Delphine relaunches her litigation

  • Now that he’s no longer head of state, the former king does not enjoy legal immunity.
  • New litigation now needs to be started after ending the present one.
  • This could happen very shortly.

Delphine certainly doesn’t take no for an answer. The daughter of Jacques Boël will request a new summons targeting Jacques Boël (her legal father), and Albert II. This is to strip the first of his paternity and force recognition of paternity by the second. On Wednesday afternoon, the RTBF (Belgian radio and television network) made the announcement on its internet site. The new litigation will have a new twist. Having abdicated, King Albert is no longer protected by article 88 of the constitution that declared him immune and prevented any legal action from proceeding against him.

Before anything else, as Alain De Jonge, counsel for Delphine Boël explains, the first litigation, began last June 17, must be terminated. Summonses to appear were served to Jacques Boël and Albert II as well as to Philippe (then a prince) and to his sister, the princess Astrid. A hearing before a civil court in Brussels was scheduled for next September 3. Delphine’s counsel needed to file its findings in a very short time to meet that date.

Next, new summonses to appear will be served. One will go to Jacques Boël and one to Albert II who now is subject to court action like any other citizen. Philippe, now king, is constitutionally immune from legal action, as was his father before him. Astrid herself will probably not be served a summons to appear for the new litigation.

What is the motive?

The new legal action will take place in two separate procedures. First, Jacques Boël must be stripped of his paternity, and then another procedure will begin to have Albert II acknowledge paternity. “These are two distinct procedures,” states Alain Berenboom, counsel for the king, emphasizing that the procedures are separate actions. “The first is to disavow paternity. It could last about a year due to the crowded court calendar for the Brussels district court. The second procedure also would take one year.”

The motive behind the claim will be of equal interest. Last June, Albert II’s counsel stated, “the first procedure requested a DNA test, and no paternity acknowledgement.” There’s more to this than a nuance. Regarding acknowledgement of paternity, a DNA test is an “accessory means of proof and support for legal action” and not a goal in itself. Even if it concerned someone other than the king, “as long as you do not request a denial of paternity, or an admission of paternity, a DNA test doesn’t make much sense,” continues Alain Berenboom, and probably has a very small chance of occurring. “The court can’t pull a motive out of its hat, and thus, cannot make a judgment that carries beyond the request of the parties.”

Now it’s a waiting game until the new summons to appear is received by the Belvédère in Laeken, the royal residence, to learn more about Delphine’s intentions regarding Albert II and Jacques Boël. Is she looking for her fathers’ recognition?

PASCAL LORENT

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