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What is a court of first instance?

The court of first instance is the court with the most extensive jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters.

Belgium is divided into 12 judicial districts, namely West Flanders, East Flanders, Antwerp, Limburg, Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Namur, Liège, Luxembourg, Leuven, Eupen and Brussels Dutch-speaking/French-speaking.

There is a court of first instance in each judicial district and sometimes consists of several divisions. The divisions of the court of first instance consist of different sections:

  • civil court
  • misdemeanours court
  • juvenile court
  • family court
  • criminal court