Civil Law in Luxembourg
Civil Law in LuxembourgUpdated on Friday 28th June 2019
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In Luxembourg, the legal system is based on the civil law. The French Civil Code, in turn based on the Napoleonic codes, represents the basis for today’s legislation in Luxembourg. Other international treaties are part of the Luxembourg laws and the European Union law also has its share of influence.
The Luxembourg Civil Law was first enabled in 1803 and ever since it has undergone various modifications which provided for the modernization of the current Civil Code.
Below, our lawyers in Luxembourg explain the main provisions of the Civil Law. If you need assistance in any matters related to the Civil Law, we invite you to get in touch with us.
The content of the Luxembourg Civil Code
The Civil Law of Luxembourg is made of several important chapters. The first one refers to the Book of Persons, which is the most important aspect of the Civil Code. The law also provides for the right of acquiring a property in Luxembourg.
The Civil Code is also the main source of law for contracts signed in Luxembourg and for how civil disputes can be resolved here.
Foreign citizens can also obtain various rights according to the Luxembourg Civil Law. Our law firm in Luxembourg can offer various services to foreign citizens and investors interested in moving to the Grand Duchy.
The New Code of Civil Procedure
The New Code of Civil Procedure was amended by a law in 1998. Until then, Luxembourg was still using the original Code of Civil Procedure decreed in 1806 by Napoleon. The New Code of Civil Procedure describes and specifies the principles that govern the Luxembourg courts. Also, it describes numerous ordinary or special procedures on subjects such as parental authority or adoption and other family law issues.
The New Code of Civil Procedure also details the guidelines for procedures such as the right to bring an action, the grounds of defence, submission of evidence, execution of judgments and others.
Influence from other sources of law
The Brussels I Regulation and the case law of the European Court of Justice influence the application and interpretation of national jurisdictional principles in Luxembourg. The Luxembourg courts act in compliance with them and align with their guidelines.
Other law sources, such as the human rights principles and public and private international principles, are important in the application of the national jurisdictional rules in Luxembourg.
Specific rules under Luxembourg's Civil Code
The most specific jurisdictional rules in Luxembourg apply to Luxembourg nationals and they apply in their favor. Article 14 of the Civil Code offers privileges to Luxembourg nationals to the disadvantage of foreigners.
According to this article, any Luxembourg national can sue a foreigner before a Luxembourg court (even if the person in cause does not reside in Luxembourg) for execution of a contractual obligation, either in Luxembourg or abroad.
Another specific rule is the one stipulated in 4th Article of the law dated August 25/1883 regarding consumer’s protection. According to this law, if the final consumer resides in Luxembourg, then the Luxembourg courts are deemed competent in the matter even if the contract stipulates that another jurisdiction is competent. This applies in the context of sale of goods or services provision.
The District Court in Luxembourg deals with ordinary civil and commercial matters. It has jurisdiction in all civil and commercial matters, unless the law does not specify that the jurisdiction belongs to another court.
There are no specific courts for commercial matters; however, these are administered by a simplified procedure.
The Civil Code with respect to individuals living in Luxembourg
Under the Civil Law, the citizens of Luxembourg have several rights. Among these:
- they have the right to get married to other nationals, but also to persons from other countries;
- they have the right to get divorced in case the marriage no longer works, a case in which our divorce lawyers can help;
- Luxembourg citizens also have the right to adopt children who they must provide for until the children reach the age of 18;
- all the information about a Luxembourg citizen must be comprised in his/her vital records;
- foreign citizens also have the right to acquire Luxembourg citizenship through various means.
Other aspects of the Civil Law in Luxembourg cover the fact that all persons living in the Grand Duchy have the right to fair and equal treatment. The law also ensures the same fairness and equality to foreign citizens coming and living in Luxembourg for short or long periods of time.
If you are interested in obtaining various services in relation to the Civil Law, such as marriage registration, separation or divorce, you can rely on our attorneys in Luxembourg.
Acquiring a property in Luxembourg under the Civil Law
Two of the most important chapters of the Civil Law in Luxembourg refer to the fact that a local or foreign citizen has the right to acquire a property, the ways in which a property can be purchased and the alterations which can be brought after the purchase.
If you are a foreign citizen who wants to buy a property in Luxembourg, you should know that:
- - you will need to enter a sale-purchase agreement with the person or company selling the property;
- - you have the right to buy a newly built, a renovated or unrenovated apartment, house or even a commercial building;
- - once the purchase is completed, it is your obligation to register the property with the Land Register in Luxembourg;
- - the purchase of real estate also triggers the payment of various taxes in Luxembourg.
Our Luxembourg lawyers can explain all the rights and obligations deriving from the purchase of a property here. We can also help with real estate due diligence services and assistance in drafting and notarizing the sale-purchase agreement.
Contracts under the Civil Law in Luxembourg
Often referred to as the Contract Law, the set of regulations which provide for entering various types of agreements is part of the Luxembourg Civil Code.
Under its provisions, a contract is an oral or written agreement between one or more parties under which every party has an obligation. It is good to know that oral contracts are no longer popular in Luxembourg, most of the documents having a written form.
A contract between parties must contain minimum information about the parties, the object of the contract, an offer and the acceptance of the offer. If the offer is not accepted, the contract is void. This is why, a contract must be signed by both parties entering the agreement.
Should you need any legal advice in preparing a contract or you are involved in a contract dispute, our Luxembourg law firm can help you.
Why should you choose Luxembourg?
If you feel that Luxembourg is the perfect country to move to or start a business in, you should know that:
- - according to the European Commission, the Luxembourg economy is expected to register a 2.5% growth in 2019;
- - the forecast for 2020 also looks good, as a 2.6% Gross Domestic Product is projected;
- - Luxembourg is one of the most powerful financial centers in the world, the financial industry representing 35% of the country’s economy;
- - Luxembourg is the second largest investment funds domicile with a value of 4 trillion USD in assets.
For information regarding specific legal matters in Luxembourg, please contact our law firm in Luxembourg.