Belgia (the Kingdom of Belgium) is one of the founding members of the European Union and hosts NATO and other international organizations. There are French-speaking Belgians and Dutch-speaking Flemish Belgians in Belgium. A German-speaking community as well. Belgium represents a distinct cultural border between Latin European countries and Germanic countries. Belgium’s government is a complicated combination of federal parliamentary democracy. Constitutional monarchy principles because of its linguistic diversity and long history of political conflicts over the past five centuries. Belgium Law
Belgium’s federal parliament consists of both the Chamber of Representatives. Senate, there are elected and appointed representatives, as well as the king’s children who are considered politicians by right. It is also very rare in the world for a country to have compulsory voting. This is why it has such a high rate of voter participation.
While the King is Belgium’s head of state, he only has the right to appoint the Prime Minister (with the Chamber of Representatives vote of confidence) as well as several other functions. Belgian judicial systems are based on civil law and the country’s highest courts. The Court of Cassation and the Court of Appeals, have long been rooted in tenets of the Napoleonic Code.
Belgium’s Legal System
In Belgium, there are four levels of ordinary courts: the “Tribunal de Première Instance” (“lower level juvenile criminal and the civil court”), the “Tribunal des Juges de Paix” (“higher level juvenile criminal and the civil court”) and the “Tribunal de Police” (“higher level criminal and civil court”). To the Tribunal de Première Instance, the government recently added a tax court or chamber for determining tax matters pertaining to both businesses and individuals. Unlike other Belgian courts, there is only one court that uses juries to hear serious crimes such as manslaughter and kidnapping. Due to the abolishment of the death penalty in 1996. Serious offenses are punished with appropriate prison sentences determined by a jury.
Despite Belgium’s close adherence to the French legal system, language used during court proceedings is determined by the location of the court in Belgium. Nevertheless, Brussels courts use both languages.
Study in Belgium
Earning a Law Degree in Belgium
There is no pre-entrance examination require for the pursuit of a law degree in Belgium as it is for some other degrees. It may be confusing to see Belgian higher education institutions blending Dutch, French, and some German regulations. But they have all adopted Bologna-based regulations. Which includes a Bachelor’s, Masters and Doctoral degree system similar to other European nations. Students who earn a Master of Law (LLM) or five years of legal studies are eligible for admission to the Belgian Bar.
Public universities and colleges in Belgium are regulate by the Belgian government in terms of tuition fees. These fees are based on the student’s (or student’s family’s) ability to pay as much as their income. For example, a low-income (scholarship) student receives a full financial aid package and typically she pays 100 euros ($135) in tuition. Students deemed ‘not eligible for scholarships will pay the full tuition fee of 600 EUR (800 USD). Again, these prices may vary by the law school.
Recently, the unemployment rate in Belgium dropped considerably as the recession in the U.S. and Europe has finally begun to improve. An encouraging sign that has also prompted the Bank of England to consider increasing interest rates. Consequently, employment opportunities for law students wanting to practice law in Belgium. Should remain consistent with the rapidly improving economy and the job market.