Claim for compensation for bar and restaurant owners
Maatschap Horecaclaim België: our raison d’être
Maatschap Horecaclaim België was established for the purpose of bringing a group claim against the Belgian State on behalf of many thousands of owners of various-sized bars and restaurants (i.e. establishments with and without staff) following the implementation of a general smoking ban.
If necessary, an action will be brought before the court against the Belgian State to recover the losses suffered by bar and restaurant owners and to demand that the smoking ban be revoked at smaller establishments. In addition, Maatschap Horecaclaim België also intends to file a claim on behalf of larger food and drink establishments, in order to have the smoking ban revoked across the entire hospitality industry.
CALL FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
We call upon bar and restaurant owners to NOT respect and NOT comply with the general smoking ban, as this ban is both unlawful and discriminatory. In the near future, the members of the board of Maatschap Horecaclaim België intend to smoke cigarettes and cigars at a venue in Brasschaat in order to show the government – through the media – that we do not respect the general smoking ban.
The government’s authority can be eroded if it is ignored on a large scale, in which case the smoking ban in bars and restaurants will turn out to be unsuccessful. An important factor will be to what extent the bar and restaurant owners show solidarity, support each other, and have the same agenda. Regardless of the numerous rules politicians have signed into law, the government has no right to determine what happens at your establishment.
If you are fined for allowing patrons to smoke in your establishment, we recommend that you NOT pay this fine – our legal team will be available to assist you.
The section entitled ‘Background on claim’ contains more information on this claim for compensation.
Maatschap Horecaclaim België has the full support of its Dutch counterpart, Stichting Horecaclaim Nederland. The chairman of the latter organisation, Mr Frederick F.C. Matthaei, took the initiative to establish a similar situation in Belgium as previously witnessed in the Netherlands. Stichting Horecaclaim Nederland was founded by Stichting Red de Kleine Horeca Ondernemer, an association dedicated to protecting the rights of small-scale bar and restaurant owners. This association spent many years fighting the smoking ban, by legal and political means, on behalf of small-scale bar and restaurant owners. It is partly due to their efforts that the smoking ban has remained on the political agenda.
The smoking ban for small-scale bars and restaurants was revoked by the Dutch State in November 2010.
The section entitled ‘About Maatschap Horecaclaim België’ provides more information about our partnership.
Who can participate in the group claim?
All bar and restaurant owners who have suffered losses and continue to suffer losses due to the implementation of the smoking ban are eligible to participate in the claim.
The Terms and Conditions of Participation contain further information on the terms of participation in the claim, along with instructions on how to join our initiative.