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Switzerland: Initiative on Biometric ID Cards for Foreigners

(Mar. 10, 2010) On March 3, 2010, Switzerland's National Council (the larger chamber of the two-chamber parliament) adopted a decision to include biometric data on the identification cards of foreigners. Such data (fingerprints, facial photograph, digital signature, stored in a microchip) on Swiss nationals has been included in the new Swiss passport, issued since March […]

Switzerland: Court Decision Denies Release of UBS Bank Records to the IRS

(Jan. 29, 2010) On January 21, 2010, the Swiss Administrative Court rescinded a decision of the Swiss Federal Tax Administration that would have released Swiss banking records to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (Bundesverwaltungsgericht, docket number A-7789/2009, Jan. 21, 2010, available at, even though Switzerland had promised to process this IRS request for […]

Switzerland: New Law Encourages Multilingual Culture

(Jan. 19, 2010) On January 1, 2010, a new Swiss law went into effect that aims at preserving the multilingual culture of Switzerland. (Bundesgesetz über die Landessprachen und die Verständigung zwischen den Sprachgemeinschaften (Federal Act on the National Languages), Oct. 5, 2001, Amtliche Sammlung des Bundesrechts 2007, 6605 available at The new Act implements […]

Switzerland: Federal Administrative Court Chastises Financial Markets Authority for Releasing UBS Records to IRS

(Jan. 8, 2010) On January 5, 2010, the Federal Administrative Court issued a judgment in which it held that the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht, FINMA)had acted unlawfully on February 18, 2009, when it ordered UBS AG, a Swiss Bank [UBS], to release its banking records concerning close to 300 U.S. customers to […]

Switzerland: Referendum Bans Minarets

(Dec. 4, 2009) On November 29, 2009, the Swiss people approved a popular initiative that inserts into the Federal Constitution a new article 72, paragraph 3, that states, “[t]he construction of minarets is prohibited.” (Eidgenössische Volksinitiative 'Gegen den Bau von Minaretten,' Nov. 30, 2009, at Some 53.4% of the electorate voted on the initiative, […]

Switzerland: Information on Tax Evasion

(Dec. 4, 2009) On November 17, 2009, the Swiss Federal Authorities gave a progress report on the processing of U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requests for information on the suspected tax evasion by U.S. residents who had banked with UBS AG, a Swiss bank (The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation, UBS: Treaty Process on […]

France; Switzerland: Exchange of Bank Information for Tax Purposes

(June 25, 2009) On June 12, 2009, France and Switzerland agreed to amend their existing bilateral tax treaty by adding a provision that allows the exchange of bank information for tax purposes, bringing the treaty up to the standard of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model Tax Convention (OECD, Centre for Tax […]

Switzerland: Census

(Apr. 1, 2009) On January 20, 2009, Switzerland promulgated a Census Regulation that became effective on February 1 (Volkszählungsverordnung, Dec. 19, 2008, Amtliche Sammlung des Bundesrechts 241 (2009), available at (click on page 241)). The Census Regulation implements the Census Act of 2007 (Volkszählungsgesetz, June 22, 2007, Systematische Sammlung des Bundesrechts No. 431.112, available […]

Switzerland: Succession of Cabinet Members

(Mar. 31, 2009) On January 21, 2009, Switzerland promulgated a Reform Act to the Parliamentary Act (Bundesgesetz über die Bundesversammlung (Parlamentsgesetz) Änderung, Oct. 3, 2008, Amtliche Sammlung des Bundesrechts 725 (2009), available at (click on page 725)). The Act became law on January 22, after the referendum period had expired, and it became effective […]

Switzerland: Child Pornography

(Mar. 31, 2009) On February 3, 2009, Switzerland promulgated an amendment to the Constitution that abolishes any statutory limitation of actions for pornographic or sexual offenses committed against prepubescent children (Bundesbeschluss, June 13, 2008, Amtliche Sammlung 471 (2009), available at : yes”> (click on page 471)). The new provision is article 123b of the […]