In a recent ruling of June 8, 2023, by the Court of First Instance in East Flanders, Dendermonde division, a decision was made regarding the validity of an arbitration exception raised in a second conclusion after the dismissal of the first conclusion.
In this case, the first conclusion of one of the parties was dismissed. Subsequently, this party raised an arbitration exception in the second conclusion. The court had to assess whether this exception, raised after the dismissal of the first conclusion, was valid. This was judged based on the principles and legal provisions set out in the Judicial Code.
According to Article 747, § 4 of the Judicial Code, conclusions made after the deadline are automatically dismissed from the debate. This principle was applied to the first conclusion of the concerned party. The court then considered that the second conclusion of this party, in which the arbitration exception was raised, was the first valid input of the party in the proceedings.
Furthermore, as prescribed by Article 1682, § 1 of the Judicial Code, an arbitration exception must be presented before any other defense to be admissible. The court ruled that, since the first conclusion was dismissed and thus had no legal effect, the arbitration exception in the second conclusion had to be considered as the first valid defense of the party.
This ruling provides clarity on the handling of arbitration exceptions in the Belgian legal system, particularly in cases where an earlier submission has been dismissed. It underscores the importance of compliance with procedural rules and deadlines as laid out in the Judicial Code and confirms that a dismissed submission has no legal effect in the proceedings.