Civil Law in Switzerland

Civil Law in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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Civil-Law-in-SwizterlandCivil Regulations in Switzerland

Switzerland’s civil law is based on the Germanic law system and on the French legal system. The Swiss civil law is a three-layer system as it was adapted at the country’s political division: the Confederation, the cantons and the municipalities. The Swiss civil laws are hierarchically structured: the federal laws are above cantonal laws, the constitution governs over statutes and statutes have seniority over the governments and municipalities’ legislation.

The Swiss Code of Civil Procedure is the main legal instrument of the civil procedure and it was enabled in January 2011. The Code of Civil Procedure in Switzerland has gathered all sets of laws and regulations from all judicial levels.

The Swiss Code of Obligations

The Swiss Code of Obligations was enabled in 1912 and it contains Switzerland’s laws on contracts and corporations, in other words the private law.

The Code of Obligations is divided into:

  1. General Provisions, a set of rules that apply to all commercial relations;
  2. Types of Contractual Relationship, that separates contracts into sales, lease, employment, work and service contracts;
  3. Commercial Enterprises and Cooperatives that states the types of Swiss companies and their structure;
  4. The Commercial Register, Business Names, and Commercial Accounting which is the registry where all companies are recorded;
  5. Negotiable Securities, the last part of the Code of Obligations.

The Private International Law Act in Switzerland

The Swiss Private International Law Act contains all the provisions for civil procedures. The Private International Law Act has jurisdiction over legislative and executive administrations, over applicable laws, over the rules of recognition and application of international resolutions, in cases of bankruptcy, and international mediation. Being part of The Hague Conference on Private International Law, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and International Institute for the Unification of Private law (UNIDROIT), Switzerland has taken into consideration all international treaties and set general regulations accordingly.

The Swiss law on debt collection and bankruptcy is one of country’s main legal instruments and it enables financial claims and protection against companies and private persons.

If you want to open a company or need information about the civil code you can ask our lawyers in Switzerland.