The Legal Commission of the National Council decided at its meeting last Friday to postpone the decision regarding the adoption of the bill, as too many questions remain open. SwissHoldings supports this decision. The business is not ready for political discussion. The Federal Council is looking at the issue from too limited a perspective. In addition, it does not take into account the developments abroad in recent years, the new technological possibilities and possible alternatives to class actions before the courts.

On December 10, 2021, the Federal Council presented the class action bill and passed it for the attention of parliament. The bill provides for the expansion of the existing class action, the creation of a new class action for the assertion of compensation claims, and the possibility of settlements declared binding by the courts. The business community is critical of these plans, which the Federal Council would like to establish without prior consultation, and has already submitted a joint submission in view of the preliminary deliberations of the Legal Committee of the National Council (RK-N). The RK-N shares this view in principle and instructed the responsible Federal Department of Justice (FDJP) to carry out further clarifications on the Federal Council’s proposal. Furthermore, it decided by 14 votes to 5 with 5 abstentions not to clarify the question of accession until these additional clarifications are available. Among other things, the FDJP must carry out a regulatory impact assessment. The RK-N also demands a more comprehensive legal comparison of collective action rights in selected EU states from the FDJP.

Collective actions lead to a drastic paradigm shift for affected companies
SwissHoldings welcomes this approach. Switzerland would do well to decide on the introduction of such far-reaching instruments based on a careful analysis of the initial situation and in consideration of all relevant factors. Recent developments have shown that the introduction of new class action instruments in EU member states have led to considerable difficulties – not least against the backdrop of new technological possibilities (keyword “legal tech” such as blockchain, distributed ledgers, debt collection platforms, etc.). In addition, enforcing claims through legal channels is costly. Especially when collectivized claims are sued, the litigation costs and also the litigation risks increase. This is all the more true since the bill would theoretically make it possible to assert plaintiffs’ claims from all over the world in a concentrated manner before a Swiss court.

There is no urgency
The quality of the Swiss legal system is already above average in international comparison. The revision of the CCP, which is currently underway and not yet completed (Business 20.026), will result in a further improvement in access to court.

For information:
Denise Laufer │ Member of the Executive Board │ 076 407 02 48
Pascal Nussbaum │ Head of Communications & Public Affairs │ 079 798 52 40

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