Wallonia

On 19 May 2022, the Belgian Constitutional Court annulled several provisions of a legislative decree of the Walloon Region of 3 December 2020 confirming the suspension of time limits for appeals applicable to annulment proceedings before the Council of State relating to acts taken by administrative authorities and to the regulations of the Walloon Region.

The Walloon decree of 3 December 2020 had confirmed the Walloon government’s decrees of special powers (No. 2 of 18 March 2020 and No. 20 of 18 April 2020) suspending the time limits for appeals applicable to annulment proceedings before the Council of State relating to acts taken by administrative authorities and to the regulations of the Walloon Region, for a period of 30 days, between 18 March 2020 and 16 April 2020 inclusive. For its part, the Belgian federal government had also extended by 30 days the time limits for bringing proceedings before the Council of State that expired between 9 April 2020 and 3 May 2020. This government measure was subsequently confirmed by the federal legislator.

The consequence of both set of rules suspending time limits for proceedings before the Council of State was that some proceedings would be inadmissible under federal law, but admissible under Walloon law. That was the case of a real estate company – the applicant seeking the annulment of the Walloon decree in this case – who had obtained a planning permit for the construction of a building, which had then been subject of an appeal before the Council of State.

The Court held that the Walloon decree encroached on the rules on the division of powers between the federal and the federated entities. The Walloon decree had indeed encroached on the federal competence to determine the rules of procedure before the Council of State, which the Walloon Region could not justify by resorting to the technique of implicit competences. The Court thus annulled the relevant provisions of the Walloon decree of 3 December 2020 confirming the Walloon government’s decrees of special powers. However, the Court definitively maintained the effects of the measure, in order to avoid any legal uncertainty regarding the calculation of the time limits for bringing proceedings before the Council of State.

Reference: judgment n°69/2022.

Full text of the decision available at const-court.be fr
News available at const-court.be fr
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