Are you at risk of a search of your business?  - Lawyerz

Are you at risk of a search of your business? – Lawyerz

A search can of course take place if there is suspicion of criminal activity. But did you know that there are also other scenarios? Even if the searches are not legion, they can be more diverse than you first thought.

It is mainly the Code of Criminal Procedure which organizes the way in which a search can be carried out to seek evidence of a criminal offence. In principle, no search can be carried out before 5 a.m. and after 9 p.m. The famous search warrant, which is the decision by which an investigating judge delegates to a judicial police officer the task of carrying it out, must also meet…

It is mainly the Code of Criminal Procedure which organizes the way in which a search can be carried out to seek evidence of a criminal offence. In principle, no search can be carried out before 5 a.m. and after 9 p.m. The famous search warrant, which is the decision by which an investigating judge delegates to a judicial police officer the task of carrying it out, must also meet a certain number of conditions. But that’s not all. Your business may also be the subject of a search conducted in accordance with the Social Penal Code, which allows social inspectors to enter freely, at any time of the day and night, without prior warning, all workplaces or other which are under their control. Similarly, in the event of anti-competitive practices such as abuse of a dominant position or cartels, i.e. concerted practices between undertakings which significantly distort competition on the market concerned (for example, an agreement relating to limitation of production), you risk being visited by the Belgian Competition Authority between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. And this, not only on the premises of the company but also at the home of the business manager if there is reason to believe that certain documents or information are there, in accordance with the Code of Law economic. When it comes to privacy legislation (including the GDPR), the inspection of the Belgian Data Protection Authority can “carry out on-site examinations”, as authorized by the law of 3 December 2017, at any time in the company or any other place for material findings. However, prior authorization must be obtained when it comes to the premises of a professional subject to professional secrecy and inhabited spaces. Finally, searches are also possible in certain specific sectors. Like those carried out by inspectors from the Belgian Institute for Posts and Telecommunications or the Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain.Nicolas Roland, associate lawyer at Younity

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