Obligations in Tort : Swiss Civil Code

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Any per­son who un­law­fully causes loss or dam­age to an­oth­er, wheth­er wil­fully or neg­li­gently, is ob­liged to provide com­pens­a­tion.

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Art. 41

A. Gen­er­al prin­ciples

I. Con­di­tions of li­ab­il­ity

1 Any per­son who un­law­fully causes loss or dam­age to an­oth­er, wheth­er wil­fully or neg­li­gently, is ob­liged to provide com­pens­a­tion.

2 A per­son who wil­fully causes loss or dam­age to an­oth­er in an im­mor­al man­ner is like­wise ob­liged to provide com­pens­a­tion.

Art. 42

II. De­term­in­ing the loss or dam­age

1 A per­son claim­ing dam­ages must prove that loss or dam­age oc­curred.

2 Where the ex­act value of the loss or dam­age can­not be quan­ti­fied, the court shall es­tim­ate the value at its dis­cre­tion in the light of the nor­mal course of events and the steps taken by the in­jured party.

3 The costs of treat­ing an­im­als kept as pets rather than for in­vest­ment or com­mer­cial pur­poses may be claimed with­in ap­pro­pri­ate lim­its as a loss even if they ex­ceed the value of the an­im­al.

Art. 43

III. De­term­in­ing com­pens­a­tion

1 The court de­term­ines the form and ex­tent of the com­pens­a­tion provided for loss or dam­age in­curred, with due re­gard to the cir­cum­stances and the de­gree of culp­ab­il­ity.

1bis Where an an­im­al kept as a pet rather than for in­vest­ment or com­mer­cial pur­poses has been in­jured or killed, the court may take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­count of its sen­ti­ment­al value to its own­er or his de­pend­ants.

2 Where dam­ages are awar­ded in the form of peri­od­ic pay­ments, the debt­or must at the same time post se­cur­ity.

Art. 44

IV. Grounds for re­du­cing com­pens­a­tion

1 Where the in­jured party con­sen­ted to the ac­tion which caused the loss or dam­age or cir­cum­stances at­trib­ut­able to him helped give rise to or com­pound the loss or dam­age or oth­er­wise ex­acer­bated the po­s­i­tion of the party li­able for it, the court may re­duce the com­pens­a­tion due or even dis­pense with it en­tirely.

2The court may also re­duce the com­pens­a­tion award in cases in which the loss or dam­age was caused neither wil­fully nor by gross neg­li­gence and where pay­ment of such com­pens­a­tion would leave the li­able party in fin­an­cial hard­ship.

Art. 45

V. Spe­cial cases

1. Hom­icide and per­son­al in­jury

a. Dam­ages for hom­icide

1 In the event of hom­icide, com­pens­a­tion must cov­er all ex­penses arising and in par­tic­u­lar the fu­ner­al costs.

2 Where death did not oc­cur im­me­di­ately, the com­pens­a­tion must also in­clude the costs of med­ic­al treat­ment and losses arising from in­ab­il­ity to work.

3Where oth­ers are de­prived of their means of sup­port as a res­ult of hom­icide, they must also be com­pensated for that loss.

Art. 46
b. Dam­ages for per­son­al in­jury

1In the event of per­son­al in­jury, the vic­tim is en­titled to re­im­burse­ment of ex­penses in­curred and to com­pens­a­tion for any total or par­tial in­ab­il­ity to work and for any loss of fu­ture earn­ings.

2 Where the con­sequences of the per­son­al in­jury can­not be as­sessed with suf­fi­cient cer­tainty at the time the award is made, the court may re­serve the right to amend the award with­in two years of the date on which it was made.

Art. 47
c. Sat­is­fac­tion

In cases of hom­icide or per­son­al in­jury, the court may award the vic­tim of per­son­al in­jury or the de­pend­ants of the de­ceased an ap­pro­pri­ate sum by way of sat­is­fac­tion.

Art. 48
2. …

Art. 49
3. In­jury to per­son­al­ity rights

1 Any per­son whose per­son­al­ity rights are un­law­fully in­fringed is en­titled to a sum of money by way of sat­is­fac­tion provided this is jus­ti­fied by the ser­i­ous­ness of the in­fringe­ment and no oth­er amends have been made.

2The court may or­der that sat­is­fac­tion be provided in an­oth­er man­ner in­stead of or in ad­di­tion to mon­et­ary com­pens­a­tion.

Art. 50

VI. Mul­tiple li­able parties

1. In tort

1 Where two or more per­sons have to­geth­er caused dam­age, wheth­er as in­stig­at­or, per­pet­rat­or or ac­com­plice, they are jointly and sev­er­ally li­able to the in­jured party.

2The court de­term­ines at its dis­cre­tion wheth­er and to what ex­tent they have right of re­course against each oth­er.

3 Abet­tors are li­able in dam­ages only to the ex­tent that they re­ceived a share in the gains or caused loss or dam­age due to their in­volve­ment.

Art. 51

2. On dif­fer­ent leg­al grounds

1 Where two or more per­sons are li­able for the same loss or dam­age on dif­fer­ent leg­al grounds, wheth­er un­der tort law, con­tract law or by stat­ute, the pro­vi­sion gov­ern­ing re­course among per­sons who have jointly caused dam­age is ap­plic­able mu­tatis mutandis.

2 As a rule, com­pens­a­tion is provided first by those who are li­able in tort and last by those who are deemed li­able by stat­utory pro­vi­sion without be­ing at fault or in breach of con­trac­tu­al ob­lig­a­tion.

Art. 52

VII. Self-de­fence, ne­ces­sity, le­git­im­ate use of force

1 Where a per­son has ac­ted in self-de­fence, he is not li­able to pay com­pens­a­tion for loss or dam­age caused to the per­son or prop­erty of the ag­gressor.

2 A per­son who dam­ages the prop­erty of an­oth­er in or­der to pro­tect him­self or an­oth­er per­son against im­min­ent dam­age or danger must pay dam­ages at the court’s dis­cre­tion.

3 A per­son who uses force to pro­tect his rights is not li­able in dam­ages if in the cir­cum­stances the as­sist­ance of the au­thor­it­ies could not have been ob­tained in good time and such use of force was the only means of pre­vent­ing the loss of his rights or a sig­ni­fic­ant impair­ment of his abil­ity to ex­er­cise them.

Art. 53

VIII. Re­la­tion­ship with crim­in­al law

1 When de­term­in­ing fault or lack of fault and ca­pa­city or in­ca­pa­city to con­sent, the court is not bound by the pro­vi­sions gov­ern­ing crim­in­al ca­pa­city nor by any ac­quit­tal in the crim­in­al court.

2 The civil court is like­wise not bound by the ver­dict in the crim­in­al court when de­term­in­ing fault and as­sess­ing com­pens­a­tion.

Art. 54
B. Li­ab­il­ity of per­sons lack­ing ca­pa­city to con­sent

1 On grounds of equity, the court may also or­der a per­son who lacks ca­pa­city to con­sent to provide total or par­tial com­pens­a­tion for the loss or dam­age he has caused.

2 A per­son who has tem­por­ar­ily lost his ca­pa­city to con­sent is li­able for any loss or dam­age caused when in that state un­less he can prove that said state arose through no fault of his own.

Art. 55

C. Li­ab­il­ity of em­ploy­ers

1 An em­ploy­er is li­able for the loss or dam­age caused by his em­ploy­ees or an­cil­lary staff in the per­form­ance of their work un­less he proves that he took all due care to avoid a loss or dam­age of this type or that the loss or dam­age would have oc­curred even if all due care had been taken.1

2 The em­ploy­er has a right of re­course against the per­son who caused the loss or dam­age to the ex­tent that such per­son is li­able in dam­ages.

Art. 56

D. Li­ab­il­ity for an­im­als

I. Dam­ages

1In the event of loss or dam­age caused by an an­im­al, its keep­er is li­able un­less he proves that in keep­ing and su­per­vising the an­im­al he took all due care or that the dam­age would have oc­curred even if all due care had been taken.

2 He has a right of re­course if the an­im­al was pro­voked either by an­oth­er per­son or by an an­im­al be­long­ing to an­oth­er per­son.


Art. 57
II. Seizure of an­im­als

1 A per­son in pos­ses­sion of a plot of land is en­titled to seize an­im­als be­long­ing to an­oth­er which cause dam­age on that land and take them in­to his cus­tody as se­cur­ity for his claim for com­pens­a­tion or even to kill them, where jus­ti­fied by the cir­cum­stances.

2 He non­ethe­less has an ob­lig­a­tion to no­ti­fy the own­er of such an­im­als without delay or, if the own­er is not known to him, to take the ne­ces­sary steps to trace the own­er.

Art. 58

E. Li­ab­il­ity of prop­erty own­ers

I. Dam­ages

1 The own­er of a build­ing or any oth­er struc­ture is li­able for any dam­age caused by de­fects in its con­struc­tion or design or by in­ad­equate main­ten­ance.

2 He has a right of re­course against per­sons li­able to him in this re­gard.

Art. 59

II. Safety meas­ures

1 A per­son who is at risk of suf­fer­ing loss or dam­age due to a build­ing or struc­ture be­long­ing to an­oth­er may in­sist that the own­er take the ne­ces­sary steps to avert the danger.

2 Or­ders giv­en by the po­lice for the pro­tec­tion of per­sons and prop­erty are un­af­fected.

Art. 59

F. Li­ab­il­ity in re­spect of cryp­to­graph­ic keys

1 The own­er of a cryp­to­graph­ic key used to gen­er­ate elec­tron­ic sig­na­tures or seals is li­able to third parties for any loss or dam­age they have suffered as a res­ult of re­ly­ing on a val­id cer­ti­fic­ate is­sued by a pro­vider of cer­ti­fic­a­tion ser­vices with­in the mean­ing of the Fed­er­al Act of 18 March 20162 on Elec­tron­ic Sig­na­tures.

2 The own­er is ab­solved of li­ab­il­ity if he can sat­is­fy the court that he took all the se­cur­ity pre­cau­tions that could reas­on­ably be ex­pec­ted in the cir­cum­stances to pre­vent mis­use of the cryp­to­graph­ic key.

3 The Fed­er­al Coun­cil defines the se­cur­ity pre­cau­tions to be taken pur­su­ant to para­graph 2.

Art. 60

G. Time lim­its

1A claim for dam­ages or sat­is­fac­tion be­comes time-barred one year from the date on which the in­jured party be­came aware of the loss or dam­age and of the iden­tity of the per­son li­able for it but in any event ten years after the date on which the loss or dam­age was caused.

2 However, if the ac­tion for dam­ages is de­rived from an of­fence for which crim­in­al law en­vis­ages a longer lim­it­a­tion peri­od, that longer peri­od also ap­plies to the civil law claim.

3 Where the tort has giv­en rise to a claim against the in­jured party, he may re­fuse to sat­is­fy the claim even if his own claim in tort is time-barred.

Art. 61

H. Li­ab­il­ity of civil ser­vants and pub­lic of­fi­cials

1 The Con­fed­er­a­tion and the can­tons may by way of le­gis­la­tion en­act pro­vi­sions that de­vi­ate from those of this Sec­tion to gov­ern the li­ab­il­ity of civil ser­vants and pub­lic of­fi­cials to pay dam­ages or sat­is­fac­tion for any dam­age they cause in the ex­er­cise of their du­ties.

2 The pro­vi­sions of this Sec­tion may not, however, be mod­i­fied by can­ton­al le­gis­la­tion in the case of com­mer­cial du­ties per­formed by civil ser­vants or pub­lic of­fi­cials.

 SWISS CIVIL CODE: Obligations in Tort(41 – 61)

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Sat Feb 8 , 2020
he promulgation made by the first consul shall be taken to be known in the department which shall be the seat of government, one day after the promulgation; and in each of the other departments, after the expiration of the same interval augmented by one day for every ten myriameters (about twenty ancient leagues) between the town in which the promulgation shall have been made, and the chief place of each department.
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