Phone: +32 2 737 10 40
Mobile +32 478 29 47 52
For more than twelve years, we have been regular counsel to diplomatic missions in Brussels.
Our “Diplomatic Desk” is dedicated to providing legal services to diplomatic missions and to representing them and their members before the Belgian authorities and courts. It offers a wide range of services on all legal matters related to diplomatic missions and their members, contemplated in the Protocol Guide on Immunities and Privileges published by the Belgian Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (special rights enjoyed by privileged persons derived from the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the Headquarters Agreements entered into with international organizations present or represented in Belgium).
We are familiar with the specific legal needs of diplomatic missions. In our approach, we want to offer a comprehensive service that covers all legal issues that diplomatic missions, their diplomats and families may face in Belgium.
Depending on the specific requirements of a diplomatic mission, we usually agree on an annual all-inclusive budget, but we are also open to being compensated for each service provided.
The Diplomatic Desk is headed by Thierry Ongenae who, thanks to his in-depth experience with diplomatic missions since many years, is able to offer a particularly professional, practical and competitive service in this area.
Our services typically include, amongst others:
Legal services related to the diplomatic mission and the residence of H.E.
- Assistance in the accreditation procedure of the Head of the diplomatic post in Belgium, and in the approval procedure of the Head of Mission to the EU;
- Assistance in the admission by the Directorate of Protocol of members of the staff of the diplomatic mission holding an auxiliary function and benefiting from the privileges under the Vienna Convention, as well as of private servants;
- Assistance in all communications with the Belgian authorities, including the Directorate of Protocol;
- Assistance in issues related to immunity and tax privileges (exemption from taxes, VAT, customs and other taxes), including litigation before courts on this subject;
- Drafting and legal management of all contracts entered into by the diplomatic mission during their life-cycle, including litigation in connection therewith:
- all employment contracts with local workers
- lease agreements of premises of the diplomatic mission
- insurance contracts
- contracts with service providers of the diplomatic mission
- maintenance contracts
- cleaning contracts
- security contracts (armed)
- building/renovation contracts
- outsourcing contracts
- purchase contracts of vehicles
- etc. ...
- Assistance in and delivering of all legal opinions related to Belgian labor law and social security law applicable to locally hired personnel, related to, amongst others:
- hirings, type of contract, rights and obligations of local workers and of the diplomatic mission, Joint Committee 337 (CP 337)
- work regulations
- occupational safety
- paid holidays
- dismissals according to the Belgian legislation
- social security laws (ONSS)
- fines imposed by the ONSS for late payment of social security contributions and exemption thereof
- consequences of failure to declare a worker & rights of non-declared workers
- mandatory indexations of salaries in Belgium
- mandatory insurances for local workers against work accidents
- etc. …
- Assistance in all real estate transactions;
- Assistance in obtaining the license to operate an armed internal security service;
- Assistance in banking relations (opening of accounts - entitlement to basic banking services imposed on banks);
- Legal disputes and litigation involving the diplomatic mission;
- Defense of the interests of citizens of the sending state.
Legal services related to the diplomats at the diplomatic mission
- Assistance of the members of the staff of the diplomatic mission and their families in all legal matters, including housing & rental agreements and travel related matters;
- Obtaining special residence permits, including for private servants;
- Immunities of the members of the staff of the diplomatic mission and their family members;
- Legal disputes and litigation involving members of diplomatic missions.