The legal system is similar to the French Napoleonic Code, except for the commercial and penal divisions, which are similar to their Belgian counterparts. Minor cases generally come before one of three justices of the peace. On a higher level are the two district courts, one in the city of Luxembourg and the other in Diekirch. The Superior Court of Justice is composed of the Court of Cassation, a Court of Appeal, and a department of public prosecution. The Court of Cassation comprises a bench of five judges, responsible for hearing cases that seek to overturn or set aside decisions given by the various benches of the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal consists of nine benches of three judges each, hearing civil, commercial, and criminal cases. Judges are appointed for life terms. New administrative courts began operations in 1997, after a 1995 decision by the European Court of Human Rights that Luxembourg's Council of State could no longer serve as both a legislative advisory body and an administrative court. The death penalty was abolished in 1979. The prosecutor as well as the defendant may appeal verdicts in criminal cases. An appeal results in a completely new judicial procedure with the possibility that a sentence may be increased or decreased.
Luxembourg is the site of the European Court of Justice.