Training in cassation techniques and procedures

Notice: professional training in cassation: cycle 2019-2023

Below you will find all useful information about the cycle of professional training in cassation for the period 2019-2023.

This is the training organized every four years by the Bar Association of the Court of Cassation, pursuant to Article 478(2) of the Judicial Code. Under the aforementioned legal provision, passing the examination is a prerequisite for appointment as a lawyer at the Court of Cassation.

That four-year course is distinct from the more limited training in cassation proceedings in criminal matters, referred to in Article 425 §2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and organized by the OVB (www.advocaat.be) and the OBFG (www.avocat.be). This training makes it possible to become the holder of the certificate required under the aforementioned provision to appear before the Court of Cassation in criminal cases.

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Why and for whom professional training in cassation technique and procedure ?

The Court of Cassation has a very different task from the other courts of justice. Its main task is to rule on appeals against decisions rendered at last instance against which a violation of the law or of substantial or prescribed forms is alleged (article 608 of the Judicial Code). In doing so, the Court of Cassation does not enter into the assessment of the cases themselves (Article 147 of the Constitution).

The course of proceedings before the Court of Cassation (see Articles 1073 to 1121/6 of the Judicial Code) is also completely different from that of proceedings before the other courts.

Proceedings before the Court of Cassation therefore require different knowledge and skills than those that lawyers in general must possess. In order to familiarize interested lawyers from other bars with these skills, the Bar of the Court of Cassation has been organizing a training course in cassation techniques and procedure since 1978.

The training can be followed by those who wish to draft cassation provisions, statements of defence or reply statements themselves in cases where the assistance of a lawyer at the Court of Cassation is not required. However, a knowledge of cassation technique can also be useful for those who wish to anticipate in their submissions in civil, commercial or social cases that they may be involved in cassation proceedings at a later date.

Of course, the training is of decisive importance for those who aspire to become a lawyer at the Court of Cassation, since only those who have passed the examination after the four-year cycle can apply for that office (Article 478, paragraph 2, of the Judicial Code).

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What does the training consist of and how is it organized ?

Regulations

On the training in cassation technique and cassation procedure, the Council of the Bar adopted Regulations. The coordinated version of the Rules can be consulted via this link.

Four-year cycle

The training in cassation technique and cassation procedure is organized every four years. The program is spread over those four years. Interim enrolment is not possible.

Language

The training is organized in Dutch and in French. Candidates choose in which language they wish to follow the training.

Trainers

The classes are given by members of the cassation desk and by magistrates from the seat of the Court of Cassation and from the public prosecutor’s office at the Court.

Admission requirements

To be admitted to the professional training program, the candidate must be registered on the roll of lawyers of a Belgian Bar Association. The candidate must continue to meet this condition throughout the training, including the day of the final examination.

A registration fee of 300 Euros per year is due at the time of registration.

Practical organization

The practical organization of the training course rests with the Association of Lawyers at the Court of Cassation. Two lawyers at the Court of Cassation are responsible for this, together with the secretary of the cassation desk.

Notice: professional training in cassation: cycle 2019-2023

Below you will find all useful information about the cycle of professional training in cassation for the period 2019-2023.

This is the training organized every four years by the Bar Association of the Court of Cassation, pursuant to Article 478(2) of the Judicial Code. Under the aforementioned legal provision, passing the examination is a prerequisite for appointment as a lawyer at the Court of Cassation.

That four-year course is distinct from the more limited training in cassation proceedings in criminal matters, referred to in Article 425 §2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and organized by the OVB (www.advocaat.be) and the OBFG (www.avocat.be). This training makes it possible to become the holder of the certificate required under the aforementioned provision to appear before the Court of Cassation in criminal cases.

***

Why and for whom professional training in cassation technique and procedure ?

The Court of Cassation has a very different task from the other courts of justice. Its main task is to rule on appeals against decisions rendered at last instance against which a violation of the law or of substantial or prescribed forms is alleged (article 608 of the Judicial Code). In doing so, the Court of Cassation does not enter into the assessment of the cases themselves (Article 147 of the Constitution).

The course of proceedings before the Court of Cassation (see Articles 1073 to 1121/6 of the Judicial Code) is also completely different from that of proceedings before the other courts.

Proceedings before the Court of Cassation therefore require different knowledge and skills than those that lawyers in general must possess. In order to familiarize interested lawyers from other bars with these skills, the Bar of the Court of Cassation has been organizing a training course in cassation techniques and procedure since 1978.

The training can be followed by those who wish to draft cassation provisions, statements of defence or reply statements themselves in cases where the assistance of a lawyer at the Court of Cassation is not required. However, a knowledge of cassation technique can also be useful for those who wish to anticipate in their submissions in civil, commercial or social cases that they may be involved in cassation proceedings at a later date.

Of course, the training is of decisive importance for those who aspire to become a lawyer at the Court of Cassation, since only those who have passed the examination after the four-year cycle can apply for that office (Article 478, paragraph 2, of the Judicial Code).

***

What does the training consist of and how is it organized ?

Regulations

On the training in cassation technique and cassation procedure, the Council of the Bar adopted Regulations. The coordinated version of the Rules can be consulted via this link.

Four-year cycle

The training in cassation technique and cassation procedure is organized every four years. The program is spread over those four years. Interim enrolment is not possible.

Language

The training is organized in Dutch and in French. Candidates choose in which language they wish to follow the training.

Trainers

The classes are given by members of the cassation desk and by magistrates from the seat of the Court of Cassation and from the public prosecutor’s office at the Court.

Admission requirements

To be admitted to the professional training program, the candidate must be registered on the roll of lawyers of a Belgian Bar Association. The candidate must continue to meet this condition throughout the training, including the day of the final examination.

A registration fee of 300 Euros per year is due at the time of registration.

Practical organization

The practical organization of the training course rests with the Association of Lawyers at the Court of Cassation. Two lawyers at the Court of Cassation are responsible for this, together with the secretary of the cassation desk.

Quality control

The quality of the training is monitored by a Council for Professional Training, composed of the President of the Bar of the Court of Cassation, a member of the Court of Cassation designated by the First President and a member of the Prosecutor’s Office at the Court designated by the Prosecutor.

The two lawyers at the Court of Cassation in charge of the practical organization of the training also participate in the meetings of the Professional Training Council, albeit in an advisory capacity.

The Professional Training Council appoints the members of the Examination Board. The council acts as a “reflection chamber” and makes any proposals to the Council of the Bar of the Court of Cassation regarding the training and examination that are deemed useful.

Contents of the cycle and evaluation

The cycle consists of a theoretical part (1st year) and a practical part (2nd, 3rd and 4th year), with the following program:

– 1st year: lectures on various aspects of the procedure and remedies in cassation in civil, social, criminal and tax cases.

The first year is concluded with a written test on the subject of the lectures; it consists of answering 5 questions.

Only the candidates who have obtained at least 12 out of 20 may proceed to the second year of the cycle.

– 2nd year: dedicated to criminal cases; each candidate must prepare, in two different files, an opinion and/or memorandum in support and a critical note; the works are discussed during working meetings;

– 3rd year: dedicated to civil matters: each candidate must prepare, in two different files, an opinion on the chances of success of a possible cassation appeal as well as a critical note; the works are discussed during working sessions;

– 4th year: dedicated to civil matters: each candidate must prepare, in two different files, a cassation provision and a critical note; the works are discussed during work meetings;

Per year of the practical part, the candidate is evaluated on his written works (opinion/memorandum/provision on 50 points and critical note on 40 points) and on his oral contribution (on 10 points). The average of the three years is calculated at 20 points.

The cycle ends (at the end of the 4th year) with a final test consisting in the drafting of a cassation provision. The test stands at 40 points, which are added to the above average for the final result.

A candidate is successful if he obtains at least 36 out of 60 points.

Certificate

Successful candidates are awarded the certificate referred to in Article 478(2) of the Judicial Code.

Completion of the cycle entitles the candidate to study points according to the rules applicable to the OVB (www.advocaat.be) and the OBFG (www.avocat.be).

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Persons responsible for the practical organization of the 2019-2023 cycle

The members of the cassation desk responsible for the organization of the 2019-2023 cycle are:

– for the Dutch-speaking side: Mr Caroline De Baets

– On the French-speaking side: Mr Michèle Grégoire

They are assisted by Mr Pierre Buyle, secretary of the cassation desk.

Registration for the 2019-2023 cycle

Registration for the 2019-2023 cycle is possible until December 31, 2019.

Registrations should be made by email addressed to the Staff Judge of the Bar Association at the Court of Cassation, at the email address cass@advocass.be. They must include proof of registration with a Belgian Bar (a specification of the Bar and the number on the Bar’s roll is sufficient).

Upon receipt of the registration e-mail, Mr. Buyle will send an invitation for payment.

Calendar for the first year of the 2019-2023 cycle

– The admissibility of the provision in civil cases: Mr. B. Vanlerberghe – Wednesday, 15/01/2020, from 2 to 4 pm.

– The admissibility and drafting of cassation appeals: Counsel B. Wylleman – Thursday 23/01/2020, from 2 to 4 pm.

– Admissibility of cassation appeals in criminal cases: Counsel F. Van Volsem – Wednesday 19/02/2020, from 2 to 4 p.m.

– Grounds for cassation in criminal matters: Mr. J. Verbist – Wednesday 4/03/2020, from 2 to 4 p.m.

– The scope of cassation: Mr. P. Vanlersberghe – Wednesday 1/04/2020, from 2 to 4 pm.

Calendar for the second year of the 2019-2023 cycle

The deadline for filing the opinion (with any supporting memorandum) at the secretariat of the cassation bar expires on Friday, February 19, 2021 at 12:00. The deadline is the same for all candidates.

As of March 1, 2021, it will be possible to work on the critical note; it will be deposited at the Secretariat of the cassation bar no later than 12:00 p.m. on Friday, April 9, 2021. This deadline is also the same for all candidates.

Group I, case 1

Discussion: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 (2:00 – 4:00 p.m.) moderated by former President Johan Verbist

Group I, case 2

Discussion: Thursday 6 May 2021 (2 p.m. – 4 p.m.) moderated by former President Johan Verbist

Group II, case 1

Discussion: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 (16:30 – 18:30) moderated by former President Johan Verbist

Group II, room 2

Discussion: Thursday, May 6, 2021 (16:30 – 18:30) under the direction of former President Johan Verbist

Calendar for the third year of the cycle 2019-2023

The files of which the opinion must be prepared will be available on the website from December 1, 2021.

The time limit for filing the opinion with the secretariat of the cassation court expires on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at noon.

The opinions on which the critical memorandum is to be based will be sent to you by post between 10 and 16 February 2022; the time limit for depositing the critical memorandum with the Secretariat of the Supreme Court will expire on Wednesday 30 March 2022 at 12:00 p.m.

Group I, case 1

Discussion: Monday 25 April 2022 (14:00 – 16:00) under the chairmanship of former President Johan Verbist

Group I, case 2

Discussion: Tuesday, April 19, 2022 (2:00 – 4:00 p.m.) under the chairmanship of former President Willy van Eeckhoutte

Group II, case 1

Discussion: Tuesday, 26 April 2022 (2 p.m. – 4 p.m.) moderated by former President Johan Verbist

Group II, case 2

Discussion: Thursday 28 April 2022 (2 p.m. – 4 p.m.) under the guidance of Willy van Eeckhoutte, former chairman

Using the tabs you can access

– the Basic information on the cassation desk (composition and coordinates, training, court fees, lexicon of terms specific to cassation proceedings, history),

– the Tableau van de cassatiebalie, i.e. the list with the coordinates of its members,

– a Vademecum (FAQ) containing answers to frequently asked questions about cassation,

– an Extranet providing access to a part of the website reserved for members of the Bar of the Court of Cassation, who were given a temporary password for that purpose.

Contact details