Hester Swift, June 2013
About the author
This guide was updated by Hester Swift, Foreign & International Law Librarian at the IALS Library.
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The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy and unitary state, established in 1868. The official languages are French and German. Luxembourg is a founder member of the European Union and a party to the Benelux Economic Union. It also maintains extremely close economic ties with Belgium.
Luxembourg is a small country and the range of legal literature available is limited. Reliance is made on the legal writings of other countries, particularly on works of Belgian law.
The supreme source of law is the Constitution of October 17th 1868, as amended. A recent consolidated version is available on the official Légilux website, in French. HeinOnline's World Constitutions Illustrated provides English translations of the 1868 Constitution in its current and previous versions, as well as the previous constitutions (1841, 1848 and 1856). WorldLII has an English version last updated in 1998.
IALS Library has printed versions amended to various dates, including the following:
Constitutions of Europe: texts collected by the Council of Europe Venice Commission. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff . Includes an English translation of the Luxembourg Constitution, updated to 2000.
Schmit, Paul, Précis de droit constitutionnel: commentaire de la constitution luxembourgeoise. Luxembourg: Editions Saint Paul, 2009. Includes the text of the Constitution as at 31 March 2009, in French.
The main codes are the Code Civil, (Civil Code); Code de Commerce, (Commercial Code); Code Pénal, (Penal Code); Code d'Instruction Criminelle,(Criminal Procedure Code) and Code de Procédure Civile, (Civil Procedure Code). They are all available, with other codes, on the Légilux website.
Civil law in Luxembourg is based on the Code Napoléon, although it has been modified. Civil procedure is based on the French code of 1806, but has been substantially altered by the influences of modern French and Belgian legislation. Luxembourg brought in the French Commercial Code in 1807, but much of it has been replaced by domestic legislation.
Luxembourg's penal code derives from the Belgian law of 1867. The Code of Criminal Procedure was originally based on the Napoleonic code, but no longer bears a resemblance to it.
The latest codes held at IALS are:-
Code civil en vigueur dans le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (Ministère de Justice, 2007).
Nouveau Code de procédure civile; Code de commerce. (Ministère de Justice, c.2005).
Code pénal et Code d'instruction criminelle en vigueur dans le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (Ministère de Justice, 2008).
Code administratif. 8 volumes. (Service Central de Législation, 2007)
An important title which is not held at IALS is the collection of legislation excluding the major codes: Recueil des lois spéciales en matière civile, commerciale et pénale, Ministère de la Justice, 1972- (looseleaf).
Legislation for Luxembourg is first published in the official gazette, Mémorial: journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg / Amsblatt des Grossherzogtums Luxemburg (Service Central de Législation,1832 - ). The Mémorial has three parts: A, B and C. Series A contains laws and regulations, B contains administrative documents and C contains documents relating to companies. IALS does not hold the Mémorial, but it is on the official Légilux website, with an extensive archive (Series A goes back to 1935, B and C to 1996).
Laws and regulations can also be found in Pasinomie luxembourgeoise: recueil des lois, décrets, arrêtés... This started in the nineteenth century and IALS has it from vol. 26 (1950-51) to vol. 65 (1993).
The major series of law reports is Pasicrisie luxembourgeoise (Buck, 1881 - ). It contains selected court decisions and doctrinal articles. IALS has the entire series.
There are very few legal periodicals for Luxembourg. IALS Library has one: Annales du Droit Luxembourgeois, vol.1, 1991 - (Bruylant, 1992 - ).
Useful starting points include:
Henckes, Nicolas, Luxembourg – Description of the Legal System and Legal Research (July 2013), on New York University's Globalex website.
Grossman, A., Finding the law: the micro-states and small jurisdictions of Europe (February 2005), also on Globalex.
The Luxembourg section of the World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) website: gives links to key websites for Luxembourg.
Verbeke, C.F., 'Luxembourg', in Winterton, J., et al, Information sources in law (2nd ed.). Bowker Saur, 1997.