There are four federal courts. The highest court is the Federal Supreme Court, which rules in the final instance on cases from almost all areas of law. The three federal courts of first instance have different tasks. The Federal Criminal Court is responsible for criminal matters of particular importance to the Swiss Confederation as well as for appeals concerning international mutual assistance in criminal matters. The Federal Administrative Court rules on appeals against rulings of the federal administrative authorities and the Federal Patent Court on disputes over invention patents.
Procedures in the Swiss legal system
The federal courts are located at four sites
In 2021 approximately 14,000 cases were closed
Cantonal courts or the federal courts of
first instance rule in the first and second instance. If the parties concerned
do not agree with a decision, they can take their case to the Federal Supreme Court.
The Federal Supreme Court Act regulates the conditions under which an appeal is
Election of judges
The judges of the federal courts are elected by the United Federal Assembly for a term of office of 6 years. Re-election is possible without restriction. At the latest, judges leave office at the end of their 68th year of age.
The United Federal Assembly also elects the presidents and vice-presidents of the courts. The presidential term of office is 2 years (with the exception of the Federal Patent Court: 6 years). A one-time re-election is possible.