Features – Mini Research Guide to the Law of Liechtenstein

Ted Metzler is a law student at Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. expected February, 2003. Before law school, Ted worked for 6 years as an internet consultant, most recently as an Information Architect for Proxicom, Inc. Ted was Book Reviews and Special Projects Editor for the Georgetown Law Journal. After completing his J.D., Ted will be a Law Clerk to the Honorable Gerald Bard Tjoflat of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The following is a basic guide to researching the law of Liechtenstein. It was prepared for my class on International and Foreign Legal Research at Georgetown University Law Center.

PowerPoint Presentation on the Legal System of Liechtenstein. (Copyright 2002, Ted P. Metzler. All rights reserved)

Last revised on April 14, 2002.
Because this was prepared for a class, it is unlikely that it will be updated significantly. If, however, you have a link that you think would be useful, e-mail me and I will consider adding it.

Print Resources

  • The Legal System of Liechtenstein. Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia. William S. Hein & Co., Inc. Buffalo, NY, 1989, Volume 4, pp. 4.60.1 – 4.60.67. This source provides a fairly detailed overview of the legal system of Liechtenstein. It includes sections on the history of Liechtenstein, the legislative and judicial systems, and law reporting.

  • Liechtenstein as a Tax Haven. Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia. William S. Hein & Co., Inc. Buffalo, NY, 1989 (Updated through August, 1996) Volume 4A, pp. 4A.30.7 – 4A.30.36. This article gives a good overview of commercial and banking law in Liechtenstein. This source is a bit out-of-date, however.

  • Companies and Taxes in Liechtenstein. Peter Marxer, Liechtenstein Verlag, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, 1992. This is an excellent book covering much more than the title implies. The source includes descriptions of the law in Liechtenstein with regard to Contracts, Property, Intellectual Property, Criminal Law and Procedure, and many more subjects. The book includes cites to the important sources for each section. Highly recommended.

  • Liechtenstein Company Law. Bryan Jeeves. Liechtenstein Verlag AG, Vaduz, Liechtenstein. This is an unofficial English translation of the Liechtenstein Persons and Companies Act, originally passed in 1926. It appears that the translation incorporates changes made up to its publication date. The Persons and Companies Act covers general corporate law.

  • Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digest, New Providence, NJ, Martindale-Hubbell 2001, pp. LCH 1-5. Provides a high-level overview of several substantive areas of law. Also available on Lexis, under the hierarchy: All Sources > Areas of Law – By Topic > International Law > Treatises & Analytical Materials > Martindale-Hubbell(R) International Law Digest. To limit your search to Liechtenstein, use the following in your search string: Country(Liechtenstein)

Online Resources

Liechtenstein seems to have updated its web sites recently, changing some of the URLs. In particular, www.fuerstenhaus.li no longer seems to be available. Many of the English sites below have links to that site that are now out-of-date. In addition, much of the information formerly on that site and www.firstlink.li seems to have been moved to http://www.liechtenstein.li.

In English

  • Principality of Liechtenstein English Home Page. This site has quite a bit of general information about Liechtenstein in English, including its history, governmental structure and facts and figures. In particular, the “State” section of this site is useful. Also, the text of a few laws are available in pdf here. In addition, the Banking Act, the Due Diligence Act, and the Due Diligence Executive Order have been recently put up. This site is being updated daily. Make sure to use the search function on this site. It operates like an index to the site. Some parts of the site and many of the particular laws that are listed are not yet translated. In the course of preparing this guide, new translations were being regularly posted. This site seems to be telling the truth when it says the documents are in the process of translation.

  • FirstLink. General information about Liechtenstein in English. Most of this information is available through the www.liechtenstein.li site above. This site does have some biographical information about the members of the Parliament (Diet) and of the Government that has not been translated on the liechtenstein.li site.

  • Foreign Law Guide (subscription required). The Foreign Law Guide provides a useful overview of the development of Liechtenstein’s legal system. In addition, the guide provides specific cites to the official gazette for laws on particular subjects.

  • LLRX has a section in its guide to Microstates on Liechtenstein. The coverage is limited and at the time of this writing, not as up-to-date as this page, but there is still good information.

  • The Law Library of Congress has some good information at http://www.loc.gov/law/guide/liechtenstein.html. Some links are out of date.

  • Liechtenstein’s Press and Information Office has some documents, including a few laws, in English.

In German

Note: I do not speak German, so these sources have not been evaluated to see whether they are what they appear to be.

  • http://www.gesetze.li/. “The wording of Liechtenstein laws.” This appears to be a searchable database of legislation.

  • Another online compilation of statutes in German can be found at http://www.recht.li/. For this database, you can get an approximation of what the laws say in English by using the following link. Note: this link uses Google‘s automatic translation software. See below on how to use this for other pages.

  • Liechtenstein Home Page in German. The official Liechtenstein page has quite a bit of information in German that has not been translated to English.

  • Landesarchiv.li This site seems to have a lot of information. Unfortunately, all of the menus and buttons are in a form that cannot be translated by the google translation engine (see below); however, if you speak German, that would not be a problem.

In Translated German

For content that is in German, you can get an approximation of what it says by searching google for the URL you want to translate. In most cases where I have tried this, google gives a “Translate this Page” link. Do not rely on the automatic translation to convey subtleties or as an official translation. You can get a general feel for what the laws are about, however.

Posted in: Features, International Legal Research