There Is No Personal Bankruptcy in Belgium



Until 1997, Belgian personal bankruptcies were governed by a statute from 1851. Bankrupt individuals were treated severely, remaining responsible for unpaid debts. Punishment involved a loss of rights, including the ability to be appointed to the board of a company. In addition to strict penalties, the bankruptcy procedure was rather like an inquisition, with the bankrupt individual allowed very little input. The liquidation process was slow and expensive, which led to numerous abuses by the judge. Today, individuals are not permitted to file bankruptcy. What happens if you’re declared bankrupt? Simple: The bankrupt person will enter into an arrangement with the court to garnish their wages once any earnings exceed a minimum level required for them to survive. It’s not unusual for the debt to be paid back over decades. The only alternative is to pay off the debt or leave the country. Even if a person dies, the debt is then passed on to their heirs.