Current developmentsi Developments in policy and legislation
There is a strong political will to improve the law to meet as closely as possible the enforcement needs of contracting businesses in general, and of the financing and transport industry in particular. A set of significant judicial reforms seek easier and faster litigation. A reform of contract and corporate law in general and of security interests seeks to favour business development and increase security. A new maritime code now submitted to parliament is about to modernise maritime law.
Insolvency orders shall not preclude the creditors holding security rights and other rights in rem (mortgages, pledges, liens etc.).
With the introduction of the new Titel XVII on security interests Book II, Civil Code, the Belgian legislator has clearly demonstrated the will to improve financing facilities and security, and it is likely that this is only the beginning.
The present legislature has adopted a significant amount of amendments to the Jud. C. for the purpose of speeding up proceedings. As examples:
- The judgment of the first judge is enforceable unless otherwise decided and reasoned. This is reversing the previous system.
- A default judgment is no longer open to rehearing.
- The new Article 806, Jud. C. restricts the scrutiny of the judge when a party defaults to appear. The judge shall not seek to look at potential defences of the defaulting party, other than public policy and rules of law to be raised ex officio by the court.
If it comes to the ratification of the 1993 Maritime Liens and Mortgage Convention, as is not unlikely to occur in the near future, the number of liens superseding the mortgage will decrease and therefore, if applicable, the ship mortgagee will improve his or her position in the event of a foreclosure in Belgium.
The recent introduction of the creditor's ability of public registration of his or her security rights in chattel, such as aviation and rail assets, is a very significant move forward and worth knowing and being considered by those working out financing schemes.
It is not unlikely that the registration of security rights will be further expanded to rights such as lease purchase contracts, but it is too early to make estimates in that respect.