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- Belgium's Moratorium on bankruptcy proceedings due to COVID-19
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means that many businesses are experiencing reduced liquidity and are at risk of insolvency. In order to protect businesses against bankruptcy proceedings, the Belgian government recently adopted Royal Decree n° 15 on the temporary suspension of enforcement and other measures in favor of businesses for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis (the "Moratorium Decree"). The Moratorium Decree temporarily protects businesses against inter alia bankruptcy petitions and certain debt collection measures.
- New Belgian Law on Shareholder Rights: Fostering Corporate Transparency and Long-Term Shareholder Engagement
The Situation: On April 16, 2020, the Belgian Parliament approved a law to transpose the EU Shareholder Rights Directive II ("SRD II") (Directive (EU) 2017/828 amending Directive 2007/36/EC)) into Belgian law ("Transposing Law"). SRD II, adopted in May 2017, was enacted to facilitate corporate transparency and long-term shareholder engagement. The Result: The Transposing Law will afford shareholders with, in particular, greater clarity and control in relation to the remuneration of directors and managers. Belgian listed companies will gain enhanced knowledge of their shareholders and improve their information flow.
- Satellite and aerial image distributors beware!
Belgium passed a Law on March 23, 2020, to prevent the dissemination of satellite images and aerial photographs of nuclear installations and other critical facilities. The legislator hereby responds to recent criticism by the French National Assembly that Belgium has not adopted such legislation, which also endangers French interests. Interestingly enough, the legislator did not seize this opportunity to put an end to the disputed, and thus fragile, basis on which the Belgian army has to rely for the blurring of its sensitive sites.
- COVID-19: Belgian government grants a moratorium on insolvency and enforcement proceedings
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak leave many Belgian enterprises in financial distress, or even, for some of them, at risk of insolvency. In order to help these enterprises navigate the crisis and prevent them from going bankrupt, the Belgian Government implemented a moratorium on insolvency and enforcement proceedings.
- Modernization of Evidence Rules in the New Belgian Civil Code
The approval of Book 8 of the new Belgian Civil Code introduces new rules on evidence. The aim is to clarify and modernize the current rules, as well as to make them more flexible. We have summarized the most important changes.
- Updates from European Intellectual Property Offices in relation to COVID-19
The COVID-19 outbreak has had unprecedented and unexpected consequences across Europe. Intellectual property rights holders are understandably considering how this impacts their rights, applications for registrations, proceedings and hearings. We have summarized below the position of the European Patent Office, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office, as well as the local Intellectual Property Offices across the key territories in Europe.
- COVID-19: Electronic Conclusion of Contracts and E-Signatures in Belgium
Concluding contracts and getting documents executed in a timely and correct manner often presents some practical difficulties. Coronavirus (COVID-19) measures, including postal service delays, provide businesses with an extra challenge in order to get agreements and other documents executed.
- Belgian court proceedings: a current overview
The last few weeks, there has been a constant stream of measures implemented due to the COVID-19 crisis. Measures for Belgian courts are no exception, as indicated below. As a general rule, the Belgian courts and tribunals are closed and only urgent cases are dealt with (e.g. summary proceedings, urgent family matters, etc.). A set of mandatory guidelines for all Belgian courts has been implemented by the College of Courts and Tribunals, but also legislative initiatives. According to Royal Decree no. 2 of 9 April 2020, the written procedure will temporarily become the rule for civil cases (or criminal cases with civil interests) for hearings scheduled between 11 April 2020 up to 3 June 2020. In addition, limitation periods expiring between 9 April 2020 and 3 May 2020 shall be extended.
- Interest related to leveraged capital reduction or dividend distribution not always tax deductible, according to the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has ruled that interest on a loan contracted in order to carry out a capital reduction or a dividend distribution when the company lacks the liquidity to do so is not always deductible. It is crucial that the taxpayer is in a position to document clearly that the loan has been contracted with a view to generating or preserving taxable income, for instance because it allowed the taxpayer to preserve its income-generating assets.
- COVID-19: Towards digital notary services (Belgium)
When the first measures to control the spread of COVID-19 were introduced, Belgian notary publics were severely affected. A profession, which had always considered the physical presence of its clients to be a prerequisite, initially found it very difficult to adapt to the lockdown measures – hence the relatively early decision of the notaries’ federation to close notaries' offices and to allow only urgent deeds to be executed.
- Class Actions Now Available in Belgium
Belgium has joined the ranks of other European countries that allow for the possibility to file a collective claim, more commonly known as a class action. There is clearly a global trend in favor of class actions and Belgium is no exception, testing the waters by enacting legislation that provides...
- Registration Open for “Nano in Belgium” Workshop
The Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, the FPS Employment, Labor and Social Dialogue, and the FPS Economy, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), Self-Employed and Energy will hold a workshop on “Nano in Belgium” on October 22, 2015. The workshop will focus...
- Facebook Wins Appeal Over Storing Non-User Data in Belgian Court
The Belgian data protection authority has lost its legal battle with Facebook over whether the social network could track the online activities of non-Facebook users in Belgium who visit Facebook pages....
- Belgium Adopts Law Enacting EU Directive on Private Antitrust Damages
On June 6, 2017, Belgium adopted legislation ("Law") transposing the EU directive on private antitrust damages (Directive 2014/104, ("Directive")). The Law became applicable on June 22, 2017, and is expected to boost private competition law enforcement in Belgium and should...
- New Legislation for Local Staff of Diplomatic and Consular Missions in Belgium: New Rules, More Uncertainty
As of 15 February 2018, a multitude of new rules apply to local staff of embassies and diplomatic missions in Belgium. This change does not impact the staff of international organizations, contrary to what trade unions are stating. For diplomatic missions, taking appropriate action to implement...
- Reform of the criminal liability regime applicable to legal persons
The law of 11 July 2018 recently modified the Criminal Code and the preliminary section of the Code of Criminal Procedure (article 5) with regard to the criminal liability of legal persons (the "Law"). The Law drastically reforms and broadens the scope of criminal liability of legal...
- Recent developments in Belgium regarding production and research into cannabis products
Following the change of mind that is taking place in many jurisdictions around the world, Belgium is gradually taking steps relating to the production and research into cannabis products for medicinal purposes. As such, two recent parallel evolutions are noteworthy....
- The Energy Performance Contract: a sustainable investment to fast track energy efficiency?
An ambitious target of energy consumption - As part of the clean energy for all Europeans’ package, Directive 2018/2002 of 11 December 2018 on Energy Efficiency contains an ambitious target of at least a 32.5% reduction in energy consumption by 2030....
- Reform of the Belgian Civil Code
The new Belgian Civil Code (the Book on Goods) has just been approved by parliament, which will affect the Real Estate sector. On 30 January 2020, the Belgian parliament adopted an important piece of legislation that will significantly affect the Real Estate sector....
- Competition Authority Merger Filing Status During COVID-19
As governments around the world work to stem the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, merger control authorities in jurisdictions around the globe are adapting their operations and procedures....