For the moment, civilians can send a letter to parliament to report obsolete laws. However, this doesn't happen very often, which is why the federal government is launching a new website, www.comitewetsevaluatie.be - the website is currently still under construction, but should go online by the end of the month.
The proposals that can be made on the website, have to concern very old laws, which have become useless. Legislation concerning speeding, construction or drugs does not belong to that category.
It's federal MP Patrick Dewael (Flemish liberal, photo) and Senator Els Van Hoof (Flemish Christian democrat) who took the initiative for the website as members of the parliamentary committee concerned with "Law Evaluation". They point out that MP's should not only create new laws, but that they also have the obligation to look for laws that have become obsolete. They will receive help from Belgian citizens for this through the new website.
Taking a cow may not be a bad idea
The daily De Standaard sums up some examples of which kind of laws could be removed from our statutes, taking examples from a list compiled by Mr Dewael.
- The law of 16 June 1937 gives the king the authority to proclaim a general mobilization when a war should break out in Belgian Congo - the former Belgian colony gained independence in 1960.
- Article 985 of the Civil Code is about the making of a will "in areas that have become completely isolated due to the bubonic plague."
- 1 cow, or 12 goats or sheep, and 24 chickens, with straw and feed for one month. That's what a bailiff can never take from you after knocking on your door to seize your belongings.
- Members of the Orange-Nassau dynasty are permanently excluded from all powers and authoritiy in Belgium, it is stipulated in a decree dating back 24 November 1830. Dutch royals are not allowed to marry Belgian royals according to Belgian law.