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 Communities 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 17 1868, as amended. IALS Library has the following versions:-
Blaustein, A.P and Flanz, G.H. Constitutions of the countries of the world . Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Oceana Publications. (English version updated to 2000)
Constitutions of Europe: texts collected by the Council of Europe Venice Commission. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff
(English version, updated to 2000).
La constitution du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Luxembourg, Ministère d'Etat, Service central de législation. (French version updated to 1972)
Constitution du 17 octobre 1868 révisée. Ministère d'État, Service central de législation (in English, French and German, updated to 1968)
The Constitution is also on the internet. The most up-to-date version is on the Luxembourg government's Légilux website (in French, updated to 2009). For an English version on the web (dated 1998), see the International Constitutional Law site.
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 Luxembourg brought in the French Commercial Code in 1807, but much of it has been replaced by domestic legislation.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. Text as amended to 1 January 2007.
Code de procédure civile et Code de commerce en vigueur dans le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, Ministère de Justice. Text as amended to 1 January 2005.
Code pénal et Code d'instruction criminelle en vigueur dans le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, Ministère de Justice. Text as amended to 1 January 2008.
Code administratif, Vols.1-3, Service Central de Législation, Ministère d'Etat, 1967-. Looseleaf, IALS copy last updated 1989.
An important title which is not held at IALS is the collection 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, by the Service Central de Législation (1832 - ). The Mémorial is published in 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 this series, but it is on the official Légilux website:
Laws and regulations from Mémorial A can also be found in Pasinomie luxembourgeoise: recueil des lois, décrets, arrêtés... It started in the nineteenth centry and ; IALS has it from vol. 26 (950-51) to vol. 65 (1993).
The major published series of law reports is Pasicrisie luxembourgeoise: recueil de la jurisprudence luxembourgeoise... Vol.1, 1872/1880-. Published by Buck, this contains selected court decisions and doctrinal articles. IALS has this series from volume 1 onwards.
There are few treatises available on Luxembourg law, but IALS does have some in its collection - see the Library catalogue. Researchers need to refer to the legal writing of Belgium as well.
The Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest has a chapter summarising the law of Luxembourg. IALS has the 2005 and previous editions.
There is 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 on the Globalex website (December 2009).
Grossman, A. Finding the law: the micro-states and small jurisdictions of Europe on the Globalex website (February 2005).
The Luxembourg section of the World Legal Information Institute 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.