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Switzerland - Legal System
The cantonal laws are determined by each individual canton, rather like state legislation in the United States. This is unlike the UK, where national legislation for England and Wales applies to all residents of those countries, and likewise Scottish law is applicable to residents of Scotland, with no significant legal powers exercised by counties or other regional sub-divisions.
Switzerland has a variety of bar associations at cantonal level plus a Swiss Bar Association (G: Schweizerische Anwaltsverband, F: Fédération Suisse des Avocats) at federal level. Likewise, there are many cantonal and several federal law associations. If seeking a legal professional, you can use an online search on the website of the Swiss Bar Association or other online directories such as the EU Lawyers & Solicitors Directory. Alternatively, use a general location-based search directory such as gate24.ch which has a Law/Finances/Property section, within which you can find Law/Lawyer/Notary listings for your location.
For minor tenancy law issues, you can use the mediation services of your local Tenants Association (G: Mieterverband, F: Association des locataires).
Crimes in Switzerland that are not punishable by prison sentences normally attract fines, and these may be levied according to your ability to pay. While many laws are strictly imposed, a blind eye is sometimes turned to minor misdemeanours. However, do not count on the authorities showing leniency simply because you are a foreigner. In a culture that thrives on respect, you can also find your behaviour being verbally corrected by concerned Swiss citizens.
Swiss Bar Association
Schweizerischer Anwaltsverband, Marktgasse 4, Postfach 8321, CH 3001 Bern
Tel: +41 31 313 06 06
Classified Compilation of Federal Legislation
Electronic Search for a Lawyer (by location)
Location-based Search Directory in English
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