It’s August 1 – Happy Swiss National Day!
The roots of Switzerland’s confederation go all the way back to the year 1291, although the federal state of Switzerland that we currently know was not founded until 1848.
Switzerland is a constitutional parliamentary democracy, comprised of a confederation of 26 “cantons,” or states. The federal government has three branches: legislative (Federal Assembly or Parliament), executive (Federal Council), and judicial (Federal Tribunals). Each canton also has its own government.
Switzerland is generally divided into language-based regions. It has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansch.
Switzerland, famous throughout the world for its neutrality, is actually a member of several international organizations, including the United Nations and the Council of Europe. It also maintains a close partnership, in trading and other matters, with the European Union through a series of bilateral agreements.
Are you interested in learning more about Switzerland and the Swiss legal system? Here are some resources to get you started!
Legal Research Guides
- GlobaLex: The Swiss Legal System and Research
- Law Library of Congress Guide to Law Online: Switzerland
- Foreign Law Guide: Switzerland (Pepperdine Wavenet user credentials required)
English-Language Swiss Federal Government Resources
- Web Portal: The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation
- Swiss Federal Department of Justice and the Police
- Swiss Federal Assembly
- Swiss Federal Council
- Introduction to the Federal Judiciary of Switzerland (note that the official court websites are not available in English)
If you are a Pepperdine law student, and you need help researching Swiss law, contact the law library’s Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Librarian, Jennifer Allison (who speaks and reads German).