Generally, a local administrative unit (LAU) is an area of governmental administration below a province, region, state or other major national subdivision. Not all countries will use this term, but it can be descriptively applied anywhere.
Specifically, in the European Union (EU), LAUs are basic components of Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) regions. Two levels of Local Administrative Units (LAU) have been defined. The upper LAU level (LAU level 1, formerly NUTS level 4) is defined only for the following countries: Finland, Germany Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The second LAU level (formerly NUTS level 5) consists of 95,152 municipalities or equivalent units in the 15 EU Member States (2003 situation).