A man picks an apple from a tree behind a bee house in Gretzenbach, a small village between Olten and Aarau. At first glance, one might perceive this as the most typically Swiss scene imaginable. A closer look, however, reveals some interesting details. On the left is the Wat Srinagarindravararam, Switzerland’s biggest Buddhist temple, while at the back right the cooling tower of the nuclear power plant of Gösgen-Däniken is visible. This picture is a part of ‘Heimatland’ (homeland) by the Basel photographer Julian Salinas. In this series of pictures he tries to avoid the well-known clichés and capture Switzerland in all its layers and complexities.
This introduction, too, tries to capture the Swiss legal landscape in all its layers. My colleagues of the University of Zurich Law Faculty have all contributed chapters from their area of expertise. From the foundations of law (history, philosophy, and sociology) to the classical general subjects of public, private, and criminal law, we have tried to cover the most important substantive and procedural aspects of the Swiss legal order. The legislative and executive institutions as well as the judiciary are explained. The chapters all reflect on the underlying principles and give an account of some landmark cases in the specific fields of law.
First of all, I have to thank my colleagues who agreed to participate in this project. Without their expert contributions it would not have been possible to publish this overview of Swiss Law. Further, I would like to thank Julian Salinas for agreeing to the use of his photography. I also owe thanks to Egbert Clement for designing the cover and to Alexander Grossmann for supporting this project as a publisher. My greatest thanks go to Chrissie Symington and Martina Jaussi for their very thorough proof-reading and diligent editing of the manuscripts. Without their tireless and very competent support, this book would not have been published in time.
Zurich, 18 May 2018