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Legal market overview
Geneva and Zurich are the key legal centres of Switzerland, with Basel, Berne, Lugano and Lausanne also featuring prominently. Zurich, the country’s largest city and its financial centre, is home to the majority of leading banking and capital markets lawyers. Geneva, in the French-speaking west, is the location of choice for many international organisations for arbitration and litigation.
Switzerland’s banking and private client markets were rocked in August 2013 by a joint statement issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Finance and the US Department of Justice regarding a programme to encourage Swiss banks to co-operate in DoJ’s ongoing investigation into the use of foreign bank accounts for tax evasion.
Language barriers between the German-speaking east of the country, the Francophone west and the Italian-speaking area in the south shape the legal landscape, and mean that most of the national law firms have several offices across the different regions.
Geneva-based firm Lalive opened an office in Zurich and hired two well-known partners from Walder Wyss Ltd, while the latter firm opened a new office in Lugano. Both firms are part of a well-established group of national players which includes Baker & McKenzie, Bär & Karrer AG, Homburger, Lenz & Staehelin, Niederer Kraft & Frey AG and Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd. CMS now has an office in Geneva as well as Zurich following its merger in January 2014 with ZPG Avocats.
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TTIP, the free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between the United States and the European Union, if successfully concluded by both parties will create the single most important common market in the world where more than one third of the world economic output is already being produced in these two sovereign blocks. A possible establishment of such a significant common market with its specific emphasis on legal compliance across the Atlantic between these two jurisdictions, will inevitably have wider legal and economic consequences for several different business sectors. The issue has already been on the agenda for the American Defense industry which has been keeping a keen eye on the latest developments in the TTIP negotiations.
Background of the Reform
On March 3, 2013, the Swiss people voted in a nationwide ballot in favor of the so called “rip-off” initiative by the businessman-turned-politician Thomas Minder...
Dividing an estate can be - depending on its complexity and on the behavior of the heirs - quite complicated. Swiss Law gives a possibility to heirs and/or executors to call upon the State authorities to assist them in liquidating the deceased person's estate.
Foreign insolvency administrators facing the task of recovering assets located in Switzerland typically find themselves in an uncomfortable legal situation since:
Much importance is attached to the collaboration between the different communities in the Canton of Zurich. There is hardly any community today which, because of the number and complexity of their obligations, does not need to find it necessary to collaborate.
Inheritance contracts are only one possibility among many other matters to be kept in mind when trying to regulate one's own estate. Estate planning is, however, much more than just drawing up a will or setting up a trust or an inheritance contract. Estate planning has to be understood as an overall plan to regulate matters, while keeping in mind the possibility of retirement and the certainty of death with all appropriate consideration to the different areas of law. Following a decision recently published by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, this article tries to summarize the most important issues regarding inheritance contracts under Swiss law in an international environment.
The Swiss Federal Patent Court has recently issued a decision of relevance regarding provisional measures relating to patents. It specifies that, at least in the field of intellectual property – not only patents –, a preliminary injunction may not be obtained in order to ascertain rights on intellectual property.
Am 1. Januar 2013 treten die neuen Verjährungsfristen für die Gewährleistung im Kauf und werkvertragsrecht in Kraft.
Am 1.1.2013 wird das Börsenrecht verschärft. Die Kontrollprämie bei öffentlichen Übernahmen wird abgeschafft, das Insiderrecht wird ausgedehnt und die FINMA erhält mehr Kompetenzen. ...
Tencent has acquired ownership in Miniclip Group SA. Headquartered in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Miniclip is a digital games company which develops, publishes and distributes mobile and online games to around 70 million monthly active users across mobile, social and online platforms. Tencent, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is one of the largest internet companies worldwide based on market capitalization and provides services such as social networks, web portals, e-commerce, and multiplayer online games.
Valora has completed the acquisition of LS Distribution Suisse, which holds all shares in Naville, the leading integrated small-outlet retailer in French-speaking Switzerland. Naville operates an outlet network encompassing more than 175 units and also has one of the main logistics platforms in French-speaking Switzerland.
Capita, a UK leader in business process management and outsourcing solutions, has successfully completed its previously announced acquisition of avocis, a leading provider of customer contact management services in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, from its former owners.
On 22 April 2014, Novartis announced that it had agreed to acquire GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) oncology products and to divest its vaccines business (excluding flu) to GSK. Moreover, Novartis and GSK had agreed to combine Novartis OTC and GSKs consumer health businesses in a joint venture. In a separate transaction, Novartis had agreed to divest its animal health business to Eli Lilly.
We are pleased to announce that Désirée Wiesendanger became partner of the firm on January 1, 2015. She specializes in financial markets law.
Bär & Karrer is delighted to announce that, as of 1 February 2015, Robert J. Danon, Professor of Swiss and International Tax Law at the University of Lausanne, will join Bär & Karrer as Counsel and further strengthen its tax practice group.
Michele Bernasconi, partner at Bär & Karrer, was recently assigned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to lead the first hearing in a CAS matter held at the court's Abu Dhabi branch. The case related to an Indian swimmer that filed an appeal with CAS against a sanction of two years ban, imposed by the Indian National Anti-Doping Agency.
Tina Wüstemann, who heads Bär & Karrer's private client department, was honored in the 2015 Citywealth Power Women Awards, which took place in London on 22 January 2015. She won a Silver Award in the category "Woman of the Year: Leadership (Professional services)". Awards were handed out to individuals and companies that support female leadership and diversity within the wealth management sector. The winners were selected from a shortlist of candidates drawn up by ten judges, all prominent figures from the wealth industry. Additional online voting was verified by an independent third Party.
Walgreen Co., the largest drug store chain in the United States, has completed the acquisition of the remaining 55% equity ownership in Alliance Boots GmbH, the Swiss parent company of a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group. Walgreens had acquired 45% in Alliance Boots GmbH in 2012 with the option to proceed to a full combination by acquiring the remaining 55%.
We are pleased to announce that we elected Daniel Leu as partner as of 1 January 2015. Daniel Leu, a Certified Inheritance Law Specialist, advises private clients on corporate and estate planning, on the handling of estates, in connection with foundations and trusts and on questions in connection with the place of residence. Other areas of work include advising clients who buy or sell real estate in Switzerland and art law.