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Swiss Legal System

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    Marc Thommen
    Swiss Legal System

    I.Facts and Figures



    1.Federal Assembly

    2.Federal Council

    3.Federal Supreme Court



    VI.Direct Democracy

    1.Federal Level

    2.Cantonal Level

    3.Communal Level

    VII.Legislative Process

    VIII.Publication of Federal Laws

    IX.Case Citation

    1.Official Compilation (BGE)

    2.Publication Online

    3.Public Pronouncement

    4.Press Releases

    Selected Bibliography

    The purpose of this chapter is to give an “introduction to the introduction” to Swiss Law.1 After the discussion of some facts and figures (I.) and a very short glimpse at the historical events that led to the founding of the Switzerland we know today (II.), the federal structure of the Swiss confederation (III.), the cantons (IV.), and the communes (V.) are explained in detail. Subsequently, the main features of direct democracy in Switzerland (VI.), the legislation process (VII.), the publication of federal laws (VIII.), and the citation and publication of the case law (IX.) are examined.

    1For an excellent (official) introduction see: The Swiss Confederation – A Brief Guide, 2018, (

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