Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Family Bylaws Concerning the House Law of the House of Luxembourg-Nassau

As we have been asked a few times whether we could provide a translation of the house law of the Grand Ducal Family, we have come up with a translation of the new bylaws concerning the house law that was published via Grand Ducal Decree on in the summer of 2012. Mind you, it was an awful lot of work especially as we are no legal scholars (even though it sometimes felt like it during the process). 

The bylaws are the second part of the published decree while the first part is a revision of the family pact. We will also publish the first part at another time though we think that this second part probably is of more interest to anyone following the Grand Ducal Family as it deals with such topics as marriage consent, style and titles of the Family as well as who actually is part of the Grand Ducal Line, Family and House.

As already mentioned, we are neither legal scholars nor any kind of official institution so this translation is subject to change. If you have any questions, feel free to ask though mind you, we do not get all the parts 100 percent ourselves -- Who actually has succession rights? Is the Prince of Nassau title for the descendants of princes Jean and Noah hereditary? Just two questions that come to mind. -- but we will try our best to answer them. Parts of the law might be a little hard to read but the same goes for the German original of the decree which is, of course, written in legalese and we tried to stay as close to the original as possible as to avoid (and maybe thus creating?) more confusion. 

As the translation was an awful lot of work, I kindly asked you not to just copy and post the translation anywhere else but instead provide a link.


Grand Ducal Decree of 18 June 2012

We Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau,

after inspection of the “Nassauischer Erbverein” of June 30th, 1783, in its current form of June 11th, 2012, after inspection of the family bylaw concerning the house law of May 5th, 1907, with its following changes and amendments, after inspection of the decisions of the members of the Grand Ducal Family of October 28th and November 25th, 2011,

declare and command the following new version of the family bylaws concerning the house law:

I. Basic house laws

§ 1. Proportion between the older and the newer law

This current family statute precedes all house-legal norms, with the exception of the regulations given by the “Nassauische Erbverein” of June 30th, 1873, in its current form of June 11th, 2012, called “family pact” in the following.

II. House and family membership

§ 2. Present existence

It has to be distinguished between

1) The Grand Ducal Line,
2) The Grand Ducal Family,
3) The Grand Ducal House,

The Grand Ducal Line consists of all direct marital descendants of Grand Duke Adolph (agnates and cognates). (male and female line)

The Grand Ducal Family consists of all direct marital descendants of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The spouses, widows and widowers of members of the Grand Ducal Family are included as well.

The Grand Ducal House consists of the head of state as head of the house, the former heads of state, first grade descendants of a head of the house born within a marriage according to the house rules, and the members of the family called upon to succeed to the throne according to the laws of primogeniture. The in-law spouses and widows/widowers of members according to the house rules and of deceased heads of state are included. The aforementioned widows and widowers will lose their membership to the Grand Ducal House in case of remarriage.

The head of the house is authorised, after consultation with the members of the advisory council (§ 10 (1) 4), to confer born members of the Grand Ducal Family the membership of the Grand Ducal House. In addition, the head of the house is solely authorised to give binding statements according to this house statute about the membership of the Grand Ducal Family in general and the Grand Ducal House in particular.

§ 3. Preservation and acquisition of the membership of the Grand Ducal House

Born members of the Grand Ducal House keep their membership even in case of marriage conducted without the consent of the head of the house without prejudice to the provisions given in § 7 (2). Spouses of members of the Grand Ducal House only become members of the house if the head of the house has given his written consent to the marriage.

III. Rights of members of the Grand Ducal House and the Grand Ducal Family

§ 4. General rights of members of the Grand Ducal House and the Grand Ducal Family

The rights of the members of the Grand Ducal House and the Grand Ducal Family consist of

1) the usage of name and title according to §4a and §4b,
2) the conventional usage of the coat of arms,
3) the stipends according to the family pact (Art. 24, 25 and 35)

The existing claims according to paragraph 1, item 3 can be revoked due to derogatory conduct.

It is left to head of the house to give to all members of the family having the name zu Nassau/de Nassau, in the interest and the prestige of the dynasty and the country, appropriate rules of conduct and to sum them up in a code of honour. Grave neglect of duties and repeated contravention of the rules by the aforementioned members can be punished, after previous warning if applicable, by the head of the house by the advice of the advisory council.

§ 4a. Title of the head of state and the heir apparent

The head of state is styled as Royal Highness and bears the title of Grand Duke or Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Duke or Duchess of Nassau, etc. etc.

The wife by marriage according to the house rules of the head of state is styled as Royal Highness and bears the title Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Duchess of Nassau, etc. etc. The husband by marriage according to the house rules of the ruling Grand Duchess is styled as Royal Highness and bears the title Prince of Luxembourg, Prince Consort.

The member of the family called upon to succeed to the throne (heir apparent or heiress apparent), according to the law of primogeniture, is styled as Royal Highness and bears the title Hereditary Grand Duke or Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Hereditary Prince or Hereditary Princess of Nassau, etc. etc.

The wife by marriage according to the house rules of the heir apparent is styled as Royal Highness and bears the title Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Hereditary Princess of Nassau, etc. etc. In case of widowhood §4b (1) 1 is applied. The husband by marriage according to the house rules of the heiress apparent is styled as Royal Highness and bears the title Prince of Luxembourg.

§ 4b. Name and title of Members of the Grand Ducal House and the Grand Ducal Family

Subject to the following, in paragraph 4 defined provisions, the members of the Grand Ducal House and the Grand Ducal Family, in all their official and private functions which may concern them, bear

1) the first grade marital descendants of the head of the house as well as those of the member of the house called upon to succeed to the throne according to the laws of primogeniture and their wives by marriage according to the rules of the house, have the style Royal Highness, their first name and the family name “zu Nassau” (“de Nassau”) as well as the title Prince or Princess of Luxembourg, etc. etc.

2) the second and further grade male line marital descendants of the head of the house; with the exception of the offspring of the member of the house called upon to succeed to the throne according to the laws of primogeniture (item 1); and their wives by marriage according to the house rules, have the style of Royal Highness, their first name and the family name “zu Nassau” (“de Nassau”) and the title Prince or Princess of Nassau, etc. etc.

3) those who conducted a marriage without the consent of the head of the house, the family name “zu Nassau” (“de Nassau”) as well as their previous title. The wives and legitimate offspring of this marriage bear their first name and the family name “zu Nassau” (“de Nassau”) as well as the title Count or Countess of Nassau.

The use or the conferral of a style or title in the individual case cannot deduce either rights from the membership of the house or family or consent to the marriage.

In case of a legal separation, a divorce or remarriage after death, the wives lose the style and title conferred upon them. 

Moreover, the marital offspring of members of the Grand Ducal House and the Grand Ducal Family bear the last name of their father.

§ 5. Marriage contracts

The regulations of a marriage contract of a member of the house or family which touch rights and duties of the Grand Ducal House or the fidei comiss, are not binding without the written consent of the head of the house.

§ 6. Legal relationship in case of contested membership

In case of contested membership of the Grand Ducal House or the Grand Ducal Family there is no entitlement to the rights presupposing the membership of the Grand Ducal House or the Grand Ducal Family; in particular the rights stipulated in §4a and §4b require the membership. In case of contested membership of the house or family a decision according to § 11 is to be brought about.

IV. House-constitutional activities

§7. Basic policies

The right to house-constitutional activities, consisting of the right of the direct and indirect involvement in the legislation of the house and the membership in the advisory council, is generally given to the born members of the Grand Ducal House of age (entitled members of the Grand Ducal House).

In case of members of the Grand Ducal House conducting an unapproved marriage the right described in paragraph 1 rests for the length of the non-consented marriage. The same right becomes invalid in case of the renunciation of the rights to the throne.

In case of a regency, the rights of the head of the house are applied to the regent also in relation to the house law. No grave changes to the basic house law of the Grand Ducal House should be made during a regency.

For the contractual force of house-constitutional acts the consent of the advisory council is, in principle, needed. Though, by the decision of the head of the house in accordance with the following rules, it can be substituted by the consent of the entitled members of the Grand Ducal House.

§ 8. (repealed)

§ 9. Advisory council

The advisory council consists of

a) the three oldest marital first grade descendants of the head of the house 
b) the two oldest first grade descendants born within wedlock of the previous head of the house with the exception of the current head of the house, on the condition that they are entitled members of the house.

It is left to the discretion of the previous head of the house and the spouse of the current head of the house to take part in the meetings of the advisory council in an advisory role.

In case that there aren’t enough members available for the advisory council in accordance with paragraph 1, it is the responsibility of the head of the house to complete the advisory council with one or more bearers of the family name “zu Nassau” (§ 9 (3)).

In reference to the 2008 government revocation announcement of the law of December 15th, 1988, anchoring restriction concerning the convention of the elimination of all forms of discrimination of women of December 18th, 1979, the house-constitutional activities of the agnates are extended to the entitled female members of the Grand Ducal House and is applied for the first time to Our descent, and also, in case of the application of current § 9 (1b), to the female members of the Grand Ducal Family.

§ 10. Responsibilities of advisory council

The advisory council is asked:

1) to assess questions given to them by the head of the house,
2) to give or deny the required consent, instead of the entirety of entitled members of the Grand Ducal House according to § 7 (4),
3) to mediate differences of opinion within the Grand Ducal House and the Grand Ducal Family
4) to make exceptional grants compared to the existing house laws in individual cases, as well as to comment on the proposed conferring of membership of the Grand Ducal House (§ 2),
5) to make arbitral decisions in certain cases of dispute in accordance with the following §11

The advisory council decides in a secret ballot and with the majority of votes. Its decision in the cases of paragraph 1, item 5 is always final.

Should a member, due to bias or on other grounds, not take part in a discussion and decision the head of the house has to appoint another member of the family “zu Nassau” as a replacement member.

§ 11. Family arbitral court

The advisory council (§ 9), in cases of legal disputes according to the last two paragraphs of the current article, is enlarged to a family arbitral court with the addition of four jurists, which are chosen equally by the suitor and the defending party. In case of default, they are chosen by the advisory council.

The claim to a positive or negative assessment of a membership of the house or family, which is demanded or claimed by one side and disputed by the other, can only be pleaded in front of this court during the legal proceedings. Moreover, it is the only authorised instance for house-constitutional differences between recognised members of the Grand Ducal House and Grand Ducal Family.

§ 12. Call upon all entitled members of the Grand Ducal House

The entitled members of the Grand Ducal House (§ 7) have to pass resolutions about

1) a question presented to them by the head of the house,
2) the repeal of the entire house law.

In cases of paragraph 1 item 1, it is decided by majority vote; in cases of paragraph item 1 a supermajority is needed.

§ 13. Precedence of the constitution

The current provisions apply except when otherwise stipulated by the constitution of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Documentary Our single-handed signature and affixed seal.

Luxembourg, 18 June 2012      

Henri                      

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