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Status of Court Management in Switzerland


Andreas Lienhard ,

Daniel Kettiger,

Daniela Winkler


At an international level, and in particular in the Anglo-American region, there is a long tradition of scientific study of court management. Thus in Australia there has for quite some time been the Australasian Institution of Judicial Administration (AIJA), which concerns itself with every aspect of court administration. In the USA too, research and education in the field of court management has been institutionalized for a long time, in particular by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the related Institute for Court Management (ICM). In Europe, a working group known as the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) deals with issues of court management as part of the activities of the Council of Europe. The fact that court management is also increasingly becoming an important topic in the European area was demonstrated by the establishment, in 2008, of a new professional journal that focuses on court management, the International Journal for Court Administration (IJCA). In Switzerland, the issue of court management was discussed for the first time in the course of the New Public Management (NPM) projects in the cantons, but was often limited to the question of whether to include the courts in the relevant cantonal NPM model. Generally speaking, court management was a matter that was only sporadically raised, such as at a symposium of the Swiss Society of Administrative Sciences (SSAS) in 2003 or more recently in an article in which theses on good court management are formulated. In Switzerland even today there is a general dearth of empirical and other theoretical findings on the mode of operation of the justice system and its interaction with society, or with specific social target groups. For example, it was only in 2009 that the first indications were obtained of how cases in various categories were handled by the highest administrative and social insurance courts in Switzerland. In the fields of criminal and civil justice, no such information is available at all. There is also a lack of empirical principles related to the "self-image of judges", i.e. how judges in Switzerland see themselves. Empirical research into the activities of lay judges also remains in its infancy in Switzerland, whereas in other countries, the relevant principles are available. It has, however, been possible to obtain initial findings on the functioning of the federal courts while evaluating the effectiveness of the new federal justice system.
How to Cite: Lienhard, A., Kettiger, D. and Winkler, D., 2012. Status of Court Management in Switzerland. International Journal for Court Administration, 4(3), pp.41–67. DOI:
Published on 15 Dec 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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