Yes, evidence can be taken in both of these ways. Procedures have been developed ad hoc; Belgian legislation contains no provisions on videoconferencing, but it does not prohibit it.
Evidence can be taken from both witnesses and experts. In practice, evidence was already taken from parties under Article 17.
The national legislation of the requesting court has to be applied in this regard. The taking of evidence requested must not infringe fundamental principles of Belgian national law (Article 17(5)(c)).
The examination by videoconference does not have to take place in a court.
The requesting court determines in accordance with its own rules whether the hearing is to be recorded and makes the necessary arrangements.
a) in Dutch, French or German only (Belgian law).
b) no language requirements.
The requesting court arranges for an interpreter and bears the interpretation costs. Normally, the interpreter provides his/her services at the requesting court when the videoconference takes place. However, there is no reason why the interpreter cannot be physically present with the witness.
This is determined in accordance with the national law of the requesting court.
The costs are paid by the requesting court.
The telephone connection is initiated by the requesting court. Any travel costs must also be paid by the requesting court. The central body points this out to the requesting court when it acknowledges receipt of the request.
The foreign court informs the witness of the letter of invitation, which specifies the voluntary nature of his/her cooperation.
The central body asks the requesting court to send it the letter of invitation before Form J is sent. This letter must clearly show that the person was informed that attendance at the hearing is voluntary.
By means of identity documents.
This is done in accordance with the law of the requesting state.
A member of the central body's staff temporarily assumes the role of coordinator for the purpose of agreeing practical matters such as the date and time of a test hearing and the actual hearing.
An administrator/clerk is responsible for switching the system on and off.
Requests for additional information are submitted to the requesting court by the central body before the hearing.
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