Covid-19 impact on civil and insolvency matters

Belgium
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European Judicial Network
European Judicial Network (in civil and commercial matters)

1 Covid-19 impact on civil proceedings

1.1 Time limits in civil proceedings

Limitation periods and deadlines for introducing judicial remedies that expire between the 8th of April 2020 and the 17th of May 2020 are extended by one month after the expiration of this period (i.e. postponed to the 17th of June 2020). If need be, the government may extend the final date of this period.

Deadlines in judicial proceedings in civil matters that expire between the 8th of April 2020 and the 17th of May 2020 and the expiration of which could lead to forfeiture or any other damage, are extended by one month after the expiration of the crisis period (i.e. postponed to the 17th of June 2020). If need be, the government may extend the final date of the crisis period. This doesn’t apply to urgent matters.

Extension by 6 months of the deadlines in the context of judicial sales of immovable properties that expire between the 18th of March 2020 and the 3rd of June 2020.

Suspension of some enforcement proceedings against companies between the 24th of April 2020 and the 17th of May 2020.

1.2 Judicial organization and Judiciary

In civil matters, judicial hearings that were supposed to occur between the 10th of April 2020 and the 17th of June 2020 (this may be extended by the government) are cancelled when all parties have already sent their written conclusions. The judge shall take a decision without hearing, solely on the basis of the written conclusions, unless the parties oppose. If the parties oppose, the case will be postponed.

Civil courts have resorted to using video conference tools when continuing to proceed with handling cases in court.

Oaths may be received remotely between the 4th of May and the 3rd of June 2020.

Legal deadlines for meetings foreseen in the notarial law and that expire between the 18th of March 2020 and the 4th of August 2020 are postponed by three months.

Notarized powers may be received remotely and electronically (on electronic support and with an electronic identification and signature).

Removal of the requirement for witnesses and the presence of several notaries in an authentic will between the 4th of May 2020 and the 3rd of June 2020.

Notarized powers received from March 13, 2020 to June 30, 2020 and which take effect only from March 13 until June 30, 2020 will be free of charge.

1.3 EU Judicial Cooperation

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, the modality of work and the organisation of the Belgian Central Authorities in civil matters have not changed, with the exception that most Belgian Central Authority caseworkers only operate via telework. A few agents continue to be present 1 day per week, to check incoming post and secure outgoing post, for instance with regard to service of documents.

A message has been sent out via the European judicial network to all contact points indicating that communications can continue to be sent exclusively by e-mail to the caseworkers. The Belgian Central Authorities remain available by telephone and e-mail. It has been advised to send new requests to the functional mailboxes with regard to child abduction, taking of evidence, legal aid, maintenance obligations, and child protection.

The treatment of individual cases could be delayed as a result of lower staffing. So far, all agents remain active and cases continue to be handled on a daily basis as before the COVID-19 outbreak.

2 Insolvency related measures adopted or planned for adoption in member states as communicated until 16 April 2020

2.1 Substantive insolvency measures and related contracts affecting measure

2.1.1 Insolvency suspension

2.1.1.1 Suspension of duty to file for insolvency (debtors)

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2.1.1.2 Protection of debtors about insolvency filing from creditors

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2.1.2 Claim enforcement suspension and contract termination suspension

2.1.2.1 General / specific moratoria on claims enforcement / certain types of claims enforcement

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2.1.2.2 Suspension of contract termination (general / specific contracts)

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2.2 Civil, including insolvency courts suspension and procedural suspensions

Deadlines in the framework of judicial sales and private sales in judicial form that expire between 1st November 2020 and 31st March 2021 are automatically extended by 6 months.

2.3 Other insolvency measures (those relating to avoidance actions, reorganization plans, informal agreements, and others if appropriate)

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2.4 Related non-insolvency measures (payment deferrals, bank loans, social security, health insurance, business subsidies)

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Last update: 20/04/2021

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