Belgian legislation

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The Moniteur site is the access portal to Belgian law online. It gives direct access to the Moniteur belge (Belgium’s official gazette) and to a collection of consolidated legislation and an index. Federal legislation, and that of the (Flemish, French Walloon, Brussels and German-speaking) communities and the regions (Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels-Capital) making up the federation, is accessible via this site. The site is managed by the Federal Ministry of Justice [Service Public Fédéral de la Justice — SPF Justice].

Belgian legislation can be consulted under three main headings:

  • the legislation index — this gives access to the titles of all legislative and regulatory texts that have appeared in the Moniteur belge since 1945.Titles predating 1945 are included only if amendments to them have appeared in the Moniteur belge since 1984;
  • collection of consolidated legislation — this database gives access to up-to-date versions of all legislation published in the Moniteur belge since 1980 in the following fields: economic, commercial, environmental, military, criminal and social law (except for collective labour agreements, which have only been included since January 1996). As regards public and administrative law, procedural law, international law, and civil and tax law, general texts published in the Moniteur belge as from 1 June 1994 are available; and
  • Moniteur belge — this heading gives access to the electronic version of the Moniteur belge for the day in question (summaries and full texts) and previous editions dating back to June 1977. The Moniteur is published in Belgium’s three official languages: Dutch, French and German.

It is also possible to search under four secondary headings:

  • jurisprudence judiciaire [judicial case-law] immediate access to the texts of judgments and decisions handed down by the Cour de cassation [Court of Cassation], the Cour d’arbitrage [Court of Arbitration], the Cour d’appel [Court of Appeal], the Cour du travail [Labour Court], the Tribunal du travail [Labour Tribunal], the Tribunal de première instance [Tribunal of First Instance], the Commission pour la protection de la vie privée [Committee for the Protection of Privacy] and the Commission d’aide aux victimes d’actes intentionnels de violence [Committee for Aid to Victims of Intentional Acts of Violence];
  • directives ministérielles [ministerial guidelines] issued by the Ministry of Justice and the joint circulars of the College of Public Prosecutors (not all the guidelines are accessible to the public at large);
  • the Bulletin des adjudications (publication of public procurement notices); and
  • the annex to the Moniteur, which contains the full texts of acts concerning legal persons (non‑profit-making associations, companies, etc.); these date back to 1 September 2002 in the case of companies and to December 1998 in the case of associations.

Legal acts

The Constitution is the highest point of reference for Belgian domestic legislation. It governs the separation of powers and the way in which powers are exercised. It also sets out society’s fundamental values and citizens’ basic rights. In a judgment issued on 27 May 1971, the Court of Cassation held that international and supranational instruments take precedence over national instruments, including the Constitution. If an EU Regulation conflicted with the Constitution, the Regulation would prevail.

Below the Constitution, in descending order, there are:

  • special acts(lois spéciales) – acts passed by special majority which determine the division of powers and the key operational rules of public institutions;
  • acts(lois), decrees(décrets) and ordinances(ordonnances);
  • royal orders(arrêtés royaux) and government orders(arrêtés de gouvernement) – implementing acts or decrees; and
  • ministerial orders(arrêtés ministériels).
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