January 2018 – Caroline Lebon publishes updated overview of the principles of statutes of limitations in Belgian contract law

Caroline Lebon co-authored the update of her elaborate 2004 publication regarding the principles of statutes of limitations in Belgian contract law (published in the loose-leaf commentary “Artikelsgewijze commentaar verbintenissenrecht” – Kluwer).

More information regarding the publication may be found on: http://shop.wolterskluwer.be/shop/nl_BE/navigation/308/Bijzondere-Overeenkomsten.-Artikelsgewijze-commentaren?p=7500115299.

10 January 2018 – Belgium’s first step in GDPR implementation

As a first step in Belgium’s privacy reform, a new law was published today setting up a Belgian Data Protection Authority (replacing the current Belgian Privacy Commission) in anticipation of the future applicability of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). With this law, the Belgian Data Protection Authority acquires substantial investigative and judiciary powers, as well as new bodies which will be able to impose the sanctions introduced under the GDPR.

While the GDPR will provide for a greater degree of harmonization than the current regime , there are approximately 50 possibilities for Member States exceptions, additional requirements or specifications to the GDPR (e.g. in terms of processing of HR data, minimum age of children for consent, situations where a DPO is mandatory). These will be the subject of a separate piece of legislation, for which no draft is currently available.

October 2017 Update – Option to subject professional leasing to VAT initiative cancelled

Following up on our earlier post in September, we have meanwhile been informed that the Federal Government has ultimately decided past weekend to cancel the proposed introduction of an optional mechanism to subject professional leasing to VAT for notably budgetary reasons.

We believe this is highly unfortunate. The introduction of such a system could have drastically improved the competitivity of professional tenants towards foreign competitors and could have affected the real estate market on various fronts. Importantly, the system would have eliminated the need for complex structures to make the VAT-system applicable to a priori exempted transactions.

Notwithstanding the above, it cannot be excluded that the Federal Government may still introduce more minor changes to the existing real estate VAT regimes such as regarding the putting at the disposal of storage facilities. The discussions regarding these matters is still ongoing and other initiatives may still be developed.

Our Tax practice will keep you up date regarding these evolutions via our News section.

October 2017 – Major Reform of the Brussels Zoning & Town Planning Rules

On 13 October 2017, the Brussels Parliament voted the ordinance which will substantially modify the Brussels zoning and town planning rules (the so-called Code bruxellois de l’Aménagement du Territoire, in short “COBAT” / Brussels Wetboek Ruimtelijke Ordening, in short “BWRO”).

The text will be published in the Belgian State Gazette in the coming weeks and will probably enter into force in the course of 2018.

More news to come regarding this important reform.

September 2017 – Option to subject professional leasing to VAT

Bruno De Duve, who leads our Tax practice group, & Helene Mulier, summer intern, discuss in depth the recent legislative initiative of the Belgian Federal Government to allow the possibility to subject to VAT the mere letting of an immovable property to a business subject to VAT as of 1 January 2018. This draft bill may drastically improve the competitivity of professional tenants towards foreign competitors and may effect the real estate market on various fronts.

Read more

Verhaegen Walravens referenced in IP Blog 1709

Verhaegen Walravens has been referenced in Tibbie McIntyre‘s Conference Report – ‘Moral Rights and New Technologies: Authorship, Attribution and Integrity in a Digital World‘, posted on today’s 1709 blog in relation to authorship and new technologies:

“Florian De Rouck from Verhaegen Walraevens, discussed artificial intelligence. He presented on the moral rights repercussions regarding artificial intelligence, from the 1960’s software Aaron to the cutting edge Google Magenta project, which is designed to ‘advance the state of the art in machine intelligence for music and art generation’. As it develops to greater and greater complexity, artificial intelligence will surely destabilise our current understanding of the concept of the author and the creative product.”

Please find more info on: http://the1709blog.blogspot.be/2017/05/conference-report-moral-rights-and-new.html