Switzerland – Extra juris

2 National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights 2020-23

2.3 Pillar 3: access to remedy


2.3.1 Foundational principle

Guiding Principle 25

The Federal Council also acknowledges its responsibility to facilitate access to Swiss grievance mechanisms where business enterprises based in Switzerland are involved in human rights abuses abroad, and those affected in the host state have no appropriate access to effective remedy. In such instances, due consideration must be given to a smart mix of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms.


2.3.2 Operational principles: state judicial mechanisms

Guiding Principle 26

Domestic judicial mechanisms (the courts) may be used to determine matters involving business-related human rights abuses. The federal government intends to ensure the effectiveness of these mechanisms by devising measures to reduce legal, practical and other hurdles that could prevent those affected from gaining access to remedy. These measures should pay particular attention to the additional obstacles that women may face.

In this context, it is necessary to consider the extra-territorial dimension of any judicial mechanisms. The Federal Council therefore supports efforts to achieve a better understanding of the relevant frameworks in different countries, and encourages international processes. Under certain circumstances, it is possible under Swiss law for individuals who believe that their rights have been violated by Swiss companies to bring an action or appeal before Swiss courts. Whether Swiss courts have jurisdiction to hear and determine such cases and the governing law must be assessed on a case-by-case basis with reference to applicable legal provisions.