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New Rules on recovering Legal Costs in Litigation

January 2008 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Cruyplants Eloy Wagemans & Partners .

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The Belgian government has adopted new regulations which are expected to fundamentally change the rules on the recovery of legal costs in litigation before the Belgian courts. To date, the courts have had the power to award costs but only on the basis of a very antiquated scale which bore no relation to the actual costs paid by parties to their lawyers. Under the new rules, which will apply as of 1 January 2008, at the request of any party, the court will have the power to award costs on the basis of a new scale which allows for the award of much more realistic amounts.

 

Contributed by CEW & PARTNERS

January 2008

 

The Belgian government has adopted new regulations which are expected to fundamentally change the rules on the recovery of legal costs in litigation before the Belgian courts. To date, the courts have had the power to award costs but only on the basis of a very antiquated scale which bore no relation to the actual costs paid by parties to their lawyers. Under the new rules, which will apply as of 1 January 2008, at the request of any party, the court will have the power to award costs on the basis of a new scale which allows for the award of much more realistic amounts. The scale is based on the amount claimed and includes a number of tranches, with a base as well as a minimum and maximum amount of legal costs that can be awarded per tranche. Thus, for claims of more than € 1.000.000 ( $ 1,485,900) the base amount is € 15.000 ( $ 22,288 ) and the minimum and maximum amounts are respectively € 1.000 ( $ 1,485 )  and € 30.000 ( $  44,527 ). The judge retains a large discretion in awarding costs within these limits and will take into account the financial resources of the losing party, the difficulty of the case and the degree of reasonableness of the conduct of the parties. The court has no power to award costs outside the limits provided for by the scale. Only time will tell how the courts will apply these rules in practice and it is possible that there will be variations from one court to another.

Contact : charles.price@cew-law.be