Legal aid - Luxembourg
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What are the costs of a trial and who should normally pay them?
What is legal aid?
Can I benefit from legal aid?
Can legal aid be obtained for all disputes?
Is there a specific procedure for emergencies?
Where can I obtain an application form for legal aid?
Which documents should I attach to my request for legal aid?
Where should I register my request for legal aid?
How will I be informed of whether or not I am eligible for legal aid?
If I qualify for legal aid, what should I do?
If I qualify for legal aid, who will choose my lawyer?
If I qualify for legal aid, will this cover all the costs of my trial?
If I qualify for partial legal aid, who will pay the other costs?
If I qualify for legal aid, will it cover any review I might make following the trial?
If I qualify for legal aid, can it be withdrawn before the end of the trial (or even after the trial)?
If I do not qualify for legal aid, can I appeal against this decision?
1. What are the costs of a trial and who should normally pay them?
The following costs of a trial can be paid through legal aid:
- Stamp and registration duty
- Costs incurred by the clerk's office
- Fees and costs charged by bailiffs
- Experts' costs and fees
- Translators' and interpreters' fees
- Notaries' costs and fees
- Allowances to witnesses
- Travel expenses
- Publication costs
- Lawyers' fees and emoluments.
2. What is legal aid?
A natural person of insufficient means can obtain legal assistance or legal advice from a lawyer for a specific case.
3. Can I benefit from legal aid?
Persons with insufficient means are eligible for legal aid to defend their interests, providing they are:
- Luxembourg nationals, or
- aliens authorised to take up residence in Luxembourg, or
- nationals of a Member State of the European Union, or
- aliens placed on the same footing as Luxembourg nationals for legal aid purposes by virtue of an international agreement.
Legal aid may also be granted to any other alien with insufficient means in proceedings relating to aliens' rights of asylum, entry, residence, establishment and expatriation.
Means testing is based on the total gross income and capital of the applicant and any other members of the household.
A person bringing an action that seems a priori unreasonable or unlikely to succeed, or whose subject-matter seems disproportionate to the costs involved, is not entitled to legal aid.
4. Can legal aid be obtained for all disputes?
Legal aid may be granted to either the plaintiff or the defendant in contentious or non-contentious cases, whether handled in or out of court. The possibility of applying for legal aid exists in all cases brought before the ordinary or administrative courts. Legal aid may also be granted in the case of precautionary measures and procedures to enforce court decisions or any other authority to execute.
However, owners of motor vehicles involved in disputes resulting from the use of such vehicles are not eligible for legal aid. Likewise, it is not available to traders, industrialists, artisans or professional persons involved in disputes relating to their commercial or professional activity, except in duly motivated exceptional cases nor, as a general rule, in disputes arising from speculative activity on the part of the legal aid applicant.
5. Is there a specific procedure for emergencies?
In emergencies, the Chairman of the Bar Council or his deputy, can grant legal aid on a temporary basis without further formalities.
6. Where can I obtain an application form for legal aid?
In Luxembourg, the national application form for legal aid can be obtained from the Central Social Assistance Service (tel. 00 352 475821-1).
7. Which documents should I attach to my request for legal aid?
When applying for legal aid you must always attach:
A copy of your identity card,
A certificate giving the members of your household issued by the municipal authorities in your place of residence
A document showing the personal monthly income for the last three months (salary, unemployment allowance, GMI, pension, investment income) or a certificate testifying the absence of a regular job issued by the Common Social Security Centre.
You should also attach copies of the relevant documents concerning the case for which legal aid is requested.
Where appropriate, you should also attach other certificates or documents in support of your application:
- A property ownership certificate issued by the tax authorities,
- A certificate relating to the incomes of other members of your household,
- A certificate relating to family or education allowances,
- A certificate relating to special allowances for seriously handicapped persons,
- An assistance certificate,
- A certificate relating to income from movable or immovable property,
- A certificate relating to other income,
- A certificate relating to debts,
- A copy of the lease or a copy of the transfer/payment of the last rent,
- A certificate relating to other expenditure.
8. Where should I register my request for legal aid?
The decision whether or not to grant legal aid rests with the Chairman of the Bar in the applicant's district of residence. In the case of non-residents, it is the Chairman of the Luxembourg Bar Council who decides.
9. How will I be informed of whether or not I am eligible for legal aid?
The decision of the Chairman of the Bar Council will be sent to you by post.
10. If I qualify for legal aid, what should I do?
In his decision, the Chairman of the Bar Council will give the name of the lawyer who will provide legal assistance and will ask you to contact that lawyer.
11. If I qualify for legal aid, who will choose my lawyer?
The Chairman of the Bar in the applicant's district of residence appoints the lawyer freely chosen by the applicant. Where no lawyer has been chosen by the applicant or if the chairman considers the choice inappropriate, counsel is designated by the latter. Except for reasons of impediment or conflicting interests, counsel may not refuse the appointment.
12. If I qualify for legal aid, will this cover all the costs of my trial?
As a rule, legal assistance covers all costs relating to courts, procedures or acts in respect of which it was granted (see 1 above
13. If I qualify for partial legal aid, who will pay the other costs?
Legal assistance granted in Luxembourg always covers all costs.
14. If I qualify for legal aid, will it cover any review I might make following the trial?
No, you will have to submit another application for legal assistance for that purpose.
15. If I qualify for legal aid, can it be withdrawn before the end of the trial (or even after the trial)?
The chairman may withdraw an applicant's legal aid entitlement, even after the proceedings or measures for which it was granted, if the entitlement is found to have been based on false declarations or documents. Entitlement may also be withdrawn if, during the proceedings or while the measures are being carried out or as a result of such measures, applicants in receipt of legal aid acquire means which, had they been available when the request was submitted, would have resulted in its rejection. Legal aid beneficiaries have an obligation to notify the chairman of any such changes in their situation.
The chairman's decision to withdraw entitlement is immediately communicated to the registration and state property authority, which is responsible for recovering the sums already paid out in legal aid.
16. If I do not qualify for legal aid, can I appeal against this decision?
Applicants may appeal against the chairman's decision to reject or withdraw legal aid to the Disciplinary and Administrative Council, whose decision is final. Appeals must be lodged with the Chairman of the Disciplinary and Administrative Council by registered mail within ten days of receiving notice of rejection or withdrawal. The Council may invite applicants to attend a hearing to explain the reasons for their appeal.
Any interested party can, irrespective of his or her financial resources, contact the Reception and Legal Information Services at:
- Luxembourg-Ville ( tel. +352.221846) ,
- Diekirch (tel. +352.802315) and
- Esch-Alzette (tel. +352.541552).
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