Court orders Belgium to end coronavirus measures due to insufficient legal basis

In practice, the ruling gives the government 30 days to establish a new legal basis for the rules.

BY LAURENS CERULUS AND ADAM BOUZI via politico.eu

Belgian court has ordered the federal government to end all its coronavirus measures within 30 days because it failed to establish a proper legal basis for them, local media reported on Wednesday.

The Brussels court of first instance gave the government 30 days to retract the measures, Le Soir reported, or else face penalties of €5,000 per day and up to a maximum of €200,000 in total. 

In practice, the ruling gives the government a month to find a proper legal basis for its measures, which include curfews, restaurant closures and limits on gatherings.

For months, the Belgian federal government has used emergency executive orders to impose restrictions effectively bypassing the parliament. The government proposed a new “pandemic law” at the end of February to underpin its rules, but the law still needs approval from parliament.

The lawsuit was brought in late February by a rights group, which argued rights were being violated without a proper legal basis. The court sided with them, ruling the current legal basis to be insufficient. 

The federal government has said it will appeal the decision.

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