Sovereign immunity—Switzerland—Q&A guide
Sovereign immunity—Switzerland—Q&A guide

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sovereign immunity—Switzerland—Q&A guide
  • 1. What is the general approach to the concept of sovereign immunity in your state?
  • 2. What is the legal basis for the doctrine of sovereign immunity in your state?
  • 3. Is your state a party to any multilateral treaties on sovereign immunity? Has the state made any reservations or declarations regarding the treaties?
  • 4. Describe domestic law governing the scope of jurisdictional immunity.
  • 5. How can the state, or its various organs and instrumentalities, waive immunity or consent to the exercise of jurisdiction?
  • 6. In which types of transactions or proceedings do states not enjoy immunity from suit (even without the state’s consent or waiver)? How does the law of your country assess whether a transaction falls into one of these categories?
  • 7. If one of the exceptions to sovereign immunity set out above applies, is there any related principle that could prevent a court having jurisdiction over the state?
  • 8. To what extent do proceedings against a state enterprise or similar entity affect the immunity enjoyed by the state? Is there precedent for piercing the corporate veil to subject the state itself to those proceedings?
  • 9. What is the nexus the plaintiff needs to have standing to bring a claim against a state?
  • More...

Sovereign immunity—Switzerland—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to sovereign immunity in Switzerland published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: June 2020).

Authors: LALIVE—Sandrine Giroud; Veijo Heiskanen; Anton Vallélian

1. What is the general approach to the concept of sovereign immunity in your state?

Switzerland has adopted a restrictive concept of state immunity. Accordingly, it distinguishes between matters involving foreign states acting in a sovereign capacity, acta jure imperii, and matters involving foreign states acting in a private capacity, acta jure gestionis. In the case of acta jure imperii, state immunity applies, and the state cannot be a party to proceedings before Swiss courts, nor can its assets be subject to measures of constraint. In the case of acta jure gestionis, legal actions may be brought against a foreign state before a Swiss court, provided that the transaction out of which the claim against the foreign state arises has a connection to Switzerland.

2. What is the legal basis for the doctrine of sovereign immunity in your state?

There is no specific legislation concerning sovereign immunity in Switzerland. The issue is mainly governed by case law, in particular that of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court and international treaties to which Switzerland is a party.

3. Is your state a party to any multilateral treaties on sovereign immunity? Has the

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