Lawyers in Luxembourg

Lawyers in Luxembourg

Legal Professionals

Types of Lawyer

Avocat (advocate)

The full title of an avocat used to be more correctly called an AVOCAT-AVOUE. A further distinction is made between the fully qualified AVOCAT, who is styled AVOCAT INSCRIT (on List I) as compared with the trainee lawyer (AVOCAT-STAGIAIRE ) (found on List II). This categorisation leaves aside the judiciary, although their route to qualification proceeds in the early years by the same method as the lawyers in private practice.

To qualify, the intending AVOCAT will need a:

  • university qualification (see legal education),
  • training period (stage) (see legal training),¬†and
  • success in a professional examination (see below).

List I lists avocats who are enrolled in the Bar as full members. There are two Bars in Luxembourg, the biggest being in Luxembourg city. There are approximately 425 avocats in Luxembourg.

List II list all the avocats-stagiares.

Bailiffs

The law of 4 December 1990 entitled Loi portant organisation du service des huissiers de justice organises de profession of huissier de justice. Information about Bailiffs in the European countries is provided here.

Notaries

Information about Notaries in the European countries is provided here.

Other Issues

Mobility

Application to the Ministry of Justice: On receipt of an inquiry the Ministry of Justice will send a potential applicant:

  • a text of the Law on transfers;
  • a list of examination topics; and
  • the date of the next aptitude examininaton.

On receipt of an application the Minister of Justice must first approve the application through a special ad hoc committee. This ensures that the application falls within the scope of Directive 89/48/EEC.

Preparatory Courses: There are courses run by the Centre universitaire de Luxembourg which can prepare a candidate for the aptitude tests.

The aptitude test is partly written and partly oral.

Written test includes:

  • Civil Law and Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
  • Either Administrative Law or Commercial Law

In relation to the oral exam, to be admitted the oral test, the applicant must have succeeded in two or three written subjects at least.

The Professional Rules of Conduct, covering oral exams, are detailed in the Law of 10/08/91 organising the profession of avocat and the Law organising the judiciary.

In relation to the language of the tests, the written test is taken in the French language. However in relation to the oral test this may, at the request of the applicant be held in “Luxembourgois” or German.

Legal Education

As there is no University awarding law degrees in Luxembourg the system relies on recognition on non-Luxembourg degrees. This process is called “homologation”. Once homologated the gaps of knowledge as regards Luxembourg law must be filled by special supplementary courses on Luxembourg law. See Homologation below and Supplementary courses on Luxembourg law in legal training.

Professional examination

For avocates, there is the written and oral examinations.

In the written examination, the first part of this examen de fin de stage judiciaire consists of a written examination dealing with the following practical topics:

  • The practice of Civil and Commercial Law in Luxembourg
  • Administrative law
  • Social and labour law
  • Luxembourg Private International Law
  • Special criminal law and criminal procedure
  • The Organisation and Jurisdiction of the Civil, Criminal and Administrative Courts
  • Civil and Commercial procedure

The written paper will require a drafting in both French and German of legal opinions, discussion of legal problems and the drafting of legal documents. The written examination is assessed by a jury of examiners.

The oral examination: The second part of the examination involves an oral interrogation on topics raised in the written examination. This takes place in front of the jury of examiners and part of the oral examination will be conducted in the Luxembourg language.

In both examinations, once the candidate has succeeded in the above examination he is entitled to be enrolled (inscrit) on the list of avocats.

Homologation

The Law of 18th June 1969 permits an intending lawyer, whether a Luxembourg citizen or a non-national, to submit, for what is called homologation (i.e. approval), a foreign degree or equivalent educational qualification. Homologation is granted by the Minister for National Education on the advice of ad hoc committees. The Regulation of 18th December 1970 lays down certain criteria for this grant of homologation.

Criteria for homologation: Homologation criteria require that:

  • A final degree or diploma at higher education level may be submitted for homologation only if the applicant holds either a Luxembourg secondary school-leaving certificate or a foreign school-leaving certificate recognised as equivalent under Luxembourg law.
  • The foreign final degree or diploma must either confer a qualification in higher legal education recognised by the country of origin in respect of its own nationals or, allow access in that country to the profession of avocat or to a period of practical training leading to the profession of avocat.
  • Degrees etc. submitted for homologation must be based upon a complete cycle of legal studies of at least four years duration or eight semesters or twelve trimesters.
  • The foreign degree etc. must satisfy certain requirements as to its content: these relate first to the subject matter studied – a number of subjects must have been studied.
  • The law studied must correspond in its fundamental conceptions to the general principles of the Luxembourg legal system (Luxembourg law is based primarily on French law). Both French and Belgian law degrees are recognised as fulfilling this last requirement of a conceptual likeness with Luxembourg law. Other cases are looked at on their merits. It seems that Italian law degrees have found acceptance; an English law degree would certainly not be acceptable.

Legal Training

Here are some information on Training period/Stage for Avocats:

  • Anyone wishing to become an avocat has to proceed from the academic stage to a period of three years supervised practise. During this stage the candidate will undertake some legal aid work, serve for a period in a court, and work for a spell in the office of the Public Prosecutor. They must also work under the supervision of existing members of the Bar.
  • The training of a stagiaire involves close collaboration between the Bar and the judiciary. It takes place under the direction of a Committee set up in each administrative district by the presiding Judge of the local court, the Public Prosecutor and the practising member of the Bar who is acting as principal of the stagiaire.
  • A national monitoring body ensures that training is carried out uniformly throughout the country. Of the three years required for training, one may be spent in the office of a foreign lawyer or with the E.C. Commission, or in studying for a further year at university.
  • During his stage the intending lawyer is under the general supervision of his principal who sees that he learns the art of pleading and a proper range of practice. The avocat-stagiaire may plead before any of the Luxembourg courts, except that he must do so with the assistance of a fully qualified avocat in civil matters before the Tribunal d’arrondissement, before the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation as well as in administrative matters before the Conseil d’Etat.Subject to these limitations, stagiaires may be required to take on, without payment, clients who would not be able to afford to pay for legal assistance, both in civil and criminal matters (commission d’office). Stagiaires are paid a subsistence wage out of State funds and are also paid for any work done on behalf of their principal.

At the conclusion of the stage, an extensive examination is taken. See the Professional Examination.

Supplementary courses on Luxembourg law

The system of homologation leaves the candidate with a considerable gap in his knowledge of Luxembourg law. To fill this gap the candidate must attend what are called topping up courses given once a year at the University Centre in Luxembourg City. Both Luxembourg citizens and non-nationals are eligible to attend these courses.

Each course runs for an intensive three and a half months from mid-October to the end of January. The teaching is provided by practitioners – members of the Bar, Judges, and officials from the European Community Institutions. There are presently some 250 hours of classes.

The topping-up courses require obligatory attendance and satisfactory performance is assured by a system of course work and examination. Once the course has been completed the student becomes an avocat stagiaire. The intending lawyer is now ready to begin on his professional training, having obtained a reasonable knowledge of Luxembourg law.

See the Training Period (stage) above.

Governing Bodies

The Luxembourg Law Association.

Relevant Legislation

Implementation of Directive 89/48/EEC: Texte(s) Legislative(s): Loi du 10 Aout 1991 (memorial n A 58 du 27.08.91)

Author: J Lonbay, 2008, many changes

Lawyers in other European Countries

Resources

Notes

See Also

Further Reading

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