Home News Fewer judges, jury members in judicial reforms

Fewer judges, jury members in judicial reforms

Published on 23/11/2005

23 November 2005

BRUSSELS — Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx has unveiled sweeping reforms to the Belgian judicial system, opting to reduce the number of judges and jury members.

Court hearings will in future be presided over by one judge instead of three and the jury will be reduced from 12 to eight members.
Another important element of the reforms is that more appeals can be brought to the Supreme Court, which will not only rule over the procedure of the process, but the case itself.
The possibility of objecting to jury members by either the public prosecutor or the defence will be scrapped.

Currently, objections occur too frequently in an arbitrary manner, Flemish public broadcaster VRT reported on Wednesday.

In future, refusing a jury member will only be possible based on objective reasons, for example, if a jury member is a relative of the accused.

The jury will also be given greater guidance by the judge and undergo minimal training in the legal process.

Minister Onkelinx’s reforms will also obligate the jury to explain the motivations for its ruling, representing a significant change in Belgium judicial law.

The Socialist PS minister will now present the reform proposals — drawn up by a commission of experts — to the Federal Parliament for debate.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news