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The unified Swiss Code of Civil Procedure: a major development in Swiss litigation

October 2010 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Lalive.

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The unified Swiss Code of Civil Procedure (“SCCP”) will enter into force on 1 January 2011. It will mark one of the most important developments in the Swiss legal order since the unification of the substantive law in civil, commercial, and criminal matters at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Currently, each of the twenty-six cantons has its own code of civil procedure. These codes can differ substantially from each other given the varying influence of the Germanic and French legal traditions prevailing in Switzerland. In addition, the Federal Constitution and several federal statutes also contain procedural rules. Finally, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has developed unwritten civil procedural law on several basic issues. This multiplicity of rules makes it both onerous and complex to take legal action in Switzerland and has been a source of legal uncertainty. The SCCP aims to eliminate these obstacles by way of a uniform civil procedural law. It is a relatively concise code of 408 articles regulating civil procedure and domestic arbitration. It largely draws on the existing cantonal codes, in particular those of the Swiss-German cantons. Its key features are as follows.


Sandrine Giroud, In: Litigation, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution 2010 (Digital Guide,, pp. 141-144


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