The Council of State is composed of 21 councilors, of whom at least 11 must hold a law degree. This number does not include members of the ruling Family who may be part of the Council of State.
To be appointed a member of the Council of State, one must be of Luxembourg nationality, be 30 years of age, enjoy civil and political rights and be resident in the Grand Duchy. The position of member of the Council of State is compatible with any other function and profession, except with the functions of member of the Government, magistrate of the Administrative Court or of the Administrative Court, agent of the secretariat of the Council of State, as well as with the mandates of members of the Chamber of Deputies and the European Parliament, a professional chamber or the Economic and Social Council. The acceptance of one of the functions or of the mandates enumerated above entails as of right the cessation of the functions of member of the Council of State.
The members of the Council of State are appointed by the Grand Duke, alternately and in the following order:
a) at the proposal of a candidate by the Government;
b) at the proposal of a candidate by the Chamber of Deputies;
c) on proposal of a candidate by the Council of State.
The Grand Duke, however, is appointed by direct appointment of the Grand Duke. In the cases referred to in points (a) and (b), the Council of State shall submit to the authority with the power of proposal two candidate profiles for each vacancy of seats to be held, intended to guide it when it chooses.
When appointing the candidate, the appointing authority shall:
(a) ensure that the composition of the Council of State takes into account the political parties represented in the Chamber of Deputies, provided that they have obtained at least three seats in each of the last two parliamentary elections;
(b) to ensure a balanced representation of women and men in the composition of the Council of State. The number of the under-represented sex can not be less than 7.
In the exercise of their functions, the members of the Council of State act only in the general interest. They do not take part in the drafting of opinions and deliberations of the Council of State relating to files in the development of which they participated in a different title than that of member of the Council of State.
The state councilors are resigned by the Grand Duke. They can not be dismissed until the Council of State, in plenary session, has been heard on the grounds for dismissal.
Except for the Crown Grand Duke, the position of State Councilor ends after a continuous or discontinuous period of 12 years, or when the person concerned reaches the age of 72. In case of voluntary departure or when a serious and irreversible illness no longer allows him to fulfill his duties, the member of the Council of State is resigned by the Grand Duke, on the proposal of the Council of State.
The involvement of the State Councilor in the work of the institution
The Conseil d’Etat considers that its primary role is to provide added value in the drafting of the Law 1 . This supposes that it can rely on the asserted skills of its members in the different fields.
The deliberations of the Council of State are secret. This rule favors exchanges of views in a spirit of collegiality, respectful of the different sensitivities represented, and leads to opinions conveyed by the consensus of all advisers.
In order to reconcile the imperatives of quality work and the efficiency of its procedures, the Council of State has adapted its working methods and the organization of its work, so as not to unduly delay the evacuation of projects. and proposals 2 of law or draft regulations or Grand-Ducal Orders before it.
For that the institution can best meet its part, it depends on the commitment of each state councilor to be fully involved in the work of the institution by its competence, availability 3 , its methodical rigor and continued participation in the work of the Council in the committees and assuming the role of rapporteur.
Participation in committee work
As a general rule, all projects are awarded as soon as they are enrolled to one of six permanent committees 4 : Institutions and Public Administration (IPA), Legal Affairs (JUR), Economy and Finance (ECOFIN), Social Affairs (SOC), Sustainable Development and Infrastructure (DDI), Culture, Education, Research and Media (CERM).
Each standing commission has seven members. Each State Councilor is therefore assigned to two standing committees. Each committee sits weekly 5 days and fixed hours. Additional meetings in available time slots may be scheduled if a project review is delayed.
As soon as the referral is made, the committee responsible appoints the rapporteur and determines on his schedule of work 6 the foreseeable date of the reading of the draft opinion.
Each committee is assisted by a committee secretary 7 , who prepares a document for the members of the commission within the fortnight of the referral.
To evacuate the projects inscribed on the role, each permanent commission must finalize on average 1.5 opinions 8 per week of work.
Besides participating in the work of the standing committees, it can be appealed to the state councilors to participate in special commissions 9 , which may be set up ad hoc or to perform other duties assigned to the Council of State 10 .
Assume the role of rapporteur
A key role in the work of the committees is for the rapporteur, who must personally prepare the draft opinion, read it in committee and adapt it to the deliberations of the committee with the assistance of the secretariat. If the committee holds a hearing of the minister or experts, it will prepare the questionnaire, which the Council of State will communicate beforehand to the guest. Subsequently, it will present the draft opinion in plenary meeting, noting in particular the points which are the object of formal oppositions and indicating the legal motivation of these.
If the Council of State is seized of governmental or parliamentary amendments, the rapporteur will prepare in the same sequence the complementary opinion of the Council of State.
After adoption of the draft or the proposal during the vote on the whole law by the Chamber of Deputies, the rapporteur will verify if the Council of State was followed in its formal oppositions and will present its conclusions in public session and, the where appropriate, he will participate in the special commission “exemption from the second constitutional vote 11 “.
In order to ensure an equitable distribution of workloads and to avoid delaying delays to other colleagues, it is essential that each State Councilor be able to assume the role of rapporteur for projects that are assigned within the time allowed.
Given the number of projects submitted to the Council of State, each State Councilor should assume the drafting of 15 to 20 draft opinions per year, depending on the complexity of more or less projects to be examined.
Attendance at public and plenary sessions
It goes without saying that each advisor must attend public meetings and plenary 12 . These sessions are usually set every two weeks. Weekly sessions are scheduled during the month preceding the Christmas recess and summer recess, in order to respond quickly to any amendments that may be tabled during these periods. In addition, additional sessions may be added in case there are urgent cases to be dealt with.
Projects whose adoption at first reading is provided for in the calendar of the Chamber of Deputies will be included in the agenda of the first subsequent public meeting.
In order to ensure a regular evacuation of the role, the agenda of the public meetings provides on average for the adoption of 18 opinions.