The Act of 28 April 2015 to amend the Code of registration duties, mortgage duties and registry fees in order to reform the registry fees, and the associated Royal Decree to establish the template of the value-related declaration referred to in Section 269 of the Code of registration duties, mortgage duties and registry fees come into force on Monday, 1 June 2015.

The purpose of this act is to reform and to simplify the registry fees, in order to arrive at one rate per court and per instance for all cause lists (general cause list, petition list and summary proceedings). The underlying reason is the contribution from the party seeking justice to the operating costs of the judicial system.

Parties seeking justice pay registry fees from the moment they wish to instigate proceedings. Registry fees are imposed for every case and on each petitioning party. Until recently, the amount of the registry fees depended on the nature of the court. This is still the case, but a second criterion now applies: the value of the dispute. Cases heard by the family court form an exception; they are subject to a general register fee of EUR 100, regardless of the value of the claim or the number of petitioning parties.

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For cases lodged with labour courts and fiscal courts, no registry fees are due, except if the value of the claim exceeds EUR 250,000.

An additional change is the introduction of the value-related statement. Every petitioning party must add a value-related declaration to the document presented for completion when the case is registered on the cause list. In this declaration, the petitioning party must indicate either the estimated value of the final claim, or that the claim cannot be expressed in a pecuniary value. The value-related declaration is an essential condition for registering the cause on the cause list. The impact of any lack of a value-related statement is still unclear, for example, in terms of a prescription of the right of action.

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The Flemish Bar Association is seeking advice on the feasibility of claims addressed to the Constitutional Court and the Council of State to get the act and the Royal Decree declared void, since this reform has once again impeded access to the courts for parties seeking justice, whereas there are still too many unknowns about the implementation of this law, such as the potential impact on the liability of the lawyer, the registry fees for collective claims, etc.

Portelio will be pleased to provide you with further information.

 


Sofie Naeyaert

Portelio Law Firm