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UPDATE: A GUIDE TO THE LITHUANIAN LEGAL RESEARCH

 

By Elona Norvaišaitė

 

Elona Norvaišaitė had worked as a reference librarian at the Law and Politics Reading Room of the Information Center of the National Library of Lithuania. In the period of 2006-2012, she worked as an information specialist at the Library of the European Parliament.

 

Published August 2013
(Previously updated on January 2008)
See the Archive Version!

 

Table of Contents

1.     The Lithuanian Legal System

1.1   Background

1.2  Types of Legislation

1.3  The Court System

2.     Sources of Law

2.1  Lithuanian

2.1.1       Printed Sources

2.1.2       Free Internet Sources

2.1.3       Commercial Internet Sources

2.2  English

2.2.1       Printed Sources

2.2.2      Free Internet Sources

3.     Lithuanian Courts and Case Law, Court Rulings, Decisions

3.1  The Constitutional Court

3.2  The Supreme Court

3.3  The Court of Appeals

3.4  The Supreme Administrative Court

3.5  Case Law, Court Rulings, Decisions

3.5.1       Lithuanian

3.5.1.1   Printed Sources

3.5.1.2  Free Internet Sources

3.5.1.3  Commercial Internet Sources

3.5.2      English

3.5.2.1  Printed Sources

3.5.2.2  Free Internet Sources

4.     Legal Portals

4.1  INFOLEX.LT

4.2  Teisingumas.lt

5.     Parliamentary Information

6.     Presidential Information

7.     Government Information

8.     Local Authorities Information

9.     Lithuania and European Union

  1. Legal Research Institutes, Centers

11.   Legal and Other Centers

12.  Legal Profession

13.  Legal Education

14.  Law Libraries

15.  Law Journals

16.  Law Dictionaries

16.1                 Multilingual

16.2         English-Lithuanian

16.3         German-Lithuanian

17.  Legal Publishers

  1. Legal E-Guides
  2. Law E-Articles, E-Books, etc.
  3. Legal News

21.  Miscellaneous

 

1. The Lithuanian Legal System

 

1.1 Background

 

The Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublika) is an independent democratic parliamentary republic. The foundation of the social system is enforced by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, adopted in 1992 by a referendum, which also establishes the rights, freedoms, and obligations of citizens. Under that law, sovereign state power is vested in the people of Lithuania and is exercised by the President of the Republic, the Seimas (Parliament), the Government, and the Courts.

 

The Lithuanian legal system is generally based on the legal tradition of continental Europe. Since restoration of Lithuania's independence in 1990, the legal system has been reformed to meet the demands of the modern open economy. The EU law became a part of the Lithuanian legal system on 1 May 2004.

 

1.2 Types of Legislation

 

In the Lithuanian legal system, the principal body of law is statutory.

 

Substantive branches of the law are codified in codes (please, always pay attention to the links: Pakeitimai—Amendments; Aktuali redakcija—Acting Edition; Vertimai—Translations).

 

The legal and regulatory system includes the following:

 

  • the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania—(Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucija);
  • constitutional laws (konstituciniai įstatymai);
  • laws (įstatymai);
  • resolutions (nutarimai) of the Seimas (the Parliament) and the Government (Vyriausybė);
  • decrees (dekretai) of the President;
  • acts (įsakymai, aktai, etc.) of other governmental institutions and local municipal authorities.

 

All regulatory acts, including laws, must comply with the Constitution. All international treaties and conventions must be implemented in Lithuania; however, the ones ratified by the Seimas prevail over national laws.

 

More information about the Plenary Sittings of the Parliament, the legislative procedure and the diagram of legislative procedure can be found online.

 

1.3 The Court System

 

The National Courts Administration gives an overview of the Judicial System of the Republic of Lithuania. For more information please consult the bilingual electronic publications: Judicial System of Lithuania; The National Courts Administration

 

  • Council of Europe - The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ): Evaluation of European Judicial Systems—Replies by country: Lithuania; Country profile: Lithuania (scroll down the page to read on: Recent developments in the judicial field; Organisational chart of the system of justice)

 

 

2. Sources of Law

 

2.1. Lithuanian

 

2.1.1 Printed Sources

 

The legal acts of Lithuania are officially published in the "Valstybės žinios" (the Official Gazette) (1993- ), which is issued three times a week by the Publishing House of the Seimas.

 

The Publishing House of the Seimas publishes a collection of Lithuanian legal documents –"Lietuvos Respublikos Seimo dokumentų rinkinys" (1993- ), which includes the basic laws of Lithuania, decrees of the President, and the rulings and decisions of the Constitutional Court.

 

Another main publisher of official texts is the Legal Information Department of the Centre of Registers.

 

The Legal Information Department of the Centre of Registers publishes codes of the Republic of Lithuania and commentaries of the codes, various collections of the Lithuanian legal acts, law textbooks, etc.

 

2.1.2 Free Internet Sources

 

The full text of Lithuanian laws is available in the official database of the Seimas entitled Legal Acts of Lithuania. The database contains legal acts of the Seimas, the Government, and other executive bodies and institutions of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

The drafts of the legal acts of different ministries can be found at the Government’s homepage, the section called Teisės aktų projektai (Select the link of the relevant ministry).

 

The Legal acts register: Teisės aktų registras (TAR) – is the state register of the legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

2.1.3 Commercial Internet Sources

 

The legal portal INFOLEX provides the commercial legal acts retrieval system – INFOLEX Teisės aktai.

 

The legal information retrieval system LITLEX has two versions: LITLEX IntRAnet and LITLEX IntERnet.

The commercial database provides full-texts of Lithuanian laws. The texts of laws are only in Lithuanian, and the database is available only to subscribers.

 

2.2 English

 

2.2.1 Printed Sources

 

The monthly "Parliamentary Records", the Official Gazette in English, was available to subscribers from 1992 to 1999. There is no paper copy any more, so the translations of the laws in English can be retrieved from the database of the Seimas.

 

  • The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania = Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucija : with subsequent amendments until 1 June 2006. - Vilnius: Valstybės žinios, 2007. - 79 p. - ISBN 978-9986-18-160-6.

 

2.2.2 Free Internet Sources

 

A great amount of Lithuanian laws in English can be retrieved from the database of the Seimas - Legal Acts of Lithuania.

 

Not all the amendments and supplements to the legal acts are translated into English.

 

When searching for the translations of various legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, it is useful to open the English internet site of the relevant Ministry of the Republic of Lithuania and to choose the link called "Legislation" or "Legal Acts", etc., and where available to find a list of the main legal acts in the field of the responsible ministry, for example:

 

 

Please find below some Lithuanian laws in English by subjects (please note that not all the latest amendments of the legal acts are translated into English):

 

Advertising (Competition Council)

Anti-trust (Competition Council)

Banks and banking (Bank of Lithuania)

Child rights, adoption (State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service)

Citizenship, migration (Migration Department)

Citizenship law, country reports, etc. (European University Institute, EUDO Observatory on Citizenship)

Consumer protection (National Consumer Rights Protection Authority)

Corruption, lobbying (Chief Official Ethics Commission)

Courts administration (National Courts Administration)

Data protection (State Data Protection Inspectorate)

Energy, energy resources electricity and heat (Ministry of Energy)

Elections (Central Electoral Commission)

Investment (Ministry of Economy)

Intellectual property (State Patent Bureau website)

Merger control (Competition Council)

Money laundering and terrorist financing prevention (Financial Crime Investigation Service)

Medicines (State Medicines Control Agency)

Ombudsmen (Seimas Ombudsmen's Office)

Public procurement (Public Procurement Office)

Renewable energy sources (Ministry of Energy)

Social security and labour (Ministry of Social Security and Labour)

Taxes (State Tax Inspectorate)

 

At present, not all Lithuanian Codes are translated into English, except the Civil Code, the Criminal Code, the Labour Code, the Code of Conduct for State Politicians, the Railway Transport Code and the Road Transport Code.

 

3. Lithuanian Courts and Case Law, Court Rulings, Decisions

 

The system of courts, their competence and the system of court organization and administration, as well as the system of self-governance of courts, the status of judges and their appointment, career, and other issues related to the judicial activities are regulated by the Constitution the Republic of Lithuania, the Law on Courts and other legal acts.

 

The court system of the Republic of Lithuania is made up of the courts of general jurisdiction and the courts of special jurisdiction.

 

The National Courts Administration website provides the information on the Judicial system of the Republic of Lithuania, General Meeting of Judges, Judicial Council, Judicial Court of Honour, Judicial Ethics and Discipline Commission, Contacts of Courts, Statistics, Reports, etc.

 

 

 

3.1 The Constitutional Court of the Republic Lithuania

 

The Constitutional Court was established in 1993. Its status and the procedure for the execution of its powers are defined in the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania. The decisions of the Constitutional Court on issues assigned to its jurisdiction by the Constitution are final and may not be appealed.

 

More information on the functions and powers of the Constitutional Court, as well as the Rules of the Constitutional Court, documents of the Court, the official constitutional doctrine, statistics on petitions and inquiries can be found on the Constitutional Court homepage.

 

3.2 The Supreme Court of Lithuania

 

The Supreme Court is the only court of cassation instance for reviewing effective judgments, decisions, rulings and orders of the courts of general jurisdiction. It forms the uniform judicial practice for the application of laws.

The Supreme Court's internet site provides information about the competence and functions of the Court, judges, etc.

 

3.3 The Court of Appeal of Lithuania

 

The Court of Appeal is appeal instance for cases heard by regional courts as courts of first instance. It also hears requests for the recognition of decisions of foreign or international courts and foreign or international arbitration awards and their enforcement in the Republic of Lithuania, as well as performs other functions assigned to the jurisdiction of this court by law. The Chairman of the Court of Appeal organizes and controls the administrative activities of the regional courts and their judges in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law.[1]

 

The Court of Appeal of Lithuania internet site provides information about the Court, history of the Court of Appeals and it's role in the judicial system of the country; information for the participants of the proceedings about the petitions for appeal; recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments; arbitration awards in the Republic of Lithuania, etc.

 

 

3.4 The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania

 

The Supreme Administrative Court is first and final instance for administrative cases assigned to its jurisdiction by law. It is appeal instance for cases concerning decisions, rulings and orders of regional administrative courts, as well as for cases involving administrative offences from decisions of district courts. The Supreme Administrative Court is also instance for hearing, in cases specified by law, of petitions on the reopening of completed administrative cases, including cases of administrative offences. The Supreme Administrative Court develops a uniform practice of administrative courts in the interpretation and application of laws and other legal acts.[2]

 

The Supreme Administrative Court’s internet site provides information about the Court, the administrative courts, statistics, annual reports, a survey, etc.

 

3.5. Case Law, Court Rulings, Decisions

 

3.5.1 Lithuanian

 

3.5.1.1 Printed Sources

 

Since 2006, the Constitutional Court has been publishing the bulletin "Konstitucinė jurisprudencija".  In addition to other material the bulletin publishes the Constitutional Court’s rulings and decisions.

 

In 2010 the Constitutional Court published a book which presents in a systemic manner the official constitutional doctrine that has been formed in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court from the very beginning of its activities:

Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucinio Teismo oficialiosios konstitucinės doktrinos nuostatos, 1993-2009. Vilnius, Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucinis Teismas, 2010, 1108 p. – ISBN 978-9955-688-10-5.

 

Since 1995, the Supreme Court of Lithuania has been issuing the bulletin "Teismų Praktika" ("Court Practice"). The bulletin includes the rulings found by the Divisions of the Supreme Court as being the most important, methodological materialsummary reviews of the court practice, summaries of the judgements passed by the European Court of Human Rights, and other information. The bulletin also presents information about the most significant events in the activities of the Supreme Court.

 

The Supreme Administrative Court is responsible for developing a uniform practice of administrative courts in the interpretation and application of statutes and other legal acts. The Supreme Administrative Court periodically issues its bulletin under the title "Lietuvos vyriausiojo administracinio teismo biuletenis".

 

3.5.1.2 Free Internet Sources

 

The full text of the rulings (nutarimai), decisions (sprendimai) and conclusions (išvados) of the Constitutional Court from 1993 on, presented by the year, are available at the Court’s official internet site.

 

The website of the Supreme Court gives access to the rulings passed by the Supreme Court: in civil cases - since 1995 and in criminal cases – since 2001. The rulings, issued in the Lithuanian language, can be found by following the link - Teismo nutartys (Court rulings). The bulletin "Teismų Praktika” ("Court Practice") is published in the Lithuanian language. It is also available on the website of the Supreme Court of Lithuania by following the link - Biuletenis "Teismų praktika".

 

The Supreme Administrative Court's homepage has a section: Teismų praktika (Court Practice), where it is possible to find the Court’s bulletin „Lietuvos vyriausiojo administracinio teismo biuletenis“; the recent Court practice reviews; the Court practice summaries.

 

3.5.1.3 Commercial Internet Sources

 

Infolex.PraktikaCourts practice search engine integrated with the legal acts and other documents of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

3.5.2 English

 

3.5.2.1 Printed Sources

 

The Constitutional Court started to publish the thematic collections of the Court’s rulings and decisions on actual topics. In 2012 was published an edition on elections:

Elections: selected decisions, 1993 - September 2012. -  Vilnius: The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, 2012, 522 p. – ISBN 978-9955-688-14-3

 

The rulings and decisions of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court, as well as the overviews of case-law, are not translated into English.

 

3.5.2.2 Free Internet Sources

 

Rulings, decisions and conclusions of the Constitutional Court in English.

 

4. Legal Portals

 

4.1. INFOLEX.LT

 

The target audience of the Lithuanian legal portal INFOLEX is not only Lithuanian professional lawyers, but also the wider public. The portal has the main page and separate sections: Teisės aktai (Legal acts), Teismų praktika (Court practice), Studentai (Students), Visuomenė (Society). Every section has various subdivisions.

 

The English version of the Lithuanian legal portal INFOLEX is available to foreign users searching for legal and business information about Lithuania. The English version of INFOLEX portal provides the legal updates prepared by several law firms; it also offers possibility to search information by legal subject, for example—Company law, etc.

 

4.2. TEISINGUMAS.LT

 

The mission of the legal information portal Teisingumas.lt is spreading comprehensive and relevant legal information to legal professionals and to the wider public. The portal Teisingumas. It collects, organizes and publishes the public information provided by the Ministry of Justice and its institutions.

 

5. Parliamentary Information

 

The Parliament of Lithuania, the Seimas, is a one-chamber parliament. The Seimas is vested with the supreme legislative power. The Seimas consists of 141 MPs who are elected for a four-year term by the universal, equal, direct suffrage and secret ballot. The Seimas elects its Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons.

 

The internet site of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania provides current information on the Seimas concerning its work and history; members and political groups; committees and commissions; public and international relations. In this site you can also find lists of the latest legal acts, projects and other documents by following the link Naujienos (News).

 

The Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Statute of the Seimas are presented in the website’s section "Legal acts". Access to the legal acts of Lithuania database is free.

 

The Lithuanian Parliamentary Mirror is an illustrated journal in English (since 1997), which represents the Lithuanian Seimas abroad. Parliamentary Mirror No. 4(152) is the last printed publication.

Since 2012 the printed magazine has been replaced by an electronic publication—The newsletter.

 

 

6. Presidential Information

 

The President of the Republic is the Head of State. The President represents the State of Lithuania and performs all the duties that he or she is charged with by the Constitution and laws. The citizens of the Republic of Lithuania elect the President of the Republic of Lithuania on the basis of the universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot for a five-year term. One can find more information about the history, the Presidential functions, the legal framework of the Office of the President on the President of the Republic of Lithuania’s internet site. The website provides information on Presidential activities, Press Releases, etc.

 

 

7. Government Information

 

The Government is the highest authority of executive power. It is comprised of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers. The President of the Republic of Lithuania, with the approval of the Seimas, appoints the Prime Minister. Ministers are appointed by the President of the Republic on the nomination of the Prime Minister.

 

On the Government of the Republic of Lithuania’s internet site you can find information about the Government Constitutional obligations, the Programme of the Government, the Ministries, activities, etc.

 

Often it is very helpful on the internet page of a ministry or a government institution to search for legal acts related to that ministry or institution by following the link - Teisinė informacija (Legal information) or Teisės aktai (Legal acts),etc.

 

Ministries of the Republic of Lithuania:

 

 

Lithuania ONLine website maintains lists of the websites of the Lithuanian ministries and their departments: Government Institutions

 

8. Local Authorities Information

 

Local self-government is organized on the basis of the administrative and territorial division of Lithuania.

Lithuania is divided into 10 counties (apskritys), which are further subdivided into 60 municipalities (savivaldybės).

 

 

9. Lithuania and European Union

 

 

 

10. Legal Research Institutes, Centers

 

 

11. Legal and Other Centers

 

 

12. Legal Profession

 

13. Legal Education

 

 

14. Law Libraries

 

 

15. Law Journals

 

The law schools of Lithuania issue their own law journals, most of which have their own internet sites. Several Lithuanian legal scientific-practical journals also have their electronic versions.

 

  • "Teisė" – "Law"

Since 1957 Vilnius University Faculty of Law has published a journal "VU mokslo darbai. Teisė" ("VU scientific papers. Law") which represents the legal science in Lithuania and abroad. It is a quarterly publication. The articles are published in Lithuanian and other languages.

The electronic archive (full-text articles since 2008)

 

  • "Jurisprudencija" – "Jurisprudence"

Mykolas Romeris University publishes the scientific journal "Jurisprudencija” – "Jurisprudence".

The journal has been published since 1993. 4 volumes are published per year. Articles are published in Lithuanian, English, German and French. The internet version of the journal "Jurisprudencija" with the full-text articles and summaries in Lithuanian and English can be found in the Archive.  The archive has search functions by category, by title/author and by year of publication.

 

  • "Baltic Journal of Law and Politics"

Vytautas Magnus University Faculty of Law in cooperation with Vytautas Magnus University Faculty of Politics and Diplomacy has been publishing a scientific periodical "Baltic Journal of Law & Politics" since 2008. The journal is published online. Its publisher is a German company De Gruyter acting through its owned Polish company Versita. The language of the journal is English.

The journal in De Gruyter platform. The journal in Versita platform.

 

  • "Teisės problemos "– "Legal Issues"

The Law Institute of Lithuania publishes the quarterly scientific journal "Teisės problemos " ("Legal Issues")

The abstracts and the full-text of the articles are available at the Archive of the journal published in the Law Institute’s website. The archive can be browsed by the issue and by subjects.

 

  • "Justitia” – "Justitia"

The electronic version of the legal scientific-practical journal "Justitia" can be found in the website of the legal literature publishing house Justitia. It is possible to browse the contents of the journals, to read article abstracts, and to search by the name of the author or by keyword from the title of the article. The archive of “Justitia” articles is grouped by legal subjects. The language of the articles is Lithuanian.

 

  • "Juristas "– "Jurist"

"Juristas" is a practical journal on business law subjects, published by the publishing house Pačiolis. The language of the articles is Lithuanian.

The electronic version of the journal has an archive and provides the full-text of one actual article from each issue, and also offers information about the contents of all the issues. The full-text of all articles is available by a subscription.

 

  • "Verslo ir teisės aktualijos" - "Current Issues of Business and Law"

Verslo ir teisės aktualijos/ Current Issues of Business and Law  is a journal published by the International School of Law and Business, Lithuania. The periodical publishes scientific papers (in Lithuanian and in English languages) on the research in business economics, management and law subjects. The journal has been published since 2008 twice a year.

The electronic archive; browse by Issue; Search

 

  • "Issues of Business and Law"

"Issues of Business and Law" is a scientific journal published by the International School of Law and Business. The periodical publishes scientific papers (in English) on the research dealing with various aspects of business economics, management and law.

The electronic archive; browse by Issue; Search

 

16. Law Dictionaries

 

16.1 Multilingual

 

  • 5 kalbų žodynas: ekonomika, politika, teisė : [lietuvių, anglų, prancūzų, vokiečių, rusų kalbų atitikmenys / sudarytojai Ema Irenė Volungevičienė, Rasa Laurušonienė, Rasa Tamošaitienė]. - Vilnius: Teisinės informacijos centras, 2006. - 895, [1] p. - Pilna antr.: Penkių kalbų žodynas: ekonomika, politika, teisė. - ISBN 9955-557-84-2 (įr.)

           

16.2 English-Lithuanian

 

  • Aiškinamasis anglų-lietuvių kalbų teisės ir verslo žodynas / Vita Bitinaitė, Diana Snapkauskaitė. - Vilnius: Registrų centras, 2013. - 613, [1] p. ; 24 cm. ISBN 978-9955-30-118-9 (įr.)
  • Mokomasis anglų-lietuvių kalbų teisės terminų žodynas: 3500 žodžių, 13 200 žodžių junginių / Vita Bitinaitė. - 3-iasis patais. ir papild. leid. - Vilnius: Eugrimas, 2008 (Kaunas: Spindulys). - 283, [1] p. - ISBN 978-9955-790-25-9 (įr.)
  • Mokomasis anglų-lietuvių kalbų teisetvarkos žodynas / Lietuvos teisės universitetas. - Vilnius: LTU Leidybos centras, 2001. – 127 p.- ISBN 9955-442-42-5.
  • Anglų-lietuvių kalbų teisės žodynas = English-Lithuanian law dictionary / Olimpija Armalytė, Lionginas Pažūsis. - Vilnius: Alma Littera, 1998. - 524 p. - ISBN 9986-02-492-7.
  •  

 

16.3 German-Lithuanian

 

  • Vokiečių-lietuvių kalbų žodynas ekonomistams, teisininkams ir verslininkams = Deutsch-litauisches Wörterbuch für Wirtschaftler, Juristen und Geschäftsleute / Yvonne Goldammer, Sigitas Plaušinaitis, Paulius Jurčys ; [Lietuvos prekybos, pramonės ir amatų rūmų asociacija], Kaunas, Arx Baltica, 2007
  • Vokiečių-lietuvių kalbų žodynas teisininkams = Deutsch-litauisches Wörterbuch für Juristen / Yvonne Goldammer, Sigitas Plaušinaitis. - Vilnius: TEV, 2005. - 170, [1] p. - ISBN 9955-491-89-2
  • Vokiečių-lietuvių kalbų teisėtvarkos žodynas / Mykolo Romerio universitetas. – Vilnius: Mykolo Romerio  universiteto Leidybos centras, 2004. - 314, [1] p. - ISBN 9955-563-85-0 (įr.)
  • Vokiečių-lietuvių kalbų teisės ir verslo terminų žodynas / Romaldas Rakucevičius. - Vilnius: [R. Rakucevičius], 2004 (Vilnius: Žygimantų sp.). - 295, [1] p. - ISBN 9955-425-91-1
  • Vokiečių-lietuvių, lietuvių-vokiečių kalbu teisės terminų žodynas = Deutsch-litauisches, litauisch-deutsches juristisches Wörterbuch / E. Volungevičienė. - Vilnius: Žodynas, 1995. - 284 p. - ISBN 9986-465-22-2.

 

17. Legal Publishers

 

The main legal publishers in Lithuania are:

 

 

18. Legal E-Guides

 

 

19. Law E-Articles, E-Books, etc.

 

 

Mykolas Romeris University E-Books platform for e-books published by the Lithuanian publishers.

 

20. Legal News

 

 

21. Miscellaneous

 

 

 



[1] National Courts Administration, Judicial System of the Republic of Lithuania. ]. [accessed on 03.06.2013]. < http://www.teismai.lt/en/courts/judicial-system/>.

[2] National Courts Administration, Judicial System of the Republic of Lithuania. ]. [accessed on 03.06.2013]. < http://www.teismai.lt/en/courts/judicial-system/>.