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Edited by Jan M. Smits
Chapter 45: Lithuania
The Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublika) is one of the three Baltic States (the other two are Estonia and Latvia) that joined the European Union in May 2004. The Lithuanian legal system rightly may be qualified as a civil law system considering that a significant portion of its civil, public and criminal law is codified. In 2001, the new Civil Code (Civilinis Kodeksas) entered into force and in 2003, the new Penal Code (Baudziamasis Kodeksas) took effect. Procedural law is also codified. Thus Lithuanians have a Code of Civil Procedure (Civilinio Proceso Kodeksas) and Code of Criminal Procedure (Baudziamojo Proceso Kodeksas). In terms of legal families, the Lithuanian legal system may be described as a hybrid of the French and German legal families. The new Lithuanian Civil Code supports this thesis: its strict structure and abstract wording are reminiscent of the German Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch. However, the influence of the French Code Civil may also be perceived. The official language of Lithuania is Lithuanian: all statute law and cases are drafted in Lithuanian. Court proceedings are also conducted in Lithuanian.
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