- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Brussels English trade court plan meets opposition
Belgium's supreme justice watchdog says it has serious reservations about plans to create an English-speaking commercial court in Brussels to settle trade disputes.
The High Council of Justice (CSJ), which has independent oversight over the Belgian judiciary, says the bill creating the new court does not guarantee it enough independence and is not transparent enough about the court's funding.
Charles Michel's government approved the creation of the Brussels International Business Court last October, with the aim of reinforcing the Belgian capital as the go-to place for business arbitration in the wake of Brexit.
All hearings and judgments would be in English and the court would be self-financing, receiving no public funds.
But the CSJ said on Monday that it had serious doubts about the draft law. It questioned the impartiality and independence of judges - fearing that its structure could make "interference" possible in the appointment of the court's members. The watchdog also describes the BIBC's funding structure as "opaque".
The number of international trade disputes is expected to grow in light of Brexit. Contracts are often drawn up in English and many companies wanting to settle disputes in English currently do so in London.