THE LUXEMBOURG LANGUAGE AT THE BAR
We know that there are almost 3,000 lawyers registered with the Bar, including a tiny minority of fellow Luxembourgers.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to practice without a good knowledge of the language of the country, or even for the most part without any knowledge?
Admittedly, that does not play a role for the studies where the financial lawyers practice, but it is not only them.
There are the real lawyers who are called upon to defend them.
These people cannot afford the luxury of despising the language of the country where they practice.
How can those who do not speak Luxembourgish be able to provide a criminal defense if, by hypothesis, the witnesses, all Luxembourgish, refuse to speak a language they do not speak?
Stutter in French instead of speaking in their own language? They have the absolute right to reject the painful injunction of speaking French.
The ignorant foreign lawyer is then obliged to call upon an interpreter to understand.
Where are we ?
It is nothing less than betrayal to the client.
Ditto for complicated civil cases and all other cases where an in-depth dialogue with the client is required to prepare the case.
Again, the client has the right to express themselves in a language they understand and master, instead of expressing themselves poorly in a language that is not their own and thus generating misunderstandings.
When will there be a charitable soul to end this calamity?
On October 29, 2019
The CSV has raised a parliamentary question in the same context!
Hereby, we have the honor to inform you that, in accordance with article 83 of the Standing Orders of the Chamber of Deputies, we would like to put a parliamentary question to the Minister of Justice.
The President of the Luxembourg Bar Association recently clarified in an interview with RTL radio that around 3,000 lawyers are currently registered with the Luxembourg Bar and that the number is increasing by 300 lawyers each year. Among these new lawyers, the majority are of foreign nationality without a good knowledge of the Luxembourgish language or even without any knowledge.
Knowledge and mastery of the Luxembourgish language is essential, however, particularly in criminal matters where the lawyer must imperatively understand Luxembourgish if a witness speaks this language at the hearing. Ditto for complicated civil cases where an in-depth dialogue with the client is required to prepare the case respectively for all other cases which require oral procedures. However, a lawyer who does not master the Luxembourgish language can accept a file even if the client cannot speak clearly in another language which is his. However, the client has the right to express themselves in a language they understand and master, instead of expressing themselves poorly in a language other than their own. The question that arises is whether lawyers who plead in criminal and civil cases should not have a knowledge of the Luxembourgish language.
It is in this context that we would like to ask the following questions to the Minister of Justice.
- What is the position of the Minister in relation to the above-mentioned problem?
- Does the Minister share the position that a lawyer who pleads in criminal and civil matters should imperatively have a knowledge of the Luxembourgish language?
- Does the Minister plan to review the linguistic criteria for lawyers handling criminal and civil law cases?
Mr. Fernand Etgen
President of the Chamber of Deputies
Luxembourg, October 29, 2019
• What legislative and other measures does the Minister plan to take to react to the problem in question?
Please accept, Mr. President, the expression of our best regards.