Innovative changes for Belgium’s arbitration rules

by DLA Piper

This year Belgium has already seen significant reforms in its arbitration rules. These innovative changes include the adoption of a new Arbitration Act and the adoption of  new Arbitration and Mediation Rules by the Belgian Centre of Arbitration and Mediation  (CEPANI).

The Arbitration Act

The Arbitration Act dated 24 June 20131 entered into force on 1 September 2013. The Act, which is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law, reforms the section of the Belgian Judicial Code which deals with arbitration proceedings, without making a distinction between domestic and international arbitration.

By adopting a progressive Arbitration Act while keeping some Belgian idiosyncrasies, Belgium has indicated its intention to be a good modern forum for arbitration and an attractive place for users of international arbitration.

The following changes are of particular interest among those brought about by the new Arbitration Act:

  • Suppression of the double instance of jurisdiction (Art. 1680§5 of the Judicial Code): Under the current regime, an arbitral award may be challenged before the Tribunal of First Instance of the seat of arbitration.  An appeal against a decision of the Tribunal of First Instance may then be lodged before the Court of Appeal, and the decision of the Court of Appeal may, in turn, be challenged before the Court of Cassation if the conditions for such a challenge are met. Under the new Act, there will be no opportunity to lodge an appeal against a decision of the Tribunal of First Instance, but a challenge before the Court of Cassation will still be available. However, a challenge to an arbitral award is permitted only on the basis of a number of limited grounds (Art. 1717 of the Judicial Code). In addition, the new Act provides that if the award can be "saved", i.e., the award can remain in effect but requires some amendment, the Tribunal of First Instance can send the award back to the arbitral tribunal in order for the tribunal to revise it and eliminate the ground for annulment.
  • Clarification of the fact that interim measures can now be ordered by the arbitral tribunal on the request of one of the parties, save for the conservatory attachment of assets (Art. 1691 of the Judicial Code). Interim measures can be ordered in the form of an arbitral award or in another form, such as a procedural order. Despite the existence of concurrent arbitration proceedings, interim measures can also be granted by the President of the Tribunal of First Instance in the course of summary proceedings, in which urgency must be demonstrated.
  • Other changes include the introduction of a limitation period within which an award must be enforced of ten years from the date of the notification of the award, the introduction of principles according to which the arbitral tribunal must ensure the equal treatment of the parties, and the clarification of the double criterion of arbitrability (i.e. disputes may be arbitrated when: (i) the dispute is of a patrimonial nature, i.e. of monetary value; or (ii) the dispute is not of a patrimonial nature but the parties can agree on the subject of the dispute).

The CEPANI Rules

The new CEPANI Rules2 apply to arbitration and mediation proceedings commenced on or after 1 January 2013, unless the parties have agreed to submit their dispute to an earlier version of the Rules in effect on the date of the agreement.

Arbitration Rules

  • The new Arbitration Rules contain new articles dealing with multiple parties (Art. 9), multiple contracts (Art. 10), the intervention of a third party in the arbitration proceedings (Art. 11) and joinder (Art. 13).
  • The new rules also provide for urgent interim and conservatory measures to be available before the constitution of the arbitral tribunal. In such cases the CEPANI will appoint a sole emergency arbitrator for the purpose of making a decision in relation to the interim measures (Art. 26).
  • Other new provisions of the Arbitration Rules are the statement of availability, acceptance and independence that prospective arbitrators must sign and their limited liability, the confidentiality of the arbitration proceedings (Art. 25) and the correction and interpretation of awards (Art. 33).

Mediation Rules

  • The new Mediation Rules require mediators to sign a statement of acceptance, availability and independence and to comply with the Rules of Good Conduct set out in Schedule II (Art. 5).
  • Further, the mediator has a duty to ensure that the proceedings are properly conducted and must create a favourable climate to assist the parties to find a solution to their dispute (Art. 7.1). The mediator must also ensure that the parties are always treated on an equal basis (Art. 7.2).
  • The mediation procedure is also confidential (Art. 10).

Welcome reforms

These reforms of the Belgian arbitration rules have been largely welcomed by the arbitration community. They reflect current international arbitration practice and the needs of the parties involved in arbitration proceedings. These progressive rules are in accordance with the concepts of flexibility and efficiency that must govern any arbitration and are intended to reinforce the position of Belgium as an attractive seat for  dispute resolution procedures.

1 The new Act was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 28 June 2013, p. 41263.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© DLA Piper | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

DLA Piper

DLA Piper on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.