Legal Opinions

The Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (SICL) provides formal, written opinions on the legal position in foreign countries and/or under international law in almost all fields of law, with the exception of taxation and intellectual property. It can also prepare comparative studies, comparing the positions taken by several foreign legal jurisdictions in respect of a given topic. However, the Institute does not provide opinions on Swiss law, with the exception of Swiss private international law.

The legal opinions of the Institute present the position under foreign law in an objective and neutral manner. Moreover, the Institute is not in a position to provide attorney-client legal advice.



Requests for our services must be submitted in writing (either by e-mail or by post) along with a summary of the facts and an indication of the precise questions to which the Institute ias asked to respond to:

Swiss Institute of Comparative Law 
CH-1015 Lausanne 

Email :

Each new request for a legal opinion is subjected to a provisional assessment as soon as reasonably possible to determine the feasibility, cost and time needed to provide the opinion and a formal estimate is then issued. Where necessary, external legal experts may be asked to assist the Institute in the preparation of an opinion on a correspondent basis. The time needed to produce a legal opinion will depend on the complexity of the questions asked as well as the other commitments of the legal staff and/or experts who will need to work on the opinion.


In its judgment no. 1P.390/2004 of 28 October 2004, the Swiss Federal Court recognised the impartiality and independence of the Institute, due notably to the public financing of the Institute. Its statutory independence ensures that, when formulating legal opinions, the Institute is not influenced by the interests of the Swiss Confederation nor those of individual clients.

All staff members of the SICL must apply the following principles of conduct:

-          They aim to provide verifiable information in an understandable form;

-          They are obliged to respond directly to the questions asked by clients, in an independent and neutral way;

-          They respect professional confidentiality and official secrecy and are subjected in this regard to a duty of confidentiality in relation to all information received from clients.


Regulations governing the Charges of the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law: 

Gebührenansätze und Tarife für das Erstellen von Rechtsgutachten und Studien   
Taux d’émolument et tarifs pour l’établissement d’avis de droit et d’études 
Only available in French or German