Court business during the corona crisis

17.02.2022
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Measures cancelled

Due to the Federal Council's decision of 16 February 2022, all measures that affected the Federal Administrative Court have been lifted. Visitors for guided tours and negotiations are allowed again and do not need a Covid certificate. 

 

26.01.2022
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2G rule for public hearings

During public proceedings (hearings and deliberations), parties and legal representatives are not bound by the vaccination or recovery rule (2G), but media representatives are. No other visitors are admitted for the time being. Persons attending public proceedings must register using the online form at least three working days before the scheduled meeting (for possible contact tracing).

 

20.12.2021
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Extended teleworking,  restrictions on public meetings and tours

The Federal Administrative Court will continue to pursue its judicial business in due compliance with the stricter coronavirus measures ordered by the Federal Council on 17 December 2021. The Court has re-introduced teleworking requirements: employees will work on the premises only if and as necessary for court business. Public proceedings (hearings and deliberations) will still be conducted as required.  However, only the parties involved, their counsel, and media representatives will be admitted. These persons must register online at least three working days before the scheduled meeting using the appropriate form. Furthermore, guided tours for visitors are suspended until further notice.

 

15.09.2021
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Revised rules

Relying on the measures introduced by the Federal Council and which have been in force since 13 September 2021, the Federal Administrative Court has revised its rules. Masks and social distancing in accordance with FOPH minimum requirements are mandatory in all areas accessible to the public. Visitors attending public hearings are required to provide their contact particulars. Advance registration is not required, however. A certificate is mandatory for tours with groups of 30 or more participants.

 

28.06.2021
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Tours and self-certification

The Federal Council decided to ease restrictions effective 28 June 2021. As a result of these re-opening measures, the Court once again offers guided tours (Registration). Face masks remain compulsory, as does social distancing in accordance with FOPH directives. Tours were suspended from March 2020 to June 2021 because of the coronavirus.

Health self-certification is no longer required from visitors attending public hearings. 

 

20.01.2021
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Extended teleworking and public hearings

The Federal Administrative Court continues its judicial operations in compliance with the stricter coronavirus measures ordered by the Federal Council on 18 January 2021. The Court has re-introduced teleworking requirements: employees work on the premises only if and as necessary for Court business.

Public proceedings (hearings and deliberations) are still conducted as required.  Visitors and media representatives are asked to register online (online form) up to three days before the scheduled hearing and to present a  self-declaration about their health (PDF, 160 kB, 20.01.2021)  to the booth at the entrance on the day of the hearing. In front of the building and inside, the security and health directives of the Federal Office for Public Health, notably the mask mandate and social distancing rules, must be strictly observed.

 

22.10.2020
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Mask mandate and teleworking

Following Federal Council rules for containing the coronavirus, masks are henceforth mandatory in all publicly accessible areas of the Federal Administrative Court.  Moreover, employees are advised to telework, in consultation with their superiors, wherever possible.  This recommendation does not affect Court operations, which will continue as customary and are assured on an ongoing basis.

 

24.06.2020
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Public proceedings
Owing to the special corona-related circumstances, persons wishing to attend public meetings (hearings or deliberations) at the Federal Administrative Court must register beforehand. The number of seats is limited, and the parties to proceedings, their legal representatives and media representatives have priority in terms of availability.

Interested persons and media representatives must register using the online form at least three working days before the scheduled public meeting.

The security and health directives of the Federal Office for Public Health must be strictly observed. Interested parties should allow sufficient time for security controls at the entrance.

 

08.04.2020
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Simplified access to electronic signature. Amendment of 2 April 2020 to the Ordinance on Certification Services in relation to Electronic Signatures

On 1 April 2020, as part of the measures to contain the coronavirus, the Federal Council introduced a limited amendment to the Ordinance on Certification Services in relation to Electronic Signatures (VZertES, SR 943.032): from 2 April 2020, recognised providers of certification services may identify their customers in real time by video communication. Provided the recognised providers dispose of the corresponding video identifcation, a qualified electronic signature may thus be acquired without having to travel to appear in person. For further information, see the Federal Council press release and the explanations provided by the Federal Office of Communications

The prerequisites for filing electronic submissions with the Federal Administrative Court – especially regarding the acquisition of a qualified electronic signature – are summarised on the page “Electronic submissions by the Parties”.

 

26.03.2020
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Supplementing the Federal Council's decision, the Federal Administrative Court has handed down rulings on judicial deadlines and the delivery of documents relevant to proceedings.  The Court ensures the continued operation of judicial business through extended teleworking inter alia.

The pandemic has also impacted the judiciary which must essentially remain operational even under the more arduous circumstances. The Federal Administrative Court ensures the continued operation of its judicial business through extended teleworking and by adapting the rules on judicial periods and the delivery of relevant documents for proceedings.  Since pressure on the Court, already high under normal circumstances, was threatening to reach peak levels, the Federal Council’s decision on 20 March 2020 extending the time limits in civil and administrative proceedings over the Easter holidays (21 March to 19 April 2020) was particularly welcome.

Treatment of judicial periods
With regard to judicial periods, the Federal Administrative Court has supplemented the Federal Council’s decision as follows: all periods set by the Court which fall within the scope of the Federal Council decision of 20 March 2020 and expire on a specified date before 19 April 2020 shall end on 20 April 2020. Supplementing the aforesaid decision of the Federal Council, the Federal Administrative Court decided that, in proceedings where the standstill period under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) does not apply by reason of special legislation, the exceptional circumstances must be taken into account when setting new judicial periods. Judicial periods may be suitably extended on request in accordance with Article 22 paragraph 2 APA, or a period may be waived on due reconsideration. This does not apply in the case of urgent proceedings.

Delivery of relevant documents
Owing to the pandemic, problems have arisen with the delivery of court documents. Swiss Post deliveries to certain countries are restricted or altogether impossible, for example.  Even inside Switzerland, deliveries can be impeded; some post offices have been closed.  As a result, the Federal Administrative Court has decided, supplementally to the Federal Council's decision, that when it is not possible to deliver documents that are relevant to proceedings in Switzerland or abroad, the proceedings concerned will be deferred. This will apply until normal service is resumed.

Health precautions
Apart from ensuring the ongoing operation of judicial business, the top priority of the Federal Administrative Court is the health of its employees. As a safeguard, the Court has dispensed with any in-house events that are not essential to judicial business. Moreover, Division Presidents have been advised to postpone all non-urgent public hearings and proceedings. Since the outbreak of the crisis in February, the Court has continuously taken additional precautions in keeping with the worsening situation and FOPH directives. At the present time, in addition to those persons at higher risk, all judges and staff members whose presence on Court premises is not essential are teleworking. Furthermore, employees with children to care for also work from home whenever possible.  Special protective measures have been put in place for the reduced staff whose presence is required on the premises in St. Gallen.

 

24.03.2020
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Due to corona-related measures, the FAC has reduced its visitor reception hours

Effective immediately and until further notice, the booth at the entrance is closed at lunchtime (from 12 noon until 1.30 pm). It is open from 8 am to 12 noon, and from 1.30 pm to 5 pm.

 

https://www.bvger.ch/content/bvger/en/home/about-fac/corona_gerichtsbetrieb_und_fristen.html