Court of Cassation (Belgium)

Jean-Louis van Dievoet (1777-1854), who was the first Secretary of the Court of Cassation of Belgium, after the independence.

The Court of Cassation (Dutch: Hof van Cassatie, French: Cour de cassation, German: Kassationshof) is the main court of last resort in Belgium.

It was originally modelled after the French Cour de cassation. Its jurisdiction and powers are similar to those of its French counterpart.

To maintain readability: Dutch terms will be abbreviated as D, French terms as F.


The court comprises three chambers with 16 judges. Each chamber in turn has a Dutch and a French division. Each chamber has a chief judge, called the President, and two heads of division, one for each language group. The entire court is headed by a chief judge called the First President.

The parket generaal (D) or parquet général (F) is headed by the Chief Prosecutor (D: procureur-generaal, F: procureur général). The Prosecutor is a magistrate, but does not actually try cases (his role is to give legal advice to the Court, in a similar manner to the Commissioner of the Government of Council of State (D: Raad van State, F: Conseil d'État). He brings cases to the Court "in the name of the law." The Chief Prosecutor is aided by the First Prosecutor (first advocat-general) and about 12 Prosecutors (D: advocaten-generaal, F: avocats généraux).


The lawyers, while not employees of the Court and not technically part of it, play an important role in the correct application of justice.

With the exception of a few categories of litigation (namely in penal cases), it is compulsory to use an advocate when referring matters to the Court of Cassation. Lawyers admitted to pleading before this high court are known as advocaat bij het Hof van Cassatie (D) or avocat à la Cour de Cassation (F). The roles of these specialized lawyers includes advising litigants on whether their pleas are admissible, particularly that cassation cases only review points of law and not points of fact.


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