Challenging a civil judgment

In this instance, a civil judgment must be taken to mean a judgment handed down by a civil court, in the broadest sense, as opposed to judgments handed down by an administrative court, and with the exception of criminal courts.

In particular, this label applies to judgments handed down on issues relating to civil or commercial matters, rental agreements and labour law.

The main procedures are appeal and objection.

Who is concerned

Options for challenging a civil judgment are dependent on the nature of the case being brought.

How to proceed

Ordinary means of recourse

Appeal

An appeal involves bringing a case before a higher court where other judges who must judge the case anew. The rule is that appeals may be made when the value of the dispute is in excess of EUR 2,000.

Main exceptions to this rule:

  • appeals can be filed in relation to rental agreements, provided that the value of the dispute is in excess of EUR 1,250;
  • appeals can always be filed for maintenance applications, whatever the value at stake.

Objection

Objections may only be filed against a default judgment. A default judgment is passed if the defendant failed to appear at the hearing and if the notification of the proceedings was not served on the defendant in person.

Unlike an appeal, an objection refers the case back to the same court (as the one that has already ruled), asking for a new decision.

Deadlines

In principle, there is a 40-day deadline for lodging an appeal.

For persons domiciled abroad, however, the appeal deadline is extended to a fixed period set according to the distance between Luxembourg and the country in which the person is domiciled.

For example: for those living in neighbouring countries (Germany, Belgium or France), the deadline is extended by 15 days, giving a total of 55 days in which to lodge an appeal.

The deadline for filing an objection is 15 days. On an exceptional basis, the deadline is reduced to 8 days for urgent cases and on matters of bankruptcy.

The deadline for filing an objection is never extended for distance: it does not vary according to the domicile of the person filing the objection.

Starting point for deadlines

In the context of an appeal, the time starts from the date on which the person wishing to file the appeal is served with the initial judgment.

The judgment is served by a bailiff.

In some cases (e.g. for rental agreements or labour law), the judgment is served by registered letter sent to the parties by the court clerk.

With regard to an objection, the rule is the same as for an appeal deadline.

Depending on the case, the deadline for filing an objection begins as soon as the judgment is served by a bailiff or notification of the judgment is received by registered letter from the court clerk.

Forms of appeal

An appeal is lodged by serving a notice of appeal on the opposing party. This notice can only be served by a bailiff.

Given that the purpose of the objection is to seek a ruling from the same court that has already handed down the judgment, it must be filed in accordance with the procedure required in order to institute proceedings before that court. This means that the objection procedure varies depending on the matter at issue.

Examples:

  • before a Labour tribunal, an objection can be filed simply by making an application to the court clerk;
  • before a District court, ruling on civil or commercial matters, objections must be filed by a bailiff's deed.
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