Latest updates

Revision of Federal Act on the Reduction of CO2 Emissions
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • December 18 2017

The Federal Council recently published its dispatch regarding the total revision of the Federal Act on the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions for 2021 to 2030. The parliamentary debate on the revision of the act will start in 2018. This will define the development and course of Swiss climate policy for upcoming years. Switzerland aims to tighten the act and reinforce its contribution to the limitation of global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Taxi drivers with central headquarters considered employees for social security purposes
Rihm Rechtsanwälte
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Switzerland
  • December 13 2017

The Federal Supreme Court recently held that independent taxi drivers affiliated with a central headquarters are to be considered employees. Until this decision, taxi drivers connected to their headquarters by follow-up contracts only were considered self-employed. The decision means that drivers will be much better protected in future, although prices will rise for consumers as a result.

Legal framework for group financings under Swiss law
Meyerlustenberger Lachenal
  • Corporate Finance/M&A
  • Switzerland
  • December 13 2017

Switzerland recently decided to facilitate the financing activities of groups operating in or out of Switzerland by easing some restrictions under the Withholding Tax Ordinance. The amendment of the ordinance is meant to strengthen the establishment of headquarter activities with further central corporate functions, as well as treasury activities, particularly those performed outside Switzerland.

Supreme Court reconfirms requirements for appointment of independent tribunal expert
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • December 07 2017

In a recently published decision, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge on the basis that the arbitral tribunal's refusal to appoint a tribunal expert was not a violation of the applicant's right to be heard. With respect to the annulment proceedings and grounds for annulment, this decision seems to express limitations to the formal nature of the right to be heard in adversarial proceedings, at least in respect of the right to adduce evidence.

Switzerland and European Union to link emissions trading systems
Baumgartner Mächler
  • Aviation
  • Switzerland
  • December 06 2017

In order for Switzerland and the European Union to recognise each other's emission allowances through a bilateral agreement, Switzerland is planning to include aviation in its existing emissions trading scheme (ETS) and to link the Swiss and EU ETS. The agreement is scheduled to be signed by the end of 2017, provided that ratification is agreed by the EU and Swiss Parliaments. Once the link between the EU and Swiss ETS is operational, prices for emission allowances should converge.

Fallout of FATF mutual evaluation report on Switzerland
CMS von Erlach Poncet Ltd
  • White Collar Crime
  • Switzerland
  • December 04 2017

In the aftermath of the fourth mutual evaluation of Switzerland's dispositive to combat money laundering and terrorist financing by the Financial Action Task Force, the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority recently published a draft amendment to its Anti-money Laundering Ordinance. The amendment will result in a significant increase of compliance work for all financial intermediaries.

Supreme Court rules on waiver of challenge
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • November 30 2017

In a recently published decision, the Supreme Court held that an arbitration clause contained a valid waiver of challenge against the award. The court also held that such a waiver extended to the applicant's subsidiary request for revision. When interpreting arbitration clauses to determine whether they contain such a waiver, the term 'appeal' should be understood as referring to the remedy that parties have against an award in Switzerland, namely the challenge proceedings.

Revised postal and telecoms surveillance legislation
  • Telecoms
  • Switzerland
  • November 29 2017

The Federal Council recently announced that the revised Postal and Telecommunications Surveillance Act and its implementing ordinances will enter into force in March 2018. The revised act clarifies, strengthens and broadens the powers of the criminal prosecution authorities when it comes to communications surveillance. More specifically, it seeks to prevent situations where criminal suspects could avoid surveillance by using new technologies.

Draft e-ID Act to be prepared by Summer 2018
Walder Wyss
  • IT & Internet
  • Switzerland
  • November 28 2017

Switzerland is in the process of adopting legislation on electronic identification. The Federal Council published a preliminary draft e-ID Act and opened it for consultation by any interested actors. The Federal Council recently shared the consultation findings and commissioned the Federal Department of Justice and Police to prepare a revised draft act by Summer 2018.

Legislative developments in land-use planning
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Real Estate
  • Switzerland
  • November 24 2017

The proposed second part of the Spatial Planning Act revision will give the cantons more flexibility with regard to construction activities outside building zones so that they can consider their individual needs more appropriately. An initiative to stop uncontrolled urban sprawl will oblige the federation, cantons and communities to freeze the present size of building zones and ensure that the zones grow no further.

Regulatory changes and force majeure – impact on lump-sum and build-operate contracts
LALIVE
  • Construction
  • Switzerland
  • November 13 2017

Swiss courts and arbitrators have addressed the interface between force majeure clauses and regulatory changes, and how they impact on the contractor's entitlements. Clauses addressing unforeseen circumstances will be construed in line with the parties' actual intentions. If they cannot be established from the text and surrounding circumstances and evidence, the tribunal will construe the clause objectively, regarding how it can be understood in good faith.

Shareholders' agreements for closely held companies under Swiss law
BADERTSCHER Rechtsanwälte AG
  • Company & Commercial
  • Switzerland
  • November 13 2017

Shareholders of closely held companies often mutually agree on additional contractual rights and duties. However, the company itself cannot be a contract party to a separate shareholders' agreement. Apart from that legal restriction, such shareholders' agreements usually benefit from the contractual freedom of the parties. A recent Federal Court decision confirmed that such agreements may be recharacterised as abusive or contrary to the principle of good faith.

Is surveillance of insured parties lawful?
BADERTSCHER Rechtsanwälte AG
  • Insurance
  • Switzerland
  • October 24 2017

The European Court of Human Rights recently concluded that Switzerland violated Article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention due to surveillance of an insured party. The case brings uncertainty regarding the extent of observation under Swiss law. Article 8 guarantees the fundamental right to respect private and family life. In its statement, the court held that Swiss federal law offers no precise legal basis for photo and video surveillance of insured parties.

FINMA publishes supervisory notification on token sales and ICOs
Meyerlustenberger Lachenal
  • Banking
  • Switzerland
  • October 20 2017

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) recently published a supervisory notification on token sales and initial coin offerings (ICOs). It also announced that it was examining whether several ICOs or their corresponding business models violate supervisory provisions. A FINMA press release cited the marked increase in ICOs carried out in Switzerland in recent months as a reason for its action.

No contractor liability for defects visible at final inspection except concealed defects
LALIVE
  • Construction
  • Switzerland
  • October 09 2017

Employers should keep a watchful eye on contractor variations and ensure that they do not modify any important quality or original requirements specified in the contract. Whatever the length of the contract, the employer is duty bound to notify any deviation from the contract on final inspection. However, the courts will not protect a contractor which has fraudulently concealed a defect or prevented the employer from discovering a defect.

Major steps taken towards linking Swiss and EU emissions trading systems
Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Switzerland
  • October 09 2017

Contrary to the EU emissions trading system (ETS), thus far the Swiss ETS does not incorporate aviation emissions. In order to align and link the Swiss and EU ETS, the Swiss system must include these emissions. As such, the Federal Council recently adopted the Ordinance on the Acquisition and Reporting of Tonne-Kilometre Data relating to Distances Covered by Aircraft.

Federal Council publishes draft of revised Federal Data Protection Act
Walder Wyss
  • IT & Internet
  • Switzerland
  • October 03 2017

The Federal Council recently issued a draft of the revised Federal Data Protection Act. This draft marks yet another decisive step towards the overhaul of the Swiss data protection landscape. The act's revision is an ongoing process intended to modernise Switzerland's data protection landscape and align it with revised EU legislation.

FINMA implements new fintech rules in circular on public deposits with non-banks
Meyerlustenberger Lachenal
  • Banking
  • Switzerland
  • September 22 2017

The revised Banking Ordinance of April 30 2014 regarding new financial technology (fintech) regulations recently entered into force. The purpose of the proposed revisions is to enhance the competitiveness of Switzerland as a major fintech hub and to create an appropriate regulatory framework for fintech companies providing services outside traditional banking business by taking into account the specific risk-profile of their business models and service offering.

Government publishes detailed draft for corporate tax reform
Walder Wyss
  • Corporate Tax
  • Switzerland
  • September 22 2017

The government recently published a new detailed draft for a corporate tax reform. The purpose of this new draft is to set the basis for new rules on corporate tax (the last proposal having been rejected in a nationwide referendum) and to secure Switzerland's overall attractiveness as a business location. The draft includes several measures that have been discussed in the past, but it also addresses the criticism that contributed to the rejection in the February referendum.

Supreme Court partially annuls award for violation of right to be heard
Tavernier Tschanz
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Switzerland
  • September 14 2017

In a recently published decision, the Supreme Court partially annulled an award on the grounds that the arbitral tribunal had failed to take into account the claimant's argument in support of one of its prayers for relief. The dispute arose in connection with a tourism project regarding the construction and operation of a hotel and casino in the West Bank. The agreement was governed by Swiss law and provided for arbitration in Zurich.