HOW TO PROCEED?
Your application for compensation should be sent to the Ministry of Justice. It should be made out in French, German or Luxembourgish and specify the date, place and exact nature of the acts of which you were the victim. In support of your application you should attach documentary evidence of the acts done and the injury sustained.
You can obtain fuller information from that Ministry.
The Legal Advice and Information Service and the Victims Assistance Service at the Central Social Assistance Service can also assist and advise you in presenting your application (see addresses at point "WHERE CAN I OBTAIN FURTHER INFORMATION?").
IN WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES IS A VICTIM ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION?
The following conditions must be met.
a) The victim must:
- be lawfully and habitually resident in Luxembourg, or
- be a national of a Member State of the European Union or the Council of Europe, or
- have the nationality of a State which would have compensated a Luxembourg citizen if he had been the victim of the same offence at the same time and in the same circumstances in that State. At the time of the offence the victim must have been legally resident in Luxembourg.
b) The injury must be the result of intentional acts that correspond to the definition of an offence.
c) There must be a personal injury and not just an offence against property (there is no compensation for theft, for instance).
d) The injury must have caused the victim’s death or permanent incapacity (it can be partial) or a total incapacity for work lasting at least one month, or the punishable act was a rape.
e) The personal injury must entail serious disruption of living conditions; this may be the result of loss or reduction of earnings, or additional expenditure, or inability to engage in your occupation, or a physical or mental disorder, the loss of a scholar year, or a mental or esthetic damage.
f) Compensation is payable by the State only if you have been unable to obtain full and adequate compensation from another source (e.g. the offender, the social security
system or personal insurance).
Compensation may be withheld or reduced on the basis of your conduct at the time of the offence or your relationship with the offender.
WHAT IS THE TIME-LIMIT?
To be valid, applications must be made within two years of the offence.
If the offender is prosecuted, the time-limit shall be extended to expire two years after the final judgement of the criminal court or the judgement on the civil liabilities.
If the victim is minor at the moment of the punishable acts, the time limit starts at the majority if the acts are punishable according to articles 372, 373, 375, 382-1 and 382-2, 400, 401bis, 402, 403 or 405 of the criminal code.
WHO WILL LOOK INTO YOUR APPLICATION, AND HOW?
The Minister transmits the application to a committee of three people (a judge, a senior civil servant at the Ministry of Justice and a member of the Order of Advocates).
The committee will summon the applicant to appear and gather all the information it needs on the offence and the injury. The procedure does not take place in public; the applicant can be assisted by an advocate, but this is optional.
The committee sends the Minister of Justice its opinion on the eligibility of the application and the amount of compensation to be awarded.
The Minister then decides whether or not to award compensation and, if so, how much.
HOW MUCH CAN BE AWARDED?
The compensation cannot exceed a maximum amount set each year by regulation (règlement grand-ducal). The maximum in 2009 was €63 000.
HOW IS THE COMPENSATION PAID?
The compensation is paid in the form of a lump sum and not an annual allowance.
But in well-substantiated cases of need, the Minister may order a payment on account to be made to the applicant.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO CHALLENGE THE MINISTER’S DECISION?
If you do not accept the Minister’s decision as regards either the principle or the amount awarded, you can bring a court action against the State, represented by the Minister of Justice. The action may be brought in the district court for either Luxembourg or Diekirch, as the applicant prefers.
CAN I CONTINUE TO SEEK REPARATION FROM THE OFFENDER?
If you have been compensated by the State, the State is subrogated to your rights, which means it can attempt to recover from the offender the amounts that it has paid to you as compensation.
But you can join a civil claim for damages to the criminal prosecution and seek further compensation from the offender if you believe you have not been adequately compensated.
In that case you must inform the court that you have applied for state compensation or received it, as the case may be.
CAN I OBTAIN COMPENSATION IF THE OFFENCE WAS COMMITTED ABROAD?
The Act of 12 March 1984 on compensation for certain victims of personal injury as the result of crime, as amended, applies to anybody who can show that he is lawfully and habitually resident in Luxembourg and has been the victim of an offence abroad but cannot obtain compensation in another State.
Directive 2004/80/EC now requires all Member States of the European Union to provide a scheme for the compensation of victims of a violent intentional crime committed in their territory, ensuring fair and adequate compensation of victims.
If you are habitually resident in Luxembourg and you are the victim of a violent intentional crime committed in another Member State of the European Union, you are entitled to be assisted by the Luxembourg Ministry of Justice in obtaining the information you need on the possibilities of applying for compensation in that other Member State and filing your application with the authority that is competent to deal with it there. The Ministry of Justice will likewise assist you if additional information is required by the decision-making authority in the other Member State.
The Ministry of Justice will help you, if necessary, if you are interviewed by the decision-making authority, using teleconference facilities in appropriate cases. It can also accept instructions from the decision-making authority to take your oral statement and send a formal record of it to the decision-making authority.
WHERE CAN I OBTAIN FURTHER INFORMATION?
Further information is available from:
- Ministry of Justice,
- Victim Support and Social Assistance Service,
24-26, Place de la Gare (Galerie Kons),
(Tel.00352 47 58 21-627 / 628)
Monday to Friday, 08.00 to 12.00 and 14.00 to 18.00
- Reception Service and Legal Information:
- Luxembourg, Cité Judiciaire - Bâtiment CR,
(Tel. 00352 22 18 46)
Monday to Friday, 08.30 to 11.00 and 14.30 to 17.00
- Esch-sur-Alzette, Justice de Paix,
Place Norbert Metz,
(Tel. 00352 530 529 200)
Tuesdays and Thursdasy, 08.30 to 11.00 and 14.30 to 17.00
- Diekirch, Justice de Paix
8-10 Place J. Bech,
(tel. 00352 80 23 15)
Fridays, 15.00 to 17.00