Meet the judges: Vrederechters' success season takes off on VTM

October 26, 2023
Meet the judges: Vrederechters' success season takes off on VTM

In this second season of Vrederechters, we meet ten new Flemish justices of the peace, from the court closest to normal life. These judges take us front- and backstage in their day to day working lives. From overhanging branches to noise nuisance or rent arrears: people argue over a thousand and one things. The justice of the peace always knows what to do and tries to keep calm amidst all the commotion. In a new success season of 'Justices of the Peace', new faces and old acquaintances give a look behind the scenes of the court closest to the people. The viewer not only sits front row during public sessions, but is also taken in tow by the characterful justices. Because one look at the situation on the ground often says more than a thousand words...

Curious to meet our new judges? Without further ado...

Katrien Demeestere, Tielt

At 42, Katrien Demeestere from the Tielt canton is the youngest justice of the peace in West Flanders. The rural character of the canton determines the cases she handles. Good preparation is key for her, because it means she can ask the right questions and thus arrive at the best solutions for everbody.

Beatrijs Mevesen, Pelt

From the Pelt canton, justice of the peace Beatrijs Mevesen has been pronouncing sentences for 22 years. Her courtroom stands out because of the mural of 'Lady Justice'. She therefore values neutrality and justice, with an eye for the person who needs assistance. And what's more, she is certainly not too shy to put on her rain boots and take to the field herself.

Goedele Vandenbulcke, Kortrijk

In the canton of Kortrijk, Goedele Vandenbulcke has been known as the cycling justice of the peace for ten years. She makes her town visits by bicycle. Citizens who end up in front of her can count on an empathetic and human judge who pays attention to their story.

Danny De Schepper, Hamme

Danny De Schepper from canton Hamme is a true mediator. As a man of the people, he handles matters with a smile and a touch of humour, convinced that putting things into perspective can avoid and resolve many conflicts. Successful reconciliations give him great satisfaction.

Rita Struyf, Tongeren

Becoming a justice of the peace was always the ultimate goal for Rita Struyf. After 15 years as a lawyer and a brief passage as a judge at the Tongeren Court of First Instance, she has been a justice of the peace in Tongeren for 22 years. She is strict but fair and takes an empathic as well as a firm stance. As a justice of the peace, she likes to make a difference.

Valéry Schalenbourg, Willebroek

After a career as a lawyer, Valéry Schalenbourg has now been a justice of the peace in Willebroek for five years. He strives to explain complex legal issues in understandable language and to clearly substantiate decisions taken in judgments. Making the necessary time and space available to reconcile parties are his most important goals in any hearing.

Johan Van de Velde, Eeklo

In the vast and largely rural canton of Eeklo, Johan Van de Velde has been justice of the peace for 14 years. He takes his time to listen to all arguments and check all documents thoroughly. His social nature and sense of humour make him very approachable, but he is strict when he notices that people are not telling the truth.

Caroline Delesie, Menen

The Walloon and French borders to the canton of Menen colour the cases that justice of the peace Caroline Delesie handles. She always shows understanding for people in stressful situations, especially if they show up in person. To rectify a mistake or give a word of explanation, attendance is a legitimate pet peeve for this justice of the peace.

Dominique De Bruyne, Lokeren

For more than 15 years, Dominique De Bruyne has been a justice of the peace in the canton of Lokeren. She is known for her thorough preparation, inspired debates and decisive approach. Themes such as multiculturalism and border issues regularly colour her hearings. As a proximity judge, she strives to resolve conflicts and reconcile parties.

Chantal Merlin, Antwerpen

Chantal Merlin swapped her attorney's gown eight years ago for that of justice of the peace in the both popular and urban canton of Antwerp III and, in her own characteristic way, never buttons it down closed. She occasionally dares to tackle lawyers who do not do their homework without any gloves.

Vrederechters 2, every Thursday on VTM (GO)
Watch the trailer here: