for no more than two half days per week;
  2. position of member of an examination board;
  3. membership of an advisory commission, board or committee, insofar as the number of remunerated assignments or posts remains limited to two, and the total remuneration does not exceed one-tenth of the annual gross salary of the principal office at the Constitutional Court.

Art. 45

The presidents, judges, legal secretaries and registrars shall not be called upon for any other public service, except in the cases provided for by law.

Art. 46

The presidents, judges, legal secretaries and registrars shall be prohibited from:

  1. conducting the defence, verbally or in writing, of the interested parties or giving them advice;
  2. acting as arbitrators for remuneration;
  3. either personally or through an intermediary, carrying out a professional activity, engaging in trade, acting as agents, taking part in the management, administration or supervision of companies or industrial or commercial establishments.

Art. 47

Relatives or in-laws up to the third degree of kinship shall not at the same time be president or judge and legal secretary, unless the King has lifted this restriction.

Art. 48

§ 1. Article 44, first paragraph, and Article 46, 1° and 2°, shall likewise apply to members of the administrative staff of the Constitutional Court.

§ 2. Exceptions may be allowed by the Court in the cases where the provisions applicable to public officials allow these officials or their spouses to engage in certain supplementary activities.

CHAPTER VI: DISCIPLINARY RULES

Art. 49

Presidents and judges who have infringed the dignity of their office or have fallen short of the obligations of their position may be removed or suspended from their office by a judgment pronounced by the Constitutional Court.

Art. 50

§ 1. Legal secretaries and registrars who are neglectful in the discharge of their duty shall be cautioned and reprimanded by the president, and suspended or dismissed by the Constitutional Court. Suspension shall involve a withholding of salary with all that this implies in terms of pension entitlements and subsequent salary increases.

§ 2. None of these penalties shall be imposed without the person concerned first having been heard or duly summoned.

§ 3. If they are being prosecuted for crimes or offences, or if disciplinary action has been taken against them, legal secretaries and registrars may, if the interest of the service so requires, be suspended from their duties by the Constitutional Court by way of internal measure for as long as the prosecution proceedings last and until a final decision has been rendered.

Suspension by way of internal measure shall be ordered for a period of one month and may subsequently be extended month by month until a final decision has been rendered. The Constitutional Court shall be empowered to decide that such suspension shall involve a provisional, full or partial withholding of salary for the duration of the penalty period or for part of the penalty period.

CHAPTER VII: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Art. 51

§ 1. The president and the judges shall take the oath before the King as required by Article 2 of the Decree of 20 July 1831.

§ 2. The legal secretaries and registrars shall take said oath before the president.

§ 3. They shall take the oath within a month from the day on which their appointment was notified to them, failing which they may be replaced.

§ 4. The oath may be taken in Dutch or in French according to whether the person concerned is Dutchspeaking or French-speaking.

Art. 52

The King shall determine the regalia which office-bearers of the Constitutional Court shall wear at court sessions and official ceremonies.

He shall also establish the rules of precedence and honours.

Art. 53

The King shall establish a concordance service at the Constitutional Court.

TITLE III
OPERATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

Art. 54

The presidency of the Constitutional Court shall be assumed by each president for a one-year term on a rotary basis.

This term shall commence on September the first of each year.

Art. 55

Without prejudice to Article 56, the Constitutional Court shall hold its sessions, deliberate and pass judgment by benches of seven judges: three Dutch-speaking judges, three French-speaking judges and the president or, in his absence, the most senior judge appointed or, where appropriate, the most senior judge in age of the same linguistic group.

Of the seven judges referred to in the first paragraph, at least two judges shall satisfy the conditions stipulated in Article 34, § 1, 1°, and at least two judges shall satisfy the condition stipulated in Article 34, § 1, 2°.

Where a case has to be heard in a language which is not the language of the linguistic group to which he belongs, the president shall delegate his powers to the other president or, in his absence, to the earliest appointed judge or, where appropriate, to the most senior judge in age of the other linguistic group.

All decisions shall be adopted by a majority vote of the members.

Art. 56

The Constitutional Court shall meet in full session in order to take the necessary decisions in pursuance of Articles 37, 38, 42, 43, 44, 49, 50, 100 and 122.

Whenever he so deems necessary, either of the two presidents may submit a case to the Constitutional Court in full session. The presidents shall be obliged to do so when two of the seven judges who make up the bench in accordance with Article 55 so request.

At least ten judges, and in any case as many Dutch-speaking and French-speaking judges, shall be present for the full Court to rule. If the latter condition is not met, the most recently appointed judge or, where appropriate, the most junior judge in age belonging to the most numerous linguistic group shall abstain from voting on any decision.

If the Court rules in full session, the president shall have a casting vote in the event of a tie. If the president is absent or unable to attend, he shall be replaced by the earliest appointed judge or, where appropriate, by the most senior judge in age of the same linguistic group.

Art. 57

Article 258 of the Penal Code on the refusal of the court to exercise its powers shall also apply to the judges of the Constitutional Court.

Art. 58

Each year on 1 September the presidents shall, for the purposes of the service, draw up a list of the judges in their linguistic group.

Art. 59

The presidents shall sit in all cases.

For each case the president in office shall appoint the members of the bench in accordance with the following rules. On his list he shall put:

  • for the first case, the first, second and third names;
  • for the second case, the fourth, fifth and first names, and so on.

On the list of the other president he shall put:

  • for the first case, the first and second names;
  • for the second case, the third and fourth names;
  • for the third case, the fifth and first names, and so on.

The order of the cases shall be that determined in Article 67.

Art. 60

If a judge who is not a president is absent or unable to attend, he shall be replaced by the judge who, appointed by virtue of the same provision, next comes after him on the list or, if he is the last one on the list, by the first judge on the list.

Art. 60 bis

The presidents and judges who are due to retire on account of their age shall remain in office for the cases which they have tried and which were taken into deliberation before the date of their retirement and which have not yet resulted in a ruling, unless the president in office exempts them from doing so at their request.

The term of office shall not be extended for more than six months.

For the purposes of Article 56, first paragraph, the presidents and judges who are due to retire on account of their age shall remain in office until such time as their successor has taken the oath.

Art. 61

The Court shall be assisted by the registrar whose language shall be that of the investigation.

TITLE IV
USE OF LANGUAGES
CHAPTER I: USE OF LANGUAGES BEFORE THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

Art. 62

Cases shall be instituted before the Constitutional Court in Dutch, French or German.

In documents and statements:

  1. the Council of Ministers shall use Dutch or French, according to the rules set out in Article 17, § 1, of the laws on the use of languages in administrative matters, as coordinated on 18 July 1966;
  2. the Governments shall use their administrative language;
  3. the courts of law shall use the language or languages in which they are to pronounce their judgments;
  4. the presidents of the Legislative Chambers, the President of the Brussels-Capital Parliament and the President of the joint assembly of the Common Community Commission shall use Dutch and French;
  5. the President of the Flemish Parliament shall use Dutch, the President of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community shall use German, and the Presidents of the Parliament of the Frenchspeaking Community, the Walloon Parliament and the Assembly of the French Community Commission shall use French;
  6. the persons with a justifiable interest shall use the language of their choice, unless they are subject to the laws on the use of languages in administrative matters, in which case they shall use the language which they are required to use by the laws on the use of languages in administrative matters, as coordinated on 18 July 1966;
  7. elected candidates instituting an action for annulment against a decision of the Review Committee shall use the language in which they took the oath;
  8. the Review Committee shall use the language of the petitioner in an action for annulment of one of its decisions.

The Court shall ex officio declare null and void any documents and statements of the Council of Ministers, the Governments, the Presidents of the legislative assemblies and of the persons subject to the laws on the use of languages in administrative matters that are not addressed to the Court in the language imposed by the second paragraph.

Art. 63

§ 1. Subject to what is provided for in §§ 2 and 3, the investigation of the case shall be conducted in the language of the document with which the case is brought before the Court.

§ 2. If the case has been submitted in German or simultaneously in Dutch and in French, the Court shall decide whether the investigation shall be conducted in Dutch or in French.

§ 3. Without prejudice to what is provided in § 2, the investigation of the case shall be conducted in the language of the linguistic area where the petitioner has his domicile if the petition was submitted by a person with a justifiable interest who has his domicile in a municipality or group of municipalities where the law neither requires nor allows the use of another language than that of the linguistic area where they are located.

Joint cases shall be heard in the language of the case that was first brought before the Court.

§ 4. All documents to be used by the Court shall be translated into Dutch or into French as the case may be.

Art. 64

All verbal statements made at the hearings shall be made in Dutch, French or German with simultaneous translation.

Art. 65

The judgments of the Court shall be drafted and pronounced in Dutch and in French. They shall be published in the Moniteur belge in the manner stipulated in Article 114, together with a German translation.

The judgments shall be pronounced by the presidents in Dutch and in French.

They shall also be pronounced and published in German in the case of rulings delivered on actions for annulment or if the case was brought before the Court in German.

CHAPTER II: USE OF LANGUAGES IN THE SERVICES OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

Art. 66

The administrative activities of the Constitutional Court and the organization of the services shall be subject to the provisions of the laws on the use of languages in administrative matters, which apply to the services whose scope of activity covers the whole country.

TITLE V
PROCEDURE BEFORE THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
CHAPTER I: ENTRY ON THE CAUSE LIST AND APPOINTMENT OF THE JUDGESRAPPORTEURS

Art. 67

The registrar shall enter the cases on the cause list of the Court in their order of receipt.

Art. 68

For each case, the judges-rapporteurs shall be the judges who are mentioned first on the lists referred to in Article 59.

The duty of the judges-rapporteurs shall be to handle the cases and to report on them at the hearings.

CHAPTER II: PRELIMINIARY PROCEDURE

Art. 69

There shall be a restricted chamber, composed of the president and the two judgesrapporteurs.

Art. 70

Immediately upon receipt of an action for annulment or a referral decision, the judgesrapporteurs shall examine whether upon investigation of the petition or the referral decision it is clear that the action or the preliminary question is manifestly inadmissible or unfounded, that the action or preliminary question manifestly falls outside the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, or that the case can be settled with a judgment delivered after a preliminary procedure.

Art. 71

If the action for annulment or the preliminary question is manifestly inadmissible or manifestly falls outside the jurisdiction of the Court, the judges-rapporteurs shall report on this to the president within a maximum term of thirty days after receipt of the petition or the referral decision; if the challenged rule is also the subject of an action for suspension, this term shall be reduced to maximum fifteen days.

The conclusions of the judges-rapporteurs shall be notified to the parties by the registrar within the time limit stipulated in the first paragraph. The parties shall have fifteen days from the date of receipt of the notification to submit a written statement of justification.

The restricted chamber may then decide by a unanimous vote to settle the case without any further judicial procedure by a judgment dismissing the action or the question or establishing that the Court has no jurisdiction to try the case.

If the proposal to deliver a judgment of inadmissibility or lack of jurisdiction is not adopted, the restricted chamber shall establish this by order.

Art. 72

If the judges-rapporteurs consider that the action for annulment is manifestly unfounded, the preliminary question evidently calls for a negative reply, or the case, owing to its very nature or the relatively straightforward nature of the issues raised therein, can be settled with a judgment delivered after a preliminary procedure, they shall report on this to the Court within a maximum term of thirty days after receipt of the petition or the referral decision; if the challenged rule is also the subject of an action for suspension, this term shall be reduced to maximum fifteen days.

The conclusions of the judges-rapporteurs shall be notified to the parties by the registrar within the time limit stipulated in the first paragraph. If the judges-rapporteurs suggest in their conclusions that the Court deliver a judgment establishing that the rules referred to in Articles 1 and 26 have been infringed, this shall be notified to the parties referred to in Article 76 together with the action for annulment or the decision containing the preliminary question. The parties shall have fifteen days from the date of receipt of the notification to submit a written statement of justification.

The Court may then decide that the case should be settled without any further judicial procedure by a judgment declaring the action well-founded or unfounded, or giving a positive or negative reply to the question, as the case may be.

If the proposal to deliver a judgment after a preliminary procedure is not adopted, the Court shall establish this by order.

Art. 73

The judgments referred to in Articles 71, third paragraph, and 72, third paragraph, shall be notified to the parties.

CHAPTER III: PUBLICATION AND NOTIFICATION OF THE ACTIONS AND PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS

Art. 74

If Articles 71 and 72 have not been applied, or after inspection of the order referred to in Article 71, fourth paragraph, or of the order referred to in Article 72, fourth paragraph, the registrar shall arrange for a notice to be published in the Moniteur belge in Dutch, French and German, in which the initiator and the subject of the action for annulment or the preliminary question are indicated.

The petition for annulment shall be available for consultation at the Court registry for a period of thirty days from the date of publication referred to in the first paragraph.

The procedure shall be continued in accordance with the provisions set out below.

Art. 75

The Court may appoint a lawyer ex officio. This appointment shall be considered null and void if the party concerned chooses its own legal adviser.

The King shall determine the manner in which legal aid shall be provided.

Art. 76

§ 1. The registrar shall notify actions for annulment instituted by the Council of Ministers to the governments of the Communities and Regions and to the presidents of the legislative assemblies.

§ 2. The registrar shall notify actions for annulment instituted by the government of a Community or Region to the Council of Ministers, to the other governments, and to the presidents of the legislative assemblies.

§ 3. The registrar shall notify actions for annulment instituted by the president of a legislative assembly to the Council of Ministers, to the governments of the Communities and Regions, and to the presidents of the other legislative assemblies.

§ 4. The registrar shall notify actions for annulment instituted by an individual interested party to the Council of Ministers, to the governments of the Communities and Regions, and to the presidents of the legislative assemblies.

Art. 77

The registrar shall notify referral decisions to the Council of Ministers, to the governments of the Communities and Regions, to the presidents of the legislative assemblies, and to the parties in the lawsuit before the court of law that took the referral decision.

Art. 78

Where one and the same provision is the subject of an action for annulment and of an earlier referral decision, the registrar shall notify the action for annulment to the parties in the lawsuit before the court of law that referred the preliminary question. The notification shall specify the time limit within which the parties may submit a written statement in accordance with Article 85.

Subject to the application of Article 100, the Court shall first rule on the action for annulment.

Future provisions4
CHAPTER III BIS: ELECTRONIC PROCEDURE

Art. 78 bis

§ 1. The Court shall make an electronic platform available for all communication that is required for the purposes of the actions before the Constitutional Court, more particularly for the submission of petitions, the communication of procedural documents, and for sending notifications, statements and summonses.

The King shall determine the manner of operation of the platform, including the conditions regarding the management and security of the platform. This involves, among other things, the parties who have access thereto, the registration procedure, detailed rules regarding the use, the authentication of users, and the format and signing of documents. As regards the parties who have access to the platform, the King may, on pain of inadmissibility, make the use of the platform mandatory for certain categories of parties, or stipulate that certain categories of parties may only register on the platform after the conditions of registration have been determined by the King.

In particular, the platform shall satisfy the following conditions:

  1. it must be possible to accurately determine the dates and times of sending and delivery of procedural documents, notifications and statements;
  2. it must be possible to accurately verify the identity of the parties involved in the summons, notification or statement;
  3. all exchanges over the platform must be secured against changes by means of appropriate technical and cryptographic protection measures;
  4. the confidentiality of all data exchanged over the platform must be guaranteed.

§ 2. All data validly and electronically communicated over the platform shall, until proof to the contrary is provided, have the same probative value as if they had been communicated in a paper-based format.

§ 3. Unless proof to the contrary is provided, the data that have been validly and electronically communicated over the platform shall be effective, and shall be deemed to have been delivered to the addressee, at the time when they become available for consultation on the platform.

§ 4. Where communication of data over the platform is not possible as a result of force majeure, in particular due to malfunction of the platform, those data may be communicated on paper at the latest on the day following the expiry of the time limit stipulated for communications on paper, either by registered mail with recorded delivery, or by filing at the registry of the Court, and may be kept and consulted in that format.


CHAPTER IV: INVESTIGATION

Art. 79

The investigation shall be conducted in writing.

Art. 80

The notifications made to the Council of Ministers shall be addressed to the office of the Prime Minister.

The notifications made to the governments of the Communities and Regions shall be addressed to the president of the Government.

The notifications made to the presidents of the legislative assemblies shall be addressed to the registry of the legislative assembly

Art. 81

Any party who is not a public authority shall indicate in the petition or written submission its domicile or registered office in Belgium or the domicile which it elects in Belgium.

Failing such indication, the registry shall not be obliged to send any notification, and the legal proceedings shall be deemed to be conducted on an adversarial basis.

The registry shall send all notifications to the registered office or domicile as indicated, even if the party has deceased.

Future provision 5

Art. 81

. Any party who is not a public authority and has not registered on the platform shall indicate in the petition or written submission its domicile or registered office in Belgium or the domicile or registered office which it elects in Belgium.

Failing such indication of domicile or registered office and registration on the platform, the registry shall not be obliged to send any notification, and the legal proceedings shall be deemed to be conducted on an adversarial basis.

The registry shall send all notifications to:

  1. the electronic address of a party who is registered on the platform;
  2. for persons who are not registered on the platform, the domicile or registered office as indicated, even if the party has deceased.

Art. 82

All documents of the proceedings shall be sent to the Court by registered mail.

All documents, notifications or summonses by the Court shall be sent by registered mail with recorded delivery.

The time limits available to the parties shall commence on the date of receipt of the letter. If the addressee refuses delivery of the letter, the time limit shall commence on the date of refusal.

The postmark date shall have probative force as far as both the forwarding and receipt or refusal of correspondence are concerned.

Future provision 6

Art. 82

Parties who are registered on the platform shall send all procedural documents to the Court over the platform. Parties who are not registered on the platform shall send all procedural documents to the Court by registered mail.

All documents, notifications or summonses by the Court shall be sent over the platform to parties who are registered on the platform, or by registered mail with recorded delivery to parties who are not registered on the platform.

The petitions or written submissions shall be signed and dated if they are sent to the Court byregistered mail.

In the case of registered mail, the time limit available to the parties shall commence on the day after receipt of the letter or of the notification that the letter is available for collection if the letter could not be delivered personally to the addressee or his authorized representative. If the addressee refuses delivery of the letter, the time limit shall commence on the day after the refusal.

In the case of communication over the platform, the time limit shall commence on the day that the documents, notifications and summonses in question are available for consultation over the platform.

Those dates shall have probative force as far as both the forwarding and receipt or refusal of correspondence are concerned.


Art. 83

[repealed]

Art. 84

The petitions and written submissions addressed to the Court shall contain a list of the documents that are supplied as evidence.

Each case file shall be sent together with a list of the documents that make up the case file.

Art. 85

Within 45 days after receipt of the notifications sent by the registrar by virtue of Articles 76, 77 and 78, the Council of Ministers, the Governments, the presidents of the legislative assemblies and the persons to whom said notifications are addressed may make a written submission to the Court.

Where the case involves an action for annulment, those submissions may contain new grounds. After that, the parties shall no longer be able to adduce new grounds.

Art. 86

Any written submissions as referred to in Articles 71, second paragraph, 72, second paragraph, 85, 87 and 89, which have not been filed within the time limit stipulated by the present Act shall be barred from the proceedings.

Art. 87

§ 1. When the Constitutional Court, by way of preliminary ruling, decides on questions as referred to in Article 26, any party declaring a justifiable interest may make a written submission to the Court within thirty days after the publication stipulated in Article 74. Consequently, said party shall be deemed to be party to the proceedings.

§ 2. When the Constitutional Court decides on actions for annulment as referred to in Article 1, any party declaring a justifiable interest may address its comments to the Court in a written submission within thirty days after the publication stipulated in Article 74. Consequently, said party shall be deemed to be party to the proceedings.

Art. 88

Any party who in pursuance of Articles 85 and 87 makes a written submission to the Court shall be obliged to enclose with its submission the case file in its possession.

Art. 89

§ 1. When the Court, by way of preliminary ruling, decides on questions as referred to in Article 26, the registrar shall send a copy of the written submissions received to the other parties who have filed a written submission. Those parties shall have thirty days from the date of receipt in which to send a statement of reply to the registry. After the expiry of this time limit, the registrar shall send a copy of the statements of reply received to the parties who have filed a written submission.

§ 2. When the Court decides on actions for annulment as referred to in Article 1, the registrar shall, upon expiry of the time limits referred to in Articles 85 and 87, send a copy of the written submissions received to the petitioning party, who shall have thirty days from the date of receipt in which to send a statement of reply to the registry. After the expiry of this time limit, the registrar shall send a copy of the statement of reply filed by the petitioning party as well as a copy of the written submissions filed by the other parties to each party who has filed a written submission. The addressees of such notification shall have thirty days from the date of receipt in which to send a statement of rejoinder to the registry. After the expiry of this time limit, the registrar shall send a copy of the statements of rejoinder received to the petitioning party and to the other parties who filed a written submission.

Art. 89 bis

The time limits stipulated in Articles 85, 87 and 89 may be shortened or extended by a duly reasoned order of the president.

Where a time limit stipulated in Article 87 is shortened or extended in accordance with the first paragraph, the registrar shall mention this in the notification referred to in Article 74, first paragraph.

Art. 90

After the expiry of the time limits stipulated in Article 89, the Court shall decide, after having heard the judges-rapporteurs, whether or not the case is ready for hearing and whether a hearing will take place.

The order whereby it is decided that the case is ready for hearing shall specify the date of the hearing and shall state the grounds that apparently need to be investigated ex officio and the questions which the parties are requested to answer, either in a supplementary submission to be filed within the time limit stipulated in the order, or verbally at the hearing.

The order whereby it is decided that the case is not ready for hearing shall set forth the actions that need to be accomplished by the judges-rapporteurs or by the registrars, and shall state, where appropriate, the grounds that apparently need to be investigated ex officio and the questions which the parties are requested to answer, in a supplementary submission to be filed within the time limit stipulated in the order. Once those actions have been accomplished, the Court shall proceed in accordance with the first and second paragraphs.

The orders shall be notified to the parties. If no hearing has been set, each party may file a petition to be heard. This petition shall be filed within seven days after the order referred to in the second paragraph has been notified.

Art. 91

The Court shall have the most extensive powers of inquiry and investigation.

It may, more particularly:

  1. conduct direct correspondence with the Prime Minister, the presidents of the legislative assemblies and of the Governments, and any other public authority;
  2. hear the parties on an adversarial basis and instruct those parties and any public authority to submit all documents and information connected with the case;
  3. hear any person it deems useful to hear;
  4. assess the situation on site;
  5. appoint experts.

It may, by special order, delegate to the judges-rapporteurs the powers of inquiry and investigation of its choice.

Art. 92

The Court can decide that the persons referred to in Article 91, 3° be heard under oath after the parties and their lawyers have been summoned.

In that case, they shall take the following oath:

"Ik zweer in eer en geweten dat ik de gehele waarheid en niets dan de waarheid zal zeggen", or

"Je jure en honneur et conscience de dire toute la vérité, rien que la vérité", or

"Ich schwöre auf Ehre und Gewissen, die ganze Wahrheit und nur die Wahrheit zu sagen".

(“I swear in honour and conscience to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth”) All persons summoned shall be obliged to appear and to obey the summons. Any person who refuses to appear, to take the oath or to give evidence shall be liable for a penalty of twenty-six to one hundred francs.

Failure to appear or refusal to give evidence shall be reported; this report shall be sent to the District Attorney of the judicial district where the person was due to be heard.

The provisions of the Penal Code concerning false testimony in civil cases and the influencing of witnesses shall also apply to the investigation procedure provided in the present article.

The report of the examination shall be signed by the president or by the judges of the Court who conducted the examination, by the registrar and by the persons heard.

Art. 93

In case of an official visit to the spot, the parties and their lawyers shall be summoned.

Art. 94

The Court shall decide by order the terms of reference of the experts it appoints, as well as the time limit for the submission of their report. The registrar shall notify this order to the experts and to the parties.

Articles 966 to 970 of the Judicial Code shall also apply to the experts appointed by the Court.

Within eight days after the notification referred to in the first paragraph, the experts shall notify each party by registered letter of the place, date and time at which they shall commence their proceedings. This notification shall take place by registered mail, or over the platform for the parties who are registered on the platform.7

The necessary documents shall be supplied to the experts. The parties may make any recommendations and demands as they see fit. Mention of this shall be made in the report, of which the preliminary details shall be notified to the parties.

Unless they are unable to do so, which circumstance shall be recorded by the registrar when the report is filed, the report shall be signed by all experts. The signature of the experts shall be preceded by the following oath:

"Ik zweer dat ik in eer en geweten, nauwgezet en eerlijk, mijn opdracht heb vervuld", or

"Je jure que j'ai rempli ma mission en honneur et conscience, avec exactitude et probité", or

"Ich schwöre, dass ich den mir erteilten Auftrag auf Ehre und Gewissen, genau und ehrlich erfüllt habe".

(“I swear in honour and conscience that I have carried out my assignment meticulously and honestly”)

The original of the report shall be filed at the registry. The parties shall be notified thereof by the registrar.

The Court may, for serious reasons and in a duly reasoned decision, terminate the assignment of the experts and arrange for them to be replaced after having heard them. The registrar shall notify this decision to the experts and the parties.

Art. 94 bis

§ 1. If a preliminary question is referred to the Court by the Council of State by virtue of Article 6, § 1, VIII, 5º, of the Special Act of 8 August 1980 on institutional reform, the registrar shall give notice of the referral decision in accordance with Article 77.

§ 2. Within ten days after receipt of the notification, the Council of Ministers, the Governments, the presidents of the legislative assemblies and the addressees of those notifications may file a written submission with the Court.

§ 3. Upon expiry of the time limit referred to in §2, the Court shall decide, after having heard the judgesrapporteurs, whether or not the case is ready for hearing. The order whereby it is decided that the case is ready for hearing shall specify the date of the hearing. This order shall be notified to the parties at least three days before the date of the hearing. During the period between the notification of the order and the date set for the hearing, the parties may consult the case file at the registry.

CHAPTER V: INCIDENTS
SECTION I
PLEA OF FORGERY

Art. 95

If a party pleads that a submitted document is a forgery, the party who submitted the document shall be requested by the Court to declare forthwith whether said party persists in its intention to make use of that document.

If the party fails to act on this request or declares that it does not wish to make use of the document, the document shall be rejected.

If the party declares that it wishes to make use of the document and this document is essential to the resolution of the dispute, the Court shall suspend the lawsuit until the competent court of law has ruled on the forgery. Said court of law shall give priority to this issue over all other cases. If the dispute has not been brought before any court of law, the Court shall rule on the probative force of the document.

If judgment can be passed without the allegedly forged document having to be taken into consideration, the legal proceedings shall be continued.

Art. 96

If a person with a justifiable interest who has brought an action for annulment or one of the parties referred to in Article 87 dies before the close of the proceedings, the legal proceedings shall be continued without there being any ground for resumption of the lawsuit.

Art. 97

If one of the parties to a lawsuit before a court of law that has referred a preliminary question dies before the close of the proceedings after having become a party before the Court, the legal proceedings before the Court shall be suspended.

The proceedings shall be resumed when the court of law that referred the preliminary question notifies the Court of the resumption of the lawsuit.

SECTION III
WITHDRAWAL FROM PROCEEDINGS

Art. 98

The petitioning parties may withdraw their action for annulment.

To the notification of this decision which the Council of Ministers and the Community and Regional Governments shall address to the Court, they shall attach a certified true copy of their withdrawal decision.

If there are grounds for doing so, the Court shall allow the withdrawal, having heard the other parties.

Art. 99

Such withdrawal, accepted or allowed by the court of law that referred a preliminary question, shall put an end to the legal proceedings before the Court.

The court of law shall send a certified true copy of its decision to the Court.

SECTION IV
JOINING OF CASES

Art.100

The Constitutional Court in full session may join actions for annulment or preliminary questions relating to one and the same regulation to be ruled on in one and the same judgment. In this circumstance, the cases will be investigated by the bench that was seized of the first case.

The registrar shall notify the parties of the decision to join cases.

Where two or more cases are joined, the judges-rapporteurs shall be those who in accordance with Article 68 were appointed to the case of which the Court was first seized.

SECTION V
RECUSAL AND EXCUSAL

Art. 101

The judges of the Court may be recused for the reasons which according to Articles 828 and 830 of the Judicial Code give cause for recusal.

The fact that a judge of the Court has taken part in the formulation of a statute, decree or rule referred to in Article 134 of the Constitution which is the subject of an action for annulment or a referral decision shall not in itself constitute a ground for recusal.

Any judge of the Court who is aware of the existence of a ground for recusal against him shall notify the Court thereof, which shall decide whether he should abstain from the case.

Art. 102

Any party who intends to recuse a judge shall do so as soon as it has knowledge of the ground for recusal.

Recusal shall be requested in a duly reasoned petition addressed to the Court.

After the recusing party and the recused judge have been heard, the recusal shall be decided on without delay.

The recused judge shall be replaced by another judge, as provided for in Article 55, first paragraph, Article 56 and Article 60, as the case may be.

CHAPTER VI: HEARING

Art. 103

The parties who have filed a petition or a written submission, their representatives and their lawyers shall be notified fifteen days in advance of the date of the hearing.

Along with the notification of the date of the hearing, the report of the judges-rapporteurs shall be communicated to the parties involved.

During the period specified in the first paragraph, the parties may consult the case file at the registry.

Art. 104

The hearings of the Court shall be open to the public, unless this should constitute a threat to public order or decency; in that case, this shall be so declared by the Court in a duly reasoned ruling.

Art. 105

Those who attend the hearing shall do so with head uncovered, respectfully and in silence.

Anything which the president may order with a view to maintaining order in the courtroom shall be strictly and promptly complied with.

The same instruction shall be observed in the places where the judges of the Court perform the duties of their office.

Art. 106

At the hearing, the judge-rapporteur who belongs to the group whose language is that of the investigation shall sum up the circumstances of the case and shall state the points of law which the Court must resolve.

The judge-rapporteur belonging to the other linguistic group may, where appropriate, deliver a supplementary report.

Where appropriate, the Court shall hear the persons whom it has decided to hear, along with the experts.

Only the parties who have filed a petition or a written submission and their lawyers shall be admitted to the proceedings; they may only make verbal comments.

The president shall subsequently close the proceedings and take the case into deliberation.

CHAPTER VII: REOPENING OF THE PROCEEDINGS

Art. 107

The Court may ex officio order the reopening of the proceedings. The Court is obliged to do so before it can allow a plea or an argument concerning which the parties had been unable to explain themselves.

The Court shall set the time limits within which the parties may submit a final written statement.

HOOFDSTUK VIII: HET ARREST

Art. 108

The deliberations of the Court shall be held in secret.

Art. 109

Without prejudice to Article 25, Article 25quater, third paragraph, and Article 6, § 1, VIII, 5°, of the Special Act of 8 August 1980 on institutional reform, judgments shall be delivered within six months after institution of the action for annulment or after receipt of the referral decision.

However, if after expiry of that time limit the case is not yet ready for a hearing, the Court may by a duly reasoned decision extend this period for the time required. This extension may be renewed if necessary, without the length of such extensions totalling more than six months.

Art. 110

Unless the president decides to pronounce the judgment in open court, its publication on the website of the Court shall count as pronouncement.

Art. 111

The judgment shall contain the grounds and the operative part. It shall state:

  1. the name of each of the parties and, where appropriate, the names and titles of the persons representing them and their lawyers;
  2. the provisions concerning the use of languages that have been applied;
  3. the written submissions filed by the parties, and the fact that the parties and their lawyers were present at the hearing;
  4. the date of signature of the judgment and the names of the judges who deliberated on it.

Art. 112

The judgments shall be signed by the president and the registrar.

Art. 113

The judgments shall be notified by the registrar to:

  1. [repealed];
  2. [repealed];
  3. the parties;
  4. the court of law that referred the preliminary question

They shall be notified electronically to:

  1. the Prime Minister and the presidents of the Governments;
  2. the presidents of the Legislative Chambers, the Flemish Parliament, the Parliament of the Frenchspeaking Community, the Walloon Parliament, the Parliament of the German-speaking Community, and the Legislative Assemblies of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Art. 114

The judgments shall be published on the initiative of the registrar on the website of the Court, as well as in their entirety or in abstract form in the Moniteur belge. The abstract shall contain the grounds and the operative part of the judgments.

Art. 115

The judgments shall be enforceable by operation of law.

Art.116

Judgments of the Court are final and conclusive and not open to appeal.

Art. 117

§ 1. Subject to Article 118, the Court may, either ex officio or at the request of one of the parties, arrange for any clerical or computational errors or obvious inaccuracies to be rectified within two weeks after notification of the judgment.

§ 2. The registrar shall give the parties due prior notice thereof; the parties may submit written comments within a time limit to be set by the president.

§ 3. The Court shall decide in chambers.

§ 4. The original of the order instructing the emendation shall be attached to the original of the emended judgment. Reference to this order shall be made in the margin of the original of the emended judgment.

Art. 118

At the suit of the parties to an action for annulment or of the court of law that referred a preliminary question, the Court shall furnish an interpretation of the judgment. Actions for interpretation shall be instituted in accordance with Article 5 or Article 27, as the case may be. It shall be communicated to all parties in the lawsuit.

For the rest, the proceedings prescribed for actions for annulment or for preliminary questions shall apply.

The original of the interpretive ruling shall be attached to the interpreted judgment. Reference to the interpretive ruling shall be made in the margin of the interpreted judgment.

CHAPTER VIII BIS: REVIEW PROCEDURE FOR REFERENDUMS

Art. 118 bis

Art. 118bis. Articles 67, 78bis 8, 79, 80 to 82, 91, first paragraph, second paragraph, 1° to 4°, and third paragraph, 92, 93, 95, 101, 102, 108 and 119, shall apply to the review procedure for referendums.

Articles 110 to 117 shall apply, provided that the word “judgment” is replaced each time by the word “decision”.

Article 68 shall apply, provided that the words “at the hearings” in the second paragraph are deleted.

Article 98 shall apply, provided that the words “and their petition” are added after the words “action for annulment” in the first paragraph.

Art.118 ter

The registrar shall immediately notify the petitions to the Council of Ministers, the Community and Regional Governments, the presidents of the legislative assemblies other than the one that initiated the petition, and the initiator of the referendum.

Art. 118 quater

Within ten days after receipt of the notifications sent by the registrar by virtue of Article 118ter, the Council of Ministers, the Community and Regional Governments, the presidents of the legislative assemblies other than the one that initiated the petition, and the initiator of the referendum may make a written submission to the Court. The submission shall contain a list of the documents that are supplied as evidence.

Of each petition or written submission, the signatory shall attach ten certified true copies. The signatory may still be ordered to submit additional copies.

Any written submissions that have not been filed within the time limit stipulated in the first paragraph shall be barred from the proceedings.

CHAPTER IX: GENERAL PROVISIONS

Art. 119

The date of an instrument that marks the start of a particular time limit shall not be included in that time limit.

The expiry date shall be included in the time limit.

If that day is a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, that expiry date shall be moved to the next working day.

Art. 120

The time limits shall run against minors, persons who have been declared incapable, and other incompetent persons. The Court, however, may exempt these persons from lapse if it is certain that their representation was not assured prior to the expiry of the time limits.

Art. 121

The registry shall be open every day, except on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

The King shall determine the opening hours.

Art. 122

The Court shall adopt its standing orders. It shall attend to the publication thereof in the Moniteur belge.

TITLE VI
FINAL PROVISIONS

Art. 123

§ 1. The funds that are necessary for the operation of the Constitutional Court shall be appropriated in the Allocations budget.

§ 2. The Royal Decrees on the Constitutional Court shall be deliberated in the Council of Ministers.

TITLE VII
TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Art. 124

[repealed]

Art. 124 bis

(see Art. 30bis)

Art. 125

The appointment of the legal secretaries recruited by the Court of Arbitration on the basis of the Act of 28 June 1983 on the organization, jurisdiction and operation of the Court of Arbitration shall become final.

Art. 126

The provision of Article 41, first paragraph, on holding a degree of Doctor or Licentiate of Law shall not apply to registrars in office on the effective date of the present Act.

Art. 127

The following shall be repealed:

  1. in the Judicial Code:
    a) in Article 1082, second paragraph, amended by the Act of 10 May 1985, the words “unless the second appeal relies exclusively upon the annulment by the Court of Arbitration of the provision of a statute or decree which formed the basis of the challenged decision”;
    b) Title VIII of Volume III and Article 1147bis, inserted by the Act of 10 May 1985;
  2. Article 31bis of the laws on the Council of State, coordinated on 12 January 1973, inserted by the Act of 10 May 1985;
  3. the Act of 28 June 1983 on the organization, jurisdiction and operation of the Court of Arbitration, as amended by the Act of 31 December 1983, with the exception of Articles 31 to 34 and 112;
  4. Article 5 of the Act of 2 February 1984 on the salaries of the members, legal secretaries and registrars of the Court of Arbitration, their nomination and appointment, and acts of defamation and violence against members of this Court; 5° the Act of 10 May 1985 on the effects of the annulment judgments delivered by the Court of Arbitration

Art. 128

Article 34, § 5 shall become effective at the latest from the third appointment following the entry into force of the Special Act of 9 March 2003 amending the Special Act of 6 January 1989 on the Court of Arbitration.



Last update: 15 January 2017.


1 Amended Article 5, entering into force on the date to be determined by the King.

2 Amended Article 6, entering into force on the date to be determined by the King.

3 New second paragraph entering into force on the day the Court consists of at least one-third of judges of each gender. Until that date, the King will appoint a judge of the least represented gender if the two previous appointments did not increase the number of judges of that gender (Art. 38 of the Special Act of 4 April 2014).

4 New Chapter III bis and Article 78 bis, entering into force on the date to be determined by the King.

5 New Article 81, entering into force on the date to be determined by the King.

6 New Article 82, entering into force on the date to be determined by the King.

7 The entry into force of the second sentence of the third paragraph on the date to be determined by the King will simultaneously entail the cancellation of the words “by registered letter” in the first sentence.

8 Addition of the word “78 bis” on the date to be determined by the King