Public and administrative law
The mobilisation of lawyers through the involvement of the Brussels Bar's Public Law Commission and Avocat.be has produced convincing results. Our public law department was heavily involved.
The backlog of French-speaking administrative cases was growing as the number of incoming cases increased. The solutions initially envisaged by the Government did not seem adequate.
The Act of 6 September 2022 amending Article 69 of the Consolidated Acts on the Council of State increases the number of councillors from 44 to 58, including the First President and the President, and the number of auditors from 64 to 96, in addition to the Auditors-General and heads of section. The distribution between French and Dutch speakers remains the same.
As for the modification of the procedure, the texts in preparation announce a reform of the suspension procedure leading to a decision in 77 days and an annulment decision in 180 days.
It is a question of maintaining, thanks to the work of the lawyers, the double auditor-counsel examination whereas the first texts diminished the role of the auditors. The procedural guarantees are therefore maintained.
The administrative loop once rejected by the Constitutional Court would reappear via a "remedial declaration" in certain targeted cases.
However, there are still debates to be opened and settled.
The first aims to the end of the presumption of loss of interest of the applicant The right to a fair trial implies the removal of such a presumption. Since the backlog is in the process of being cleared, there is no reason to justify such a serious impediment to access to the judge. A party's intention cannot be fictitiously presumed with such consequences for it.
Moreover, this leads to a postponement of the trial in court.
The second aims to granting the Council of State its own budgetary allocation as stipulated by the Constitutional Court. It is abnormal that the natural judge of the executive should see its budgetary functioning depend on the FPS Interior. The institutional independence of the Council of State must be strengthened!
Many successes and many challenges for administrative justice! Lawyers remain a partner in dialogue and a force for proposal.
For more information, please contact Jean LAURENT (firstname.lastname@example.org), lawyer, CEW & Partners.