Switzerland 1999 Constitution (reviewed 2014)

Table of Contents

Chapter 4. Federal Supreme Court and other Judicial Authorities

Article 188. Status

  1. The Federal Supreme Court is the supreme judicial authority of the Confederation.
  2. Its organisation and procedure are governed by law.
  3. The Federal Supreme Court has its own administration.

Article 189. Jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court

    1. The Federal Supreme Court hears disputes concerning violations of:
      1. federal law;
      2. international law;
      3. inter-cantonal law;
      4. cantonal constitutional rights;
      5. the autonomy of the communes and other cantonal guarantees in favour of public law corporations;
      6. federal and cantonal provisions on political rights.


[This para. in its version of Federal Decree of 4 Oct. 2002 never came into force.]

  1. It hears disputes between the Confederation and Cantons or between Cantons.
  2. The jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court may be extended by law.
  3. Acts of the Federal Assembly or the Federal Council may not be challenged in the Federal Supreme Court. Exceptions may be provided for by law.

Article 190. Applicable law

The Federal Supreme Court and the other judicial authorities apply the federal acts and international law.

Article 191. Access to the Federal Supreme Court

  1. Access to the Federal Supreme Court is guaranteed by law.
  2. For disputes that do not relate to a legal issue of fundamental importance, the law may stipulate a threshold for the amount in dispute.
  3. The law may exclude access to the Federal Supreme Court in relation to specific matters.
  4. The law may provide for a simplified procedure for appeals that are manifestly unfounded.

Article 191a. Other federal judicial authorities

  1. The Confederation shall appoint a criminal court, which hears at first instance criminal cases that by law come under federal jurisdiction. The law may confer further powers on the Federal Criminal Court.
  2. The Confederation shall appoint judicial authorities to hear public law disputes that come under the jurisdiction of the Federal Administration.
  3. The law may provide for further federal judicial authorities.

Article 191b. Cantonal judicial authorities

  1. The Cantons shall appoint judicial authorities to judge civil and public law disputes and criminal law cases.
  2. They may appoint joint judicial authorities.

Article 191c. Independence of the judiciary

The judicial authorities are independent in the exercise of their judicial powers and are bound only by the law.