Reform Of The Social Penal Code Takes Shape

Van Olmen & Wynant


Van Olmen & Wynant
A new sanction is introduced: the prohibition to participate in public tenders or to receive public concessions.
European Union Criminal Law
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The Social Penal Code of 2010 has been modified many times during the last decade, but after a major evaluation in 2017 by the Advisory Council of Social Penal Law and a first draft legislative project of the beginning of 2023, a legal proposal to reform the code has been introduced in Parliament and is set to be approved before the deadline of 8 May (when the parliament dissolves for the elections of June). Below we discuss the most important changes:

  1. The current 4 levels of sanction levels are maintained. In earlier proposals, a new 5th sanction level was proposed for the most severe crimes. However, this 5th level has now disappeared.
  2. The fines for sanction level 3 are doubled and the maximum fines for level 4 are increased. The sanction scheme will look as follows (including the legal multiplication):
    • Level 1: admin. fine: 80-800 euro
    • Level 2: admin. fine: 200-2000 euro; penal fine: 400-4000 euro
    • Level 3: admin. fine: 800-8000 euro; penal fine: 1600 – 16000 euro
    • Level 4: admin. fine: 2400 – 28000 euro; penal fine: 4800 – 56000 euro; prison sentence of 6 months to 6 years.
  3. A new sanction is introduced: the prohibition to participate in public tenders or to receive public concessions.
  4. The term for repeat crimes will be increased from 1 year to 3 years. A conviction for a similar crime within 3 years will cause the fines to double (but not the prison sentence).
  5. The reform introduces two aggravating circumstances which the court needs to take into account when determining the sanction (a.k.a. which should lead to a more severe sanction):
    • When a crime punished with a sanction of level 4 is committed on purpose;
    • In case of obstruction of supervision of the social inspection services by means of threats or violence towards the person of the social inspector.

Source: Legislative proposal to supplement and amend the Social Penal Code and several provisions of Social Penal Code, no. 55K3914.

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