A Law and Economics Analysis of Federalism Applied to the Belgian Judiciary
in J. Beldowski, K. Metelska-Szaniawska, L. Visscher (eds.), Polish Yearbook of Law & Economics, vol.4, C.H. Beck, 2013, 115-148
34 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2015
Date Written: 2013
Although the judiciary has the crucial task of upholding the rule of law, inefficiencies hamper the proper functioning of the Belgian judicial system. The Belgian Constitution grants the legislative power regarding the judiciary mainly to the federal level, where substantive disagreements between the French- and Dutch-speaking political parties impede necessary reforms. This paper evaluates the option of shifting the legislative power with regard to judicial organization from the federal level to the decentralized Regions and Communities or to the European level. A law and economics analysis of decentralization and centralization will unveil the costs and benefits of splitting up the judiciary in Belgium or evolving towards Europeanization. The federal structure of Belgium constitutes an ideal platform to benefit from the advantages of decentralization in addition to offsetting the disadvantages of decentralization by allocating certain aspects at the centralized level. Decentralization can be pursued by granting legislative powers to the Regions and Communities, while centralization can take place via granting powers to the federal or European level. Based on the law and economics cost-benefit analysis, reform proposals allocating each homogeneous aspect of the judiciary to the most suitable government level will be developed. Provided that one takes into account the distinctive characteristics of each country, the framework of the undertaken economic analysis and the ensuing normative conclusions are useful for assessing federal judicial systems around the globe.
Keywords: judiciary, law and economics, centralization, decentralization, public choice
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