Nominations and appointments FAQ

Are all judges "nominated" by the HCJ?

What are the legal nomination criteria?

Which documents do I need to include with my application?

Which criteria are used to assess candidates?

Which criteria are used to assess candidates for the role of chief of jurisdiction?

How do I know if my name has been put forward?

What is the purpose of candidate hearings?

How do I submit a hearing application?

What is the time limit for submitting a hearing application?

Are hearings organised during the judicial recess?

Are candidates who have already been presented heard again?

When is the candidate summoned by the committee?

What happens if I fail to appear at the hearing?

 

Are all judges “nominated” by the CSJ?

The High Council cannot interfere in the granting of deputy mandates or specific mandates. This still falls within the remit of the judicial bodies concerned and the King. There is one exception: federal judges must be presented by the Joint Nominations and Appointments Committee (JNAC).

What are the legal nomination criteria?

Nomination criteria sometimes vary depending on the roles within the judiciary. You will find, in the Judicial Code, from article 186a onwards, a detailed list of all the nomination criteria.

What documents do I need to enclose with my application?

In order to be admissible, all nomination or appointment applications (as chief of jurisdiction) in the judiciary must be accompanied by:

a) All the supporting documents concerning the candidate’s education and professional experience.

The Council of State decreed, in its ruling n° 203.806 of 10 May 2010, that the certificate of the bar association is the most reliable proof of the candidate’s membership of the bar association, but this does not mean, however, that other supporting documents are not allowable, or that they do not have probative value. However, we advise candidates who have experience as a lawyer to attach a recent certificate issued by their bar association to their application.

b) A curriculum vitae in accordance with the standard form drawn up by the Justice Minister on the proposal of the High Council of Justice.

c) Candidates applying for a vacant position as a chief of jurisdiction must also transmit their management plan in two copies to the Justice Minister by registered letter, within sixty days of the publication of the vacancy. They must describe in this plan the objectives that they intend to pursue throughout their term of office.

All documents must be submitted in duplicate.

You are strongly advised to contact, as soon as possible, the Federal Public Service Justice if you have any doubts as to whether your application is complete.

The Nominations and Appointments Committee is only officially aware of the nomination application file transmitted to it by the FPS Justice.

As the provisions of the Judicial Code do not allow candidates to submit further documents at their hearing, no additional documents can be added to the application file.

Which criteria are used to asses nomination candidates?

Candidates are presented on the basis of criteria concerning their abilities and aptitudes.

Which criteria are used to assess candidates for the role of chief of jurisdiction?

The (J)NAC takes account of the general profiles drawn up in advance by the High Council of Justice for each position of chief of jurisdiction. At the General Assembly of 4 September 2000, the High Council of Justice approved the twenty profiles proposed by the Joint Advisory and Investigation Committee (JAIC).

The (ideal) profiles for the chiefs of jurisdiction consist of four criteria: they are expected (1) to develop a strategy, (2) to be able to set up and manage an efficient organisation, and demonstrate that they can guarantee or ensure an (3) accessible and (4) high-quality service.

In concrete terms, this requires eight general competences: integrity (in the sense of loyalty, consistency, a clear vision, mastery of the external context, the ability to manage a group, good planning and organisational skills, the ability to monitor progress, decisiveness and a sense of public service.

In addition to these eight competences, each of the twenty management functions within the judiciary requires other specific skills.

How do I know if my name has been put forward?

The candidates and the chiefs of jurisdiction are informed in writing of the decision of the Nominations and Appointments Committee as soon as possible.

In addition, the names of candidates presented are published on the High Council’s website, no later than the day after the Committee’s decision (by midday).

Candidates are requested not to contact either the members of the Nominations and Appointments Committee or the Committee’s secretariat.

What is the purpose of candidate hearings?

The hearing gives candidates the opportunity to explain their motivations and clarify certain points regarding the written testimonials received regarding them.

Moreover, the members of the Nominations Committee can ask candidates to clarify certain points concerning their application.

Candidates are advised to specify, during their hearing, whether they have applied for other vacancies or whether they have a preference among the different positions for which they have applied.

For chief of jurisdiction candidates, the (compulsory) hearing is an opportunity for them to clarify certain points regarding their management plan.

How can I apply for a hearing?

Hearing applications must be submitted to the competent Nominations and Applications Committee (and not to the FPS Justice) by registered letter.

Candidates who apply for several vacancies are advised to submit a separate application for each hearing request.

Candidates can send the different letters in the same envelope.

What is the deadline for submitting a hearing application?

Pursuant to the provisions of the Judicial Code, a hearing must be requested within 100 days of the publication of the job vacancy in the Belgian Official Journal.

The time limit is, however, increased to 140 days in the following cases:

- for a nomination as adviser to the Court of Cassation, advisor or alternate advisor to the Court of Appeal or advisor to the Labour Court;

- for an appointment as First President of the Court of Cassation, First President of the Court of Appeal or First President of the Labour Court;

- for a specific appointment as a public prosecutor’s assistant or federal judge.

It is to be noted that the current practice of the committees is to summon automatically all candidates to a hearing.

Are there hearings during the judicial recess?

The process is suspended from 15 July to 15 August. There are therefore no hearings during this period.

Are candidates whose names have already been put forward invited to a hearing?

According to case-law, the same candidate should not be presented for several vacancies.

When a candidate’s name has already been put forward, it is no longer appropriate for the said candidate to request a hearing for the other vacancies for which they have applied.

For obvious reasons, these candidates will no longer be summoned automatically to a hearing.

If the hearing application(s) has or have already been sent to the High Council, there is no point in following up the invitation to attend a hearing. The candidate can notify the secretariat of the Committee (by telephone, fax or in writing) that they have waived their hearing.

When are candidates summoned to a hearing by the Committee?

Once the Nominations and Appointments Committee has determined the final schedule for hearings, candidates are summoned by registered letter several days before the scheduled date (approximately one week).

Hearings are generally held:

- on Friday afternoon in the case of the French-language Nominations and Appointments Committee;

- on Tuesday afternoon in the case of the Dutch-language Nominations and Appointments Committee.

There is no set date for hearings of the Joint Nominations and Appointments Committee.

What happens if I fail to attend the hearing?

If you do not intend to attend the hearing at the scheduled time on the scheduled day, you must inform the secretariat of the Nominations and Appointments Committee accordingly (High Council of Justice, 67 Rue de la Croix de Fer, 1000 Brussels or by email: info@csj.be or by fax: 02/535.16.20).

Given the legal time limits imposed on the Nominations Committee to present a candidate to the Justice Minister (40 days from the presentation request), no hearing postponements can be granted, for whatever reason.

Candidates who fail to attend a hearing at the time specified by the Committee, shall, except in cases of force majeure, be deemed to have waived the option to be heard.

The Committee has full discretionary powers to determine what constitutes a valid act of force majeure. Provided that it does not affect the time limit within which the Committee must present a candidate, candidates affected by an act of force majeure shall be summoned to a new hearing.