Constitutional Court prohibits Belgian customs authorities to arrest leased vehicels for debts or un
As per articles 51 to 58 of the act of 25 December 2016 on improving the recovery of customs and excise debts (in force since 1 January 2017) customs officials were allowed to seize and sell any vehicle when the holder of the registration number of a vehicle, who is not necessarily its owner, fails to pay any outstanding penal fines or customs and excise debts owed by him. Several leasing companies therefore asked the Constitutional Court to annul the this new regulation, inter alia because the vehicle can be seized and sold without any judicial intervention and because there is no procedural guarantee to protect the right of ownership of the leasing company.
The Constitutional Court decides by decision of 4 October 2018 that indeed the new regulation does no not allow the lessor to lodge a 'concrete and effective' appeal with an independent and impartial judge against the seizure and possible subsequent sale of the vehicle.
Therefore, the Court annulled the articles 51 to 58 of the act of 25 December 2016, insofar they allow customs officials to seize a vehicle of which the holder of the registration certificate is not the owner.
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