Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution procedure which may avoid having to take a case to court.
Time limits for bringing court actions vary according to the case.
The answer depends on the amount of the claim and its subject-matter.
Broadly speaking, the following applies, although specific exceptions are laid down by law:
The answer depends on which of the above categories your case falls into.
For claims for up to €10 000, you can apply to the court of the justice of the peace that has jurisdiction, either directly by written application (requête) or indirectly by a summons (citation) served by a bailiff. In practical terms you submit your application to the clerk of the court (greffier en chef).
For claims for more than €10 000, you will normally have to instruct a lawyer, who will arrange for a bailiff to serve a summons (assignation) on the opposing party on behalf of his or her client. The lawyer will lodge the papers initiating proceedings with the competent district court or the Supreme Court of Justice.
French, German or Luxembourgish may be used, although specific provisions apply to certain types of case.
Proceedings are initiated by serving a summons (citation or assignation), except in cases in which a simple application (requête) may be made to the court. With a few rare exceptions for certain cases heard by justices of the peace, applications to the courts must be made in writing. Documents sent by fax or email are not admissible.
In some specific cases (e.g. applications for orders for payment of sums due or unpaid invoices) there are forms that can be completed. As a rule, summonses to appear before the justice of the peace, applications and summonses for the district court and appeals brought before the higher courts must include certain information and follow a specific format, failing which they will be declared null and void. There are no ready-made forms for these purposes.
There are also forms for applications based on Community legislation. These include applications for European orders for payment, based on Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006, and applications under the European small claims procedure, based on Regulation (EC) No 861/2007.
As a rule court fees are payable when the action ends. The court may order the losing party to pay the winning party a procedural indemnity (indemnité de procédure) if the court considers that it would be inequitable to leave the winning party to bear all of the fees and expenses they have incurred. The court may also order one or more of the parties to the proceedings to pay a security or advance (e.g. where the court calls for an expert opinion).
The legal fees payable to lawyers by their clients are a matter for agreement between them. In practice, it is customary to pay the lawyer an advance on fees.
See the answer to the previous question.
In written proceedings the time allowed to enter an appearance is generally laid down by law; the court may also set time limits especially for the hearing of either party or a third party in person. The time limits laid down by law vary depending on the court and on whether the defendant lives in Luxembourg or abroad. When the proceedings are oral, the applicant generally has to give the defendant a precise date on which to appear in court.
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