Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland

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Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland
Country Switzerland
Location Lausanne, Switzerland
Website bger.ch (de)

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland (German: Bundesgericht, French: Tribunal fédéral, Italian: Tribunal Federale, Romansh: Tribunal Federal) is the supreme court of the Swiss Confederation. As part of the judiciary, it is one of the three branches of government in Switzerland's political system.

It is headquartered in the Federal Courthouse in Lausanne in the canton of Vaud. The two social security departments of the Federal Court (formerly Federal Insurance Court as an organizationally independent unit of the Federal Court), are located in Lucerne. The United Federal Assembly elects the 38 federal judges. The current Federal Court president is Gilbert Kolly.

The Federal Supreme Court is the final arbiter on disputes in the field of civil law (citizens-citizens), the public arena (citizen-state), as well as in disputes between cantons or between cantons and the Confederation. Decisions in the field of human rights violation can be resolved through the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

As a state agency, the Federal Court examines the uniform application of federal law by the cantonal and federal courts. It protects the rights that the citizen has according to the Federal Court. During a dispute, the Federal Supreme Court examines the application of the law and the facts of the other courts below, unless particularly flawed.

According to the Constitution of Switzerland, the court has jurisdiction over violations of:

  • federal law;
  • public international law;
  • intercantonal law;
  • cantonal constitutional rights;
  • autonomy of municipalities, and other guarantees granted by the Cantons to public corporate bodies; and
  • federal and cantonal provisions concerning political rights.

Because of an emphasis on direct democracy through referendum,[citation needed] the Constitution precludes the court from reviewing acts of the Federal Parliament, unless such review is specifically provided for by statute.

Decisions of arbitral tribunals constituted under Swiss law, such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport, can be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court, although judicial review is limited to a very narrow set of questions of law in such cases.

Current and former judges[edit]

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Coordinates: 46°31′10″N 6°38′39″E / 46.51944°N 6.64417°E / 46.51944; 6.64417