How can we assist you?
Waeterinckx Vansteenkiste Advocaten are experts on liability and we help companies, government bodies and their managers to understand their liability, to manage it, and — if the worst happens — to chart a course through the crisis, aiding them as they work through disputes.
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How can we assist you?
Liability is a risk for any organisation and its members. The Belgian legal system treats ‘breaches’ (in the sense of wrongful acts) as both criminal and civil matters that can lead to sanctions, redress and/or compensation. In other words, in Belgium, liability is not restricted to a single branch of the law. This means that for companies, government bodies and their managers operating in Belgium, wrongful acts are a personal risk, both from a criminal and a civil law perspective.
Examples of the kinds of ‘breaches’ leading to a liability claim in either criminal or civil proceedings are countless: fraud, breaches stemming from management decisions (such as investments, savings, licensing, tax optimisation, etc.), medical errors, accidents at work, illegal or excessive emissions, breaches in the contracting of work, traffic accidents and more.
In fact, all acts and decisions that you need to make to practise your profession, to manage the business and/or to keep your department or company running are acts and decisions that could lead to liability claims being lodged against you.
Our attorneys take a real-world approach to liability, viewing it from your organisation’s perspective. In other words, they regard liability as a risk you need to manage, a risk arising from an action that was not carried out by the book. First and foremost, this kind of ‘not by the book’ action is something that could have major consequences, including death, illness, injury, arrest, prosecution and more.
Also at the level of the activities of your company or organisation, however, the consequences and problems of liability are sometimes so serious that they could give rise to temporary or permanent business discontinuity. This could take the form of resource-devouring crisis management, loss of operating licences, loss of shareholders’ or stakeholders’ confidence, major fines, irrecoverable and/or uninsurable damage, etc.
Managing this liability risk, then, is clearly something that calls for more expertise than merely the traditional type of legal assistance provided once a dispute has arisen.
Waeterinckx Vansteenkiste Attorneys will provide you with thorough expertise and tailored solutions at three levels:
First, we are keen to help you prevent incidents which could give rise to liability claims. Prevention through advisory services and legal risk management is a key part of our services.
Secondly, we will also assist you wherever required once a case has started, and this assistance will cover the whole spectrum: from fully-fledged legal assistance in post-incident crisis management through to the full settlement of disputes in all courts and tribunals, including the Court of Cassation (the Supreme Court of Appeal in Belgium) in criminal cases.
Last but not least, we will also advise you on your selection of appropriate insurance policies. Although insurance is not a cure-all, it is an indispensable component as regards taking a prudent approach to your organisation’s liability risks.