Expertise and Services
There are a lot of criminal offences and therefore also a lot of types of criminal cases. We have expertise and can assist you in each of them, either as a victim or as a suspect. This also applies to the many forms of special criminal law, for example in cases of social criminal law, fiscal criminal law and customs criminal law, environmental criminal law, urban planning infringements, bankruptcy offences and corporate criminal law in the broad sense.
If you are suspected of having committed a crime, we will discuss with you, and when the case lends itself to it, whether your file is eligible for a friendly settlement.
If you are invited for an interrogation (as a suspect or as a witness), you have the possibility to be assisted by a lawyer. Of course you can call on our office for this.
We also have special expertise in conducting proceedings before the highest courts, namely the Belgian Court of Cassation, the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
We provide services to:
Victims or suspects can be assisted by us throughout the entire criminal procedure. Of course, you can also call on us for proceedings before the highest courts. Contact us without obligation to find out more about how we can help you with your case.
Maybe you are entitled to legal aid. If you have a legal assistance insurance, it is possible that your insurer will contribute to our costs. Check your insurance policy or provide us with your insurance details so that we can check for you whether you qualify for this.
We are regularly engaged by attorneys or (national and international) law firms:
- for the provision of assistance in complex criminal cases
- to complement a legal team
- for drawing up opinions or expert opinions
- to conduct specific proceedings before the highest courts
- as a hired gun to bring a specific criminal case to a successful conclusion or to assist in tackling a specific (legal) problem
If you are a lawyer and would like to call on us, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss a possible cooperation. For many attorneys or law firms, using our office for specific criminal cases is the perfect scenario to deliver tailor-made solutions for the client and to offer the appropriate expertise in criminal cases.
Public services can call on our office for, among other things:
- legal advice
- assistance as a civil party
- assistance in proceedings before the highest courts
Companies are also regularly confronted with criminal law (as a suspect, as a witness or as a third party who is confronted, for example, with searches of houses or seizures) and can call on our services in the broadest sense of the word, e.g. for the purposes of criminal law:
- legal advice or assistance in criminal matters
- legal advice on rights and obligations and best practices in interrogations, searches and other investigative acts
- assistance in interrogations (as a suspect or witness) of managers, board members or staff members
- intervention to obtain the release of seized goods
- negotiations on friendly settlements
- drawing up affidavits or expert opinions on Belgian law that can be used abroad
The Belgian Court of Cassation (Supreme Court)
The Court of Cassation of Belgium is checks whether judicial decisions have been made in accordance with the law and the general principles of law. If this is not the case, a judicial decision can be annuled, which usually leads to a new assessment of the case before another judge (either in full or in part).
The proceedings before the Court of Cassation are essentially written: the parties must formulate their grounds of appeal (or their response to the grievances of the other party) in a memorandum (or a response memorandum).
In order to lodge an appeal in cassation, a lawyer must have a specific certificate of training in cassation proceedings in criminal matters. Joachim Meese has this certificate and has pleaded hundreds of cases before the Court in the past 20 years. Thanks to this years of expertise and thorough analysis, much better results are achieved than the average succes rate and this at competitive rates.
If you would like our assistance in cassation proceedings, please contact us as soon as possible. In criminal cases, the time limits for filing an appeal in cassation and pleadings are relatively short.
If you are a lawyer and would like to receive our assistance in cassation proceedings, please contact us preferably within 15 days following the decision you would like to contest. It is possible that together with the appeal in cassation against the final decision, an appeal in cassation may also have to be lodged against preparatory decisions, which has to done within the same time limit.
The Constitutional Court
The Constitutional Court is a court composed of twelve judges who monitor compliance of Belgian law with the Constitution. It can annul, declare unconstitutional and suspend laws, decrees and ordinances because of certain violations of the Constitution (e.g. of the principle of legality or of the principle of equality).
The Constitutional Court may rule on a preliminary question put by a court of law. It is therefore possible to invoke the unconstitutionality of a legislative provision before the (criminal) court, which must then decide whether to refer a question to the Constitutional Court to that effect. In addition, it is also possible to challenge a new law on the grounds of unconstitutionality.
The procedure before the Constitutional Court is essentially written. Parties are invited to draw up a statement (or a response) in which they must express their point of view. For the Belgian State, pleadings are drawn up by the Council of Ministers.
Joachim Meese intervened in many cases before the Constitutional Court, which already led to a number of high-profile judgments.
The European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has its seat in Strasbourg and is responsible for monitoring compliance by European member states with the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). When all domestic remedies have been exhausted, a private individual or a company can apply to the ECHR to obtain a conviction of a Member State (e.g. Belgium) for violation of the ECHR.
Importantly, after a conviction by the ECtHR (or after reaching a friendly settlement between the State and the applicant), a reopening of the procedure can be requested before the Court of Cassation of Belgium. In this way, a successful procedure in Strasbourg can lead to a retrial in Belgium.
Conducting proceedings before the ECtHR requires far-reaching specialisation, partly because of the enormous number of judgments that the ECtHR delivers each year. Joachim Meese follows this case law closely. Regularly, his annotations are published in the well-known journal Rechtskundig Weekblad, in the section ‘EHRM in kort bestek’ (ECtHR in brief). He is also a member of the editorial board of the leading Sdu Commentary on ECtHR jurisprudence ‘EVRM online‘ (Sdu Publishers). Our office is therefore regularly commissioned to advise on the chances of succes of an application in Strasbourg and/or to initiate such a procedure.