Filing a complaint - Procedure

Reporting an offence

If you have suffered any damage or harm resulting from an offence, you have the right to file a complaint at a police station (in some situations, you can also file a complaint online).

The statement can be made in a language that you understand. The police officer can also use an interpreter.

The police officer produces a report that sets out the circumstances and events of the offence. It is important to provide as much information as possible at this stage, to help the Police identify the perpetrator(s). At the end of the interview, you must sign the report, which will be sent to the Prosecutor's Office. The Prosecutor's Office examines the merits of the complaint and decides what action will be taken.

You also have the option of filing your complaint directly with the Prosecutor's Office.

As a victim, you have the right to be assisted or represented by a lawyer.

If you're hesitating about filing a complaint

Do you think the Police won't believe you?

Are you perhaps afraid of reprisals, or do you think that filing a complaint won't make any difference?

If you have been the victim of an offence, it is true that the damage or harm you have suffered cannot be undone by filing a complaint. Without your statement, however, the perpetrator cannot be identified and may commit further offences causing damage or harm to you or others. This is why it is so important to file a complaint.

Even if the damage suffered seems minimal, or you think your complaint won't make a difference, it is important to report the offence to the Police.

If you are reluctant to come to the police station alone, you can of course ask a person of your choosing to come with you.

If you have been the victim of a scam, do not be embarrassed - you are not the only one to have fallen into the trap. By filing a complaint, however, you can help identify the scammer.

Inform the Police about an offence and help prevent more incidents!

The criminal procedure

The criminal procedure in Luxembourg consists of two stages: the investigation and the trial. The Police and/or an investigating judge are responsible for the preliminary investigation (known as the enquête préliminaire or instruction). Once the investigation has been completed, the case will be brought before the Pre-Trial Chamber, where a decision is made regarding whether the case will be judged by a court or dismissed.

If the case is judged by a court, a hearing will take place to examine the evidence gathered and decide whether or not the accused is guilty. If the accused is found guilty, the court will sentence them. If the evidence gathered is insufficient to find them guilty, the court will acquit them. 

Rights of victims

As a victim of crime, the law gives you certain individual rights before, during and after the criminal proceedings (trial).

You will be informed of these rights by the Police or the Prosecutor's Office.

You will have the following rights, among others, from the moment you file the complaint and throughout the criminal proceedings:

  • To use a language that you understand, or to use an interpreter if you are making a complaint to the Police;
  • To receive a copy of your complaint, and any other supporting documents you have submitted to support it, free of charge;
  • To obtain acknowledgement that your complaint has been received and to be automatically informed if the case is closed and the grounds for doing so;
  • To be informed of the outcome of proceedings if a judicial investigation is undertaken on the basis of the facts;
  • To be automatically informed by the Prosecutor's Office of the hearing date for your case;
  • To receive information on any final decisions taken with regard to action by the authorities.

The Police and the courts are required to offer you protection in the event you suffer threats or acts of retaliation from the perpetrator, among others. This protection must be available from the start of the investigation until its conclusion.

Victims who are minors receive particular protection. If you are a minor, you have certain additional rights.

If you do not have sufficient resources to access the justice system, you are entitled to full, free legal aid to defend your interests.

Every victim has the right to bring civil proceedings. 

Compensation for victims

If you have been the victim of an offence in which you sustained any loss or damage, there are certain circumstances under which you may request compensation from the Ministry of Justice (Ministère de la Justice).

Of course, you may also bring civil proceedings and claim equitable compensation from the perpetrator, in the event they are found guilty. But this can often be complicated, particularly when the perpetrator cannot be identified, has been identified but cannot be located, or when they are insolvent.

This situation is remedied by the amended Law of 12 March 1984 relating to compensation for certain categories of victim of bodily injury resulting from an offence, as it entitles such categories of victim to claim compensation from the State budget. This is a significant step forward for victims.

Find more information on compensation for victims on the website of the Ministry of Justice.

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