Le rayonnement international du droit Suisse | LegalAnthology | December 04, 2014


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Le rayonnement international du droit Suisse

 [The international radiation of Swiss law]

a) Background

The text was published in the Zeitschrift für Schweizerisches Recht (Journal of Swiss Law), the leading law journal in Switzerland. In the text Pierre Tercier speaks to the students at the dies academicus, as Americans would say, the day school starts. It deals with the Swiss perspective on the radiation and importance of Swiss law internationally and deals with actual contributions of Swiss law to other legal systems and legal cultures. The text forms a bridge to the contributions of Peter Nobel  and Carl Baudenbacher in this chapter and of the collection and texts of Peter Häberle, Heinrich Schneider and Denis de Rougemont in the chapter Europeanization which deal from a Swiss and non-Swiss perspective with the potential contributions Swiss law might offer in a European context based upon its history.

Pierre Tercier is an Emerite Professor of Civil Law with a bilingual background at the University of Fribourg. His international education and academic professional activities, including international commercial arbitration as President of the court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, took him far beyond his activities Switzerland.

b) Summary

The text seeks to incite the curiosity of law students in Swiss law by looking at its effects and influences in the past outside of Switzerland. It argues, that in times of notorious insecurities about one's own identity, law as an eminent social cultural phenomenon should be recalled into reality and lead to a more affirmative attitude of the students, teachers and practitioners towards law and legal culture in Switzerland. The influence of Swiss law outside of Switzerland is primarily analyzed from a private law perspective and explained by the almost literal adoption of the codification of Swiss civil law by the Republic of Turkey in 1926. It is an interesting fact, that the law of a country, which at the time of formation of the codification had 3.5 million inhabitants, should govern the private relationships of a country, which at that time already had 60 million of inhabitants. From a dynamic perspective the growth of the population and the increasing influence of Turkey well beyond its borders, this influence could reach, according to Pierre Tercier, 125 million people today.

Pierre Tercier also looks at the international influences of penal law, bankruptcy law and above all constitutional law and finally business law, which have traveled far beyond the Swiss borders. The text states some specificities of Swiss law which might be at the source of this travel, migration and export of law such as the fact, that the law is simple, its language is direct, and that Swiss law is open and broad in its wording.  The text addresses issues of quality of Swiss law. It notes the multinationality and multiculturality of the law and its important links to European traditions and raises the question, if the success of Swiss law outside of its border has anything to do with its privileged position of Switzerland in the history of the past centuries. Pierre Tercier notes the decrease of this influence of Swiss law abroad and advocates that it is an eminent task of universities to open the eyes of students to the internationalization of law and legal work and to give them confidence in grasping these phenomena. According to Pierre Tercier, law is a hidden sociopolitical treasure the potential of which is often underestimated.

c) Text

You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here:


Text Information

December 04, 2014

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