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Municipal traffic law: peregrination and legal regulations

  • 19 February 2020
  • Janson News
Municipal traffic law: peregrination and legal regulations
We have to thank the committee of public law of the bar of Liège/ Luik for having had the idea to organize the conference "Municipal traffic law: peregrination and legal regulations" on 20 February 2020. The quantitative as well as qualitative importance of roads, in particular municipal roads, is indeed no longer to be demonstrated. 90% of Belgian roads are municipal roads. In addition, road networks in general, and municipal road networks in particular, satisfy a wide range of public interests: the fundamental freedom to come and go, housing conditions and spatial planning, economic development, and not forgetting, they are the centre of public service channelling. Moreover, this conference was in his time, given that municipal traffic law has been the subject of an important aggionamento in recent years, particularly in the Walloon region, which alone justified the organization of such a study day. Last but not least, traffic law is still too often little known by practitioners, particularly municipal officials and municipal councillors, so that the organization of this conference and the publication of the reports presented could only contribute to improving the knowledge of municipal traffic law.

The quality of the various reports presented at the conference and included in this book, allows the reader to "walk" pleasantly, and without the risk of making a mistake, through the most diverse subjects relating to municipal roads. 

With regard to the creation, modification and abolition of municipal roads, Florence Natalis and Jean-Marc Secretin explained how the Walloon decree of 6 February 2014 on municipal roads has fortunately replaced the old legislation, dating from the 19th century, of this area. Nevertheless, it was not until the "Code du développement territorial" of 20 July 2016 that the linking between the road authorizations issued by the local council and the urban planning authorizations was finally implemented. Conversely, Mr Martin Lauwers and Mr Alexandre Prison convincingly demonstrated that, despite the jurisprudence of the State Council,  disparity still exists today in the various other authorization systems linked to roads and, consequently, that "the matter would gain in legal security if it would fall within a legislative value, integrating the elements of the current system  (...) defining the elements of the system that are equal to those of local systems. Mr Martin Chabot and Mr Gauthier Ervyn, for their part, meticulously dissected in their report the execution and problems with the execution of public contracts relating to road works, so that the matter could no longer hold any secrets for municipalities that outsource the execution of works on their roads by entrusting them to a third company. Lastly, Mrs Elisabeth Kiehl has rightly pointed out in the report, which is illustrated by numerous case law examples, that sidewalks of municipal roads are an integral part of them and that, as such, their management and maintenance can engage the civil and criminal liability of the municipalities that own them just as much as the management and maintenance of sidewalks. 
To summarize, all the practitioners who attended the conference organized by the committee of public law of the bar of Liège/ Luik on 20 February 2020, will be as enlightened as the state of our cities and villages must be. Moreover, thanks to this book, attendees will be able to easily find their way through the maze that is called municipal traffic law. 

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