Switzerland’s legal system

The legal system of Switzerland is based on civil law and consists of three main components: the federal, cantonal, and communal laws. The Swiss Federal Constitution serves as the basis of the federal legal system, and the cantons have their own constitutions and laws, which are subordinate to the federal law. The communal laws are established by the communes themselves.

The Swiss civil law system is highly decentralized, with three separate levels of jurisdiction and more than 2,600 municipal and cantonal laws. The Swiss Federal Supreme Court is the highest court in the country and is the final court of appeal for all federal cases.

The Swiss legal system is based on the principle of stare decisis, meaning that the decisions of the courts are binding on all lower courts. This principle also applies to lower courts, which must follow the decisions of higher courts.

The legal system in Switzerland is largely based on Roman law, with German and French influences. This system is known as codified law, which means that the laws are written down in codes and statutes. Common law, which is based on judge-made decisions, is not used in the Swiss legal system.