"Belgian report on class actions"

Belgian National report for the Conference "The Globalization of Class Actions" (Oxford 13-14.12.2007) ,

by Matthias E. Storme & Evelyne Terryn

short version published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 622, 2009, p. 95-104 (http://ann.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/622/1/95)

text in pdf (updated april 2008) @

http://www.storme.be/ClassactionsBelgium.pdf

I. General procedural law

1. The Court system in general

1.1. Ordinary courts and proceedings

1.2. “Objective” litigation

2. Actions which can be introduced in civil proceedings; flexibility of civil procedure.

2.1. Types of remedies and general requirements - civil proceedings

2.2 Joining or starting criminal proceedings

2.3. Types of remedies and general requirements - Council of State and Constitutional Court

2.4. Some relevant procedural rules in civil proceedings allowing forms of collective action

3.  Acting for the exercise or recognition of rights of third parties or of collective interests.

3.1 General requirements

3.2. Acting based on an authority to exercise the rights of third parties

3.3. Acting for collective interests which do not correspond to subjective rights (of either oneself or third parties)

.II Specific regimes derogating from the general principles of procedural law

1. In the area of unfair competition and consumer protection

1.1 Overview

1.2. Actual use

2. In the area of environmental protection

3. In the area of anti discrimination

4. In other areas

5. Common characteristics of the specific legislation allowing actions in the collective interest

III The right of substitution of citizens

IV Proposals for reform

1. General action in the collective interest

2. Collective actions for damages in consumer matters