Launch at Conference on Access to Justice


The ELI Belgio-Luxembourg Hub was successfully launched on 27 May 2019 in Brussels under the initiative of Robert Bray, Grégory Minne, Denis Philippe, and Matthias Storme. Nearly 100 legal experts gathered to discuss the topic of access to justice.

At the Conference, Paul Nihoul, Judge at the General Court in Luxemburg and Professor at Université catholique de Louvain, delivered a thought-provoking keynote speech. Several well-known legal experts, including Christian Storck (President of the Belgian Supreme Court), Marc Clément (Judge at the Administrative Court of Appeal of Lyon), Charles-Hubert Born (Vice-Dean at the Catholic University of Louvain), Martinez Iglesias (Director for Legislative Affairs of the Legal Service of the European Parliament), Alain Pilette (Deputy Director Justice, DG Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) at Council of the European Union) and Peter Callens (Dutch-Speaking Bar in Brussels), attended the event.

Nearly 100 participants from different legal professions discussed citizens’ requests to judges to review the legality of decisions or regulations that are affecting their rights, on issues that had long been reserved to legislators or administrations.

Among other things, participants addressed specific cases of:

  • Professionals suing the Federal State of Belgium for insufficient funding of the judicial system, rendering it incapable of performing the function entrusted to it by the Constitution;
  • German and Dutch citizens who have started to take legal action against the authorities for failing to take necessary measures to protect public health, in a context where the tragic consequences of air pollution were highlighted; and
  • Cities, regions and associations within the European Union suing the European Commission and sometimes even Parliament and the Council for decisions they consider to be in the general interest.

Participants discussed if these new requests correspond to a new function that citizens would like judges to play and how the judiciary is responding to these new citizens’ demands. These are essential questions for the development of our society, in the context of a Union based on values such as the rule of law, and a growing interest is developing in these issues.

The event was a great success and enthusiasm for more such events in the future was voiced by participants. More information is available in the agenda.