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Driver wins challenge over 'illegal' Saint-Josse parking fines
A motorist has claimed a legal victory which could see millions of euros in parking fines in the Brussels municipality of Saint-Josse declared void.
Belgium's high court, the Court of Cassation, ruled that a private company hired by Saint-Josse to enforce parking rules did not have a valid mandate, overturning an earlier ruling in the company's favour.
The latest judgment, which cannot be appealed, could mean that all the parking fines issued in Saint-Josse between 2015 and 2019 are illegal. The case will now be reassessed by a justice of the peace in Auderghem, taking the Court of Cassation's findings into account.
Xavier Rossey challenged a fine from April 2016 after he discovered that Saint-Josse's arrangement with private contractor Rauwers expired on 31 December 2014. The firm could provide no evidence of its extension beyond January 2015.
He said Rauwers had collected, on average, €600,000 per year in fines, after deduction of commission - meaning more than €3 million in parking fines could be found illegal.
"It's been going on for years in Brussels," Rossey told The Bulletin. "Many communes were not in compliance with the legislation, and some still aren't. Many people don't know their rights - they accept to pay the fine."
Since January 2020, Brussels' 19 municipalities have not been allowed to hire private contractors to enforce street-parking restrictions. About half of them now manage their own parking fines, while the other half use the regional agency Parking.brussels.