Advertisement

Belgium: From Categorical Nullities to a Judicially Created Balancing Test

  • Marie-Aude Beernaert
  • Philip Traest
Chapter
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 20)

Abstract

Although Belgium’s legal system was based on the French system and reflects many of its insitutions, such as “nullities”, the approach of the Belgian courts was quite different. Already in 1923, the Belgian Court of Cassation ruled that any “nullity” would ineluctably lead to exclusion of any evidence that was gathered as a result of the violation which was categorized as a “nullity”. This doctrine was reaffirmed by the Court of Cassation in 1986. In 1990 and 1995, however, rulings of the Court of Cassation signalled a slight softening of the rule of absolute exclusion, and this trend became law in the 2003 decision of the Court of Cassation, nicknamed the Antigone decision, after the police operation which led to the illegally seized evidence. In this landmark decision, the Court refused to suppress all evidence gathered in violation of the law, but limited exclusion to situations where the evidence was gathered following a violation punishable by a “nullity”, where the violation also affected the credibility of the evidence, or affected the defendant’s right to a fair trial. In Belgium, as in many European countries, the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Salduz v. Turkey, discussed in detail in  Chap. 16, has led to changes affecting the right to counsel during interrogations and exclusion of statements taken in violation thereof.

Keywords

Criminal Proceeding Criminal Procedure Fair Trial Criminal Matter Judicial Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Beernaert, M.-A. 2005. La fin du régime d’exclusion systématique des preuves illicitement recueillies par les organes chargées de l’enquête et des poursuites. Revue de Jurisprudence de Liège, Mons et Bruxelles 1094–1109. Google Scholar
  2. Bosly, H.-D., D. Vandermeersch, and M.-A. Beernaert. 2010. Droit de la procédure pénale, 6th ed. Brussels: La Charte.Google Scholar
  3. Braas, A. 1925. Traité élémentaire de l’instruction criminelle. Brussels: Bruylant.Google Scholar
  4. De Valkeneer, C. 2005. Que reste-t-il du principe de la légalité de la preuve? Variations autour de quelques arrêts récents de la Cour de cassation. Revue de droit pénal et de criminologie 685–695Google Scholar
  5. De Valkeneer, C. 2006. Manuel de l’enquête pénale, 3rd ed. Brussels: Larcier.Google Scholar
  6. Franchimont, M., A. Jacobs, and A. Masset. 2009. Manuel de procédure pénale, 3rd ed. Brussels: Larcier.Google Scholar
  7. Kuty, F. 1998. Doit-on admettre avec la Cour de cassation, que la circonstance que le dénonciateur d’une infraction en a eu connaissance en raison d’une illégalité n’affecte pas la regularité de la preuve qui a été obtenu ultérieurement sans aucune illegalité. Revue de Jurisprudence de Liège-Mons-Bruxelles 489–501.Google Scholar
  8. Kuty, F. 2004. La règle de l’exclusion de la preuve illégale ou irrégulière : de la précision au bouleversement. Revue critique de jurisprudence belge 408–438.Google Scholar
  9. Kuty, F. 2005a. Le droit de la preuve à l’épreuve des juges. Journal des Tribunaux 349–355.Google Scholar
  10. Kuty, F. 2005b. Le droit de la preuve au regard de la jurisprudence récente de la Cour de cassation. In Questions d’actualité de droit pénal et de procédure pénale, ed. J. Messinne, 53–107. Brussels: Bruylant.Google Scholar
  11. Traest, P. 1994. Wanneer is door een derde verkregen bewijs ontoelaatbaar? (note on Cass., 4 Jan. 1994) Recente cassatie 72–75.Google Scholar
  12. Traest, P. 1996. De internationalisering van het bewijsrecht: Over telefoontap en de eisen die aan het in het buitenland verworven bewijs moeten gestead Worden. Recente cassatie 142–150.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.University of GhentGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations