The Government Council derives its constitutional legitimacy from the provisions of Chapter V of the Constitution. The organisation of the government, as provided for by Article 76 of the Constitution, is regulated in its current form by the royal grand-ducal decree of 9 July 1857 on the organisation of the grand-ducal government. This royal grand-ducal decree, since modified on several occasions, is still the legal basis for this matter today.
The Government Council meets on a weekly basis at the Ministry of State (Hôtel St Maximin), the seat of government, in order to deliberate all the matters on the agenda which is decided by the Prime Minister, President of the Government Council. All ministers may refer a matter regarding their department to the Government Council.
All matters submitted to the Grand Duke must be deliberated beforehand at the Government Council. Equally, the Government Council deliberates on government bills that are submitted to the Chamber of Deputies.
The amended royal grand-ducal decree of 9 July 1957 provides that decisions of the Government Council are adopted by a majority vote. In the event of a split vote, the vote cast by the President, the Prime Minister, is the overriding vote. However, in Luxembourg's political tradition, the decisions of the Government Council are taken by consensus, so resorting to a vote is the exception.
Any measure taken in the Government Council is the responsibility of all members of the government who contributed to this measure. However, ministers who cast a dissenting vote as recorded in the minutes of the meeting of the Government Council are exempt from responsibility.
The Government Council is assisted by the Secretary General of the Government Council, a department overseen by the Prime Minister. The Secretary General of the Government Council, as well as the Deputy Secretary General are chosen by the government among the senior officials. They may be withdrawn at any time and their role comes to an end at the end of the government's mandate.
The Secretary General of the Government Council prepares the meetings of the Government Council, takes part in them, drafts the minutes of the meetings and ensures that the decisions taken by the Council are implemented. He/she may also be given other duties by the Government Council.