The Flemish Bar Association has won a lawsuit against the Belgian state. From now on, the Immigration Office (DVZ) must provide lawyers with the direct contact details of its officials. Advocaat.be reported this on Thursday.
A judge already handed down the same verdict in 2011. Things then went well for a few years, until the Order and human rights lawyer Kati Verstrepen went to court together in June 2022. DVZ would then have only sent out a list with general contact details of the various services for more than three years.
DVZ has until November 15 to submit the list. If this is not done in time, a penalty of 500 euros per day may be imposed. “The judge responded to that question from the Bar Association and Master Verstrepen because DVZ has repeatedly ignored court rulings,” says spokesperson for Advocaat.be Sofie Demeyer. “The judge literally expressed in the judgment that he is nostalgic for the time when government services complied with court decisions without error. We thought that was remarkable.”
The lawyers say they need the detailed contact details to be able to assist their clients as best as possible in immigration law files. For example, they must be able to notify officials if documents are added to a file at the last minute, which could make the difference between whether or not a visa is granted.
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