European Review of Private Law

Volume 24 (2016)

Volume 24 (2016) / Issue 5

Anna Wallerman, 'Harmonization of Civil Procedure: Can the European Union Learn from Swiss Experiences?' (2016) 24 European Review of Private Law, Issue 5, pp. 855–876


Until 2011, civil justice in both Switzerland and the European Union (EU) was decentralized. In 2011, after 150 years of debate, Switzerland finally took the step to unification by the entry into force of its first federal Zivilprozessordnung, whereas in the EU it is still debated if, how and to what extent civil procedure could be subject to harmonization. This article analyses the debate leading up to harmonization of civil procedure in Switzerland, comparing the arguments to those brought forward in the EU debate, and examines the legislative strategy employed by the Swiss legislature. It shows that the Swiss harmonization was brought about by practically oriented arguments, and that this pragmatism also characterized the legislative drafting process. It is argued that a similar development is conceivable within the EU, but that the price may be a general decrease in the level and quality of civil justice.

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ISSN: 0928-9801
ID: ERPL2016048