Municipal agents and administrative fines

The bill relating to municipal administrative fines and the extension of the competencies of municipal agents aims to empower municipal agents to report infringements as set by the general police regulations of the municipality, sanctioned by either administrative or criminal fines as well as to offer a neighbourhood service favouring social cohesion in the municipalities.

Thus, the provisions of the bill allow:

  • to enhance the role of the municipal agent;
  • to relieve the police;
  • to relieve the justice system;
  • to define in a precise manner the proximity missions of municipal agents;
  • to establish a list of minor infringements sanctioned by administrative fines of 25 to 250€;
  • to introduce a procedure for administrative fines, while preserving the rights of defence.

Administrative fines

An administrative fine is “a unilateral administrative act with punitive content”. Municipalities will be able to incorporate the incivilities listed below into their general police regulations. These incivilities will then be sanctioned with reduced fines issued by municipal agents or higher fines of 25 to 250 euros issued by the sanctioning official.

The list of acts sanctioned by administrative fines includes the following 17 offenses:

  • occupying the public highway in order to exercise a profession or an industrial, commercial, artisanal or artistic activity without authorisation;
  • using lawnmowers, saws and any other noisy equipment outside the times authorised by the municipality;
  • throwing or exploding devices that produce smoke, fumes or explosives, stinking or tear-producing gas in the streets, lanes and public places;
  • loading and unloading goods without authorisation from the mayor or outside of scheduled hours;
  • using radios or other electronic devices in public places that exceed ambient noise levels, without authorisation from the mayor;
  • disrupting the operation of public street lighting and floodlights;
  • lighting a fire on public streets without the mayor’s authorisation;
  • handling pipes, conduits, cables and public facilities;
  • damaging  ornamental plantations installed by municipalities on public streets;
  • for dog owners, not to remove the excrements from their dog on the public streets;
  • bringing dogs to playgrounds, schools or other public spaces not permitted for dogs;
  • carrying out work on any kind of construction sites outside of authorised hours;
  • for establishments in the HORECA sector, installing café or restaurant terraces beyond the authorised perimeter;
  • occupying public playgrounds outside the scheduled opening hours;
  • placing garbage cans or bags intended for public collection on the public streets before the designated time;
  • for construction and transport companies, blocking public streets in the vicinity of construction sites and loading and unloading areas;
  • descending to the ice of canals, basins, ponds and waterways, unless authorized by the mayor.

How does the system of administrative fines work?

Schematically, the system of administrative fines can be summarised as follows:

Once the municipal agent has noticed an infringement, the adult (minors cannot be sanctioned through administrative fines) is asked to pay a reduced fine of 25€ within 15 days in order to avoid a potentially higher fine and administrative fee. If the concerned person does not pay the fine, the sanctioning official of the Ministry of Home Affairs will be asked to review the file. The latter will then decide whether a fine is imposed and will fix the amount based on the general police regulations of the concerned municipality. It is important to note that the person sanctioned, if he or she disputes the relevance of the facts, always has the right to appeal to the administrative court. 

Neighbourhood service

The reinforced presence of municipal agents on the public streets can be a source of comfort in face of growing feelings of insecurity among the population. At the same time, the bill proposes to clearly define the proximity missions of municipal agents, which has not been the case until now:

  • raising public safety awareness;
  • informing and reporting security, environmental and road problems to the corresponding departments;
  • assistance in crossing the road, e.g. near schools;
  • monitoring of people or property in the municipality during community events;
  • assisting victims of distress, accidents etc. by performing first aid while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

Legislative steps

The government submitted Bill No.7126 to the Chamber of Deputies on 4 April 2017 and amended it a first time in May 2018, following the first opinion of the Council of State. The State Council issued its supplemental opinion on 24 October 2018.

Following discussions with the various parties involved in this project, the Minister of Home Affairs introduced a new set of governmental amendments on 2 April 2021. These amendments not only took into account the opinion of the Council of State, but also incorporated the aspect of neighbourhood service into the bill.

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