Swiss Civil Procedure Law in a Nutshell (Volume 11 of 12)
This blog series provides litigators and corporate counsel from other jurisdictions with a practical understanding of the mechanics, advantages, and limits of litigation before State Courts in Switzerland.
Enforcement of Money Claims
Money claims are enforced by virtue of the Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law. The creditor may either initiate enforcement by virtue of an ex parte freezing order (attachment) or else by a normal summons to pay.
Enforcement of Non-Monetary Judgments
All other judgments are enforced according to the principles stated in the CPC. As the case may be, the judgment can be enforced directly (e.g., clearance of a leased property), the debtor may be forced to comply by virtue of a threatened fine, a third party may be ordered, or authorised, to fulfil in lieu of the debtor, a public register may be ordered to change an entry ex officio or the judgment may be converted into a damages claim (that, in turn, is enforced as a normal claim for payment).
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
Swiss law is very liberal as regards the enforcement of foreign judgments. Switzerland is a party to the Lugano Convention and, therefore, recognises and enforces virtually all European judgments in civil and commercial matters.
For all matters that do not fall within the scope of the convention, as well as for judgments from all other jurisdictions, recognition and enforcement are governed by the Private International Law Act (PILA). As a general rule, final and binding foreign judgments are enforced when the jurisdiction of the ruling foreign Court is acceptable from a Swiss perspective and neither the proceedings nor the judgment as such are against Swiss Public Order (arts. 25-27 PILA).
Freezing of Assets as Starting Point in Enforcement Proceedings
Like the creditor of a domestic judgment, the creditor of an enforceable foreign judgment is entitled to a freezing order, if adequate, as a (non-compulsory) starting point to the enforcement proceedings (see separate article on attachment).