Swiss Civil Procedure Law in a Nutshell (Volume 6 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.

Inter Partes Effect of Judgments

In general, judgments only have effect between the parties to the proceedings (inter partes). This limited scope also has an effect on lis pendens and res iudicata.

Notice to Third Parties

A party may give notice to a third party if, in the event of being unsuccessful, it might have a claim against or be subject to a claim by the third party. The notified party is also allowed to give notice to a further party. The effect of a third-party notice is that a decision unfavourable to the principal party is generally also effective against the recipient of the notice.

Enjoining of a Third Party

A party who wishes to take recourse against a third party in the case of a negative judgment, or fears that it may be held liable by such third party, can, therefore, formally involve that third party in the proceedings (art. 78 CPC, litis denuntiatio). It may even request the Court to rule on its relation regarding that third party within the same proceedings (art. 81 CPC).

Substitution of a Party

The substitution of a party is possible if the object in dispute is sold in the course of the proceedings (art. 83(1) CPC). In any other case, the substitution of a party is only permitted if the opposing party agrees. Special legal provisions apply to legal succession.

Third Party Interventions

A person who claims to have a better right to the object in dispute files a claim directly against both parties in the Court of first instance in which the dispute is pending (art. 73 CPC).

A person who is not a party to the dispute and who shows a credible legal interest in having the pending dispute decided in favour of one of the parties is permitted to intervene at any time as an accessory party and submit a respective intervention application to the Court (art. 74 CPC). Before deciding on the application, the Court must hear the parties. The effect of such intervention is that a decision that is unfavourable to the principal party is generally also effective against the intervening party except under certain conditions set out by law, such as the principal party's wilful or grossly negligent failure to make use of offensive or defensive measures of which the intervening party had no knowledge (art. 77 CPC).

Prior volumes: Volume 1, Court System and Legal Profession; Volume 2, Jurisdiction; Volume 3, Commencement and Conduct of Proceedings; Volume 4, Injunctive Relief; Volume 5, Court Decisions

What's up next: Volume 7, Evidence and Proof