Federal Court elegantly gets out of the affair

Bundesgericht in Lausanne im Herbst. Das Gebäude trägt die Schweizer Fahne. Es hat in einem Rechtsstreit entschieden.
The Federal Supreme Court has stood firm on an appeal. (Image: media service)

The Federal Supreme Court should call off the Federal Assembly on the amendment of the Energy Act. But it rejected a corresponding appeal and still showed sympathy with the case.

The decision on the Swiss Federal Law on urgent measures for the short-term provision of a secure power supply in winter was to be annulled.

By filing an appeal with the Federal Supreme Court, some two dozen citizens sought to overturn the amendment to the Energy Act, which had been made hastily by the Federal Assembly and without following the normal procedure.

Finally, according to the complainants, for the first time in the history of Switzerland, the parliament had suppressed the obligatory referendum. This was also reported upon several times by muula.ch.

Violation of political rights

As has now become known, the Federal Supreme Court elegantly got out of the affair. It simply dismissed the complaint. According to the Federal Constitution, acts of the Federal Assembly and the Federal Council cannot be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court unless the law provides for this, it said succinctly.

This also applies to complaints about violations of political rights, according to the ruling, which is available to the business news portal muula.ch.

Hard blow

As long as the legislature does not close this important legal loophole in the law, the Federal Supreme Court cannot deal with such cases, the judges wrote further. They did not even bother to examine the legitimacy of the complainants’ circumvention of the courts. They did not conduct a consultation.

The federal judges did not even search for all possible laws that might have made a complaint admissible. The message from Lausanne is clear: the legislature must first act.

Mild decision

However, the Federal Supreme Court was not quite as strict with the complainants. This was because they apparently pointed out a “weighty legal loophole” once again. Although it took a hard line on the matter, the Lausanne judges exceptionally waived the distribution of the costs of the proceedings.

In their ruling they referred to Article 66 paragraph 1 of the Federal Supreme Court Act (BGG). According to this article, the Federal Supreme Court normally orders the losing party to pay the court costs.

However, if the circumstances justify it, the Federal Supreme Court can also waive them, according to the law. And thus the judges considered at least such extenuating circumstances as given, which already carries some sympathy for the legal case.

Somehow, this seems to be a Swiss solution.

Against the constitution

The complainants, however, do not want to back down now. In an open letter  they appeal to the parliamentarians to close this weighty legal loophole for an appeal to the Federal Court.

Otherwise, they also threatened to launch a popular initiative, as the representative of the complaint group Elias Meier-Vogt, who is also president of the association Freie Landschaft Schweiz, confirmed to muula.ch.

The law finally violates the Swiss constitution in several points, so the tenor.

And this in turn is also the opinion of renowned law professors, as muula.ch had already published, about the unique fall from grace of the parliament.


Federal Court elegantly gets out of the affair

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