Law

Jörg Schmid

Die Entstehung von Gesetzen in der Schweiz

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The Process of Law Making in Switzerland This paper explores the importance of the law-making process from the Swiss perspective. After explaining the term »preparatory works« ( Gesetzesmaterialien, »legislative materials«, i.e. materials which document the process of the formation of a new act or section) and distinguishing different types thereof, the article presents the formative players in Swiss legislation. In Switzerland, these are the Federal Council (government) and the Federal Assembly (parliament). The Federal Council submits bills to the Federal Assembly which are explained in the Federal Council's Dispatch ( Botschaft des Bundesrates ). The Federal Assembly (with its two chambers: the National Council and the Council of States) is the formal legislative power on the federal level. The Federal Council's drafts and explanations are debated by the Federal Assembly and are often explicitly or implicitly approved. In other cases the texts are modified and the Federal Assembly creates its own rationale. As an exception, a statutory rule does not derive from parliament, but from a majority of the electorate and the cantons (approved popular initiative). As there are no law commissions in Switzerland, it is academic opinion and jurisprudence which indicate the need for legal reforms. The article furthermore explores the meaning of the law-making process for the interpretation and gap-filling of statutes. Firstly, the author explains how Swiss law is interpreted in general. Secondly, he examines how the Federal Supreme Court applies a purposive approach particularly when interpreting recently enacted statutory law. However, the Federal Supreme Court employs the purposive approach in a rather »result-oriented« way (called »pluralism of methods«). Thirdly, the author argues that unpublished preparatory documents (i.e. preparatory works that are not open to the public) must not be taken into account for the interpretation of the law.
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Jörg Schmid No current data available.