August 10, 2018
On Jun 26th 2018, the new coming Brussels International Business Court (BIBC) has been presented by the Belgian Minister of Justice and other very prominent speakers at the town hall in Brussels. The BIBC, which should be operational by January 1st 2020, aims to be a real alternative to the existing dispute resolution methods in the international B2B sector.
The most important characteristics to be pointed out are:
(1) the combination of important advantages known from the arbitration procedure (based on the UNCITRAL Model Law, agreement of the parties necessary, 2 specialised lay judges, no appeal, …) with several advantages from the public court procedure (State Court chaired by a professional magistrate, lesser cost of procedure, ‘pourvoi en cassation’ possible before the Supreme Court, …) and
(2) the language: the BIBC will be the first and only English speaking state court in Belgium.
This combination bears advantages and disadvantages depending on the concrete dispute:
– as any judgement rendered by a Belgian state court, the enforcement will be simplified within the EU thanks to the existing regulations, but more complicated outside the EU as the 1958 New York Convention will not be applicable,
– contrary to arbitration, there will be no confidentiality of procedure and judgement nor any active influence by the parties on the identity of the judges who will hear the dispute.
Similar courts are already existing or in project in other important international places such as UK, NL, FR, Singapore, Dubai. Given the central geographical place of Brussels, known as international crossroads of culture and business, heart of the EU, the creation of a specialised English-speaking court with jurisdiction over international commercial disputes is a logic response to a real need.