Citizens may challenge any legal act issued by a government administration department: building permits, tax amounts, withdrawal of a driving licence, refusal to grant a residence permit, etc. Accordingly, the Luxembourg administrative courts can rule on disputes between private individuals and the public authorities (i.e., the State, communes and public-sector establishments and enterprises).
The administrative courts are composed of the Administrative Court and the Administrative Tribunal. The members of the administrative courts are exclusively independent, professional and irremovable judges.
Who is concerned?
In principle, any natural or legal person directly affected by an administrative decision may appeal.
Representation by a barrister (avocat à la Cour) is mandatory before the Administrative Tribunal. However, there are legal exceptions to this, for example in cases concerning taxation (direct taxes) or municipal fines.
Representation by a barrister is always mandatory before the Administrative Court.
The Administrative Tribunal has authority in the first instance to hear and rule on:
- appeals against individual administrative decisions issued by government authorities, communes or certain other public legal entities;
- direct appeals against administrative acts of a regulatory nature.
The president of the Administrative Tribunal has the authority to hear and rule on petitions aimed at implementing provisional measures in appeals brought before the Administrative Tribunal ('administrative summary proceedings').
The Administrative Court has authority at the appellate level (second instance) to hear and decide on appeals brought against the judgments of the Administrative Tribunal, barring certain exceptions in international protection matters. Nevertheless, the orders of the president of the Administrative Tribunal in administrative summary proceedings are not subject to appeal.
The Administrative Court is not a court of cassation, but has the authority to hear cases again.
Prerequisites for appeal before the Administrative Tribunal
The addressee of the legal act who is lodging the complaint and any third party who has an interest in bringing proceedings – in other words, anyone who is personally affected by an administrative act – may bring the matter before the Tribunal (class or public‑interest actions are not permitted).
Prerequisites for a summary proceeding
The president of the Administrative Tribunal may suspend enforcement of an administrative decision (petition for suspension) if 2 conditions are met:
- there is a risk of serious and irreparable harm;
- a serious doubt exists as to the legality of the legal act at issue.
Submission of the application before the Administrative Court
In principle, and barring certain legal exceptions, the time limit for challenging an administrative decision is 3 months from when the person concerned was notified of the decision and advised on the legal remedies available.
The time limit is calculated:
- either from the notification of the contested act (when received by post or in person);
- or from its publication (in the Official Journal) or public display (for example, on a noticeboard in the town hall), in the case of a regulatory act or an individual act where the beneficiary is a third party.
Appeal before the Administrative Court
As a rule, and without prejudice to special provisions, an appeal may be lodged within a period of 40 days.
Barring certain legal exceptions, the respondent has one month from the service of the appeal in which to file their response; the appellant and the respondent then have one month in which to file their reply and rejoinder respectively. The Administrative Court generally gives its decision within 5 months of the judgment at first instance.
In principle, access to justice is free of charge.
However, submitting an application before the administrative courts may incur certain fees:
- expenses: these are costs generated by any activities necessary for the investigation (such as experts' fees);
- legal fees.
The unsuccessful party is ordered to pay court costs, which only represent a small proportion of the total costs, given that each party must cover their own legal fees regardless of the outcome of the case. In certain cases and on request, the administrative judge may award a procedural cost indemnity.
A party who is in need may apply for legal aid, which allows to cover some or all of the legal fees by the State. The President of the Bar Association in the applicant's place of residence, or their deputy, will decide whether or not legal aid should be granted. If there is no place of residence, the decision will be taken by the President of the Luxembourg Bar Association (Conseil de l'Ordre de Luxembourg) or their deputy.
How to proceed
Submission of the request
Before the Administrative Tribunal
The request may be submitted directly to the court clerk at the Administrative Tribunal, or sent by post, preferably with return receipt so that it can be tracked.
The litigation procedure is written. The applicant must be represented by a lawyer, except in taxation cases at first instance. The applicant must set out the facts of the case, together with their claims, on plain paper. This must be:
- accompanied by any supporting documents the applicant deems relevant to the case – and in any event the contested decision, where this exists in writing; and
- filed with the court clerk at the Tribunal.
If the defendant is not the State, the statement of claim must be served on the defendant by a bailiff.
Filing statements of case
As a rule, in an appeal before the Administrative Court (except for summary proceedings), the time limits for filing the various statements of case are set by law. The defendant has 3 months from the service of the statement of claim to file their response. The applicant then has one month in which to file a reply, after which the defendant has one month in which to file a rejoinder. In principle, the filing of additional statements of case is not permitted.
Hearing and judgment of the Administrative Tribunal
The Tribunal then sets a hearing for oral arguments, usually within a month of the filing of the rejoinder. The judgment is handed down within at least one month of the oral procedure. Where the Tribunal orders investigatory measures (site visits, collection of evidence, expert reports, etc.), the time limits are extended accordingly and the parties are granted, after the execution of the investigatory measures, the right to file additional statements of case.
Application for a summary proceeding before the president of the Administrative Tribunal
The application for an interim measure must be submitted in the form of a written request filed with the court clerk at the Administrative Tribunal.
Since 24 April 2023, a secure electronic exchange platform (via MyGuichet.lu using a LuxTrust product) has been trialled with the administrative courts (see 'Forms / Online services' below).
Still in its pilot phase, this service is currently reserved for the summary proceeding (articles 11 and 12 of the amended law of 21 June 1999 laying down rules of procedure before the administrative courts) relating to government administrative decisions. It is only available to barristers (avocat à la Cour).
A circular (French, Pdf, 662 Kb) on the subject was issued by the president of the Administrative Tribunal on 17 April 2023.
Lawyers may choose to file their application for a summary proceeding and related documents electronically via MyGuichet.lu, in parallel with the physical submission of documents, which currently remains the only admissible form of submission.
The use of MyGuichet.lu requires prior certification by the competent Bar Association of the business eSpaces necessary to log on to this platform.
Submission of the application via an online assistant on MyGuichet.lu
The application is submitted from a certified MyGuichet.lu business eSpace, which requires a LuxTrust product (e.g. a Token, SmartCard or Signing Stick) or an electronic identity card (eID). The procedure is also available in the mobile app.
How to create a business eSpace on MyGuichet.lu
There are 2 possible scenarios:
- The person submitting the application is a new user of MyGuichet.lu. They must:
- first register on MyGuichet.lu; and
- then create a business eSpace.
- The person submitting the application already has a private eSpace on MyGuichet.lu. They can directly create a business eSpace without having to register again.
Further information as well as tutorials in relation with the business eSpace are available in our dedicated help page.
In principle, the rest of the procedure is oral, since the hearing for oral arguments is promptly set and the defendant must state their views on the application orally. However, the president, or the judge acting in the latter's place, will make a reasoned order in writing.
Appeal before the Administrative Court
An application for leave to appeal must always be signed by a barrister.
Stay of execution – safeguard measure
The judgment handed down by the Administrative Tribunal has no suspensory effect, unless the Tribunal decides otherwise.
Since a judicial appeal has no suspensory effect, barring certain exceptions, the applicant may apply to the president of the Administrative Tribunal for:
- a stay of execution of the contested decision; or
- a safeguard measure.
The president does not rule on the main proceedings (for example, they cannot annul a decision), but can grant swift provisional measures to protect the rights and freedoms of the persons concerned. The president rules by way of court order.
Appeals against the decisions of the administrative courts
Orders issued by the president of the Tribunal are not subject to appeal; however, they are not effective until the judgment on the substance has been given.
As with criminal and civil matters, appeals on points of law are not admissible against Administrative Court decisions.
Online services and forms
Who to contact
Administrative Court1, rue du Fort Thüngen L-1499 Luxembourg LuxembourgPhone: (+352) 42 10 51
Administrative Tribunal1, Rue du Fort Thüngen L-1499 Luxembourg LuxembourgPhone: (+352) 42 10 51
Related procedures and links
portant règlement de procédure devant les juridictions administratives
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