Jurisprudence of the Federal Court

Over several years, the Institute has compiled the Federal Court’s jurisprudence relating to Health Law, in the following volumes:

 1974-1984      1985-1995      1996-2002      2003-2006    2007-2009    2010-2011 2012-2013 (in progress)




Compiled Federal Court rulings relating to Health Law, 1974-2009



Accompanied by a series of national and international bibliographical references, the compilation for the years 1996 to 2003 can be found in the San News collection online. Following this model, since April 2003, new rulings have been published twice a year in the Swiss Health Law Review, which is available from Weblaw’s Jusletter. The compiled bibliographies for the period 2003-2006 can also be consulted online in their original formats. Previous versions can be found on our Practical information and bibliographies page.


The Swiss Federal Court (TF) is the highest jurisdiction in Switzerland. Created in 1875, it rules, first and foremost as a court of appeal, on civil justice and criminal justice; it also gives rulings as a constitutional court, and settles disputes related to the application of social insurance law at the final appeal. It sits at Lausanne (except for cases dealing with social insurance, heard at Lucerne). The Federal Criminal Court, and the Federal Administrative Court are more recent additions to the Court.

The Federal Court’s rulings are annually published — when publication is deemed necessary — in its own "Arrêts du Tribunal Fédéral Suisse (y compris les arrêts du Tribunal Fédéral des Assurances) - Recueil Officiel" [Rulings of the Swiss Federal Court (including rulings of the Federal Insurance Court]: Official collection], normally abbreviated by Swiss legal practitioners as “ATF” or “RO”. According to the area of law concerned, the decisions are divided into five subsections (“parties”), numbered I through V.

The publication started in 1876, with Volume 1 containing rulings dating to 1875. The collected jurisprudence is not listed according to the year of publication, but volume number.

The rulings are typically recorded in the same official language in which the trial was conducted. As such, the majority of the Federal Court’s jurisprudence is in German (d). Rulings in French (f) are nonetheless frequent; those in Italian (i) are rare, and in Romansch (r) even more so. To make consultation easier, private reviews have undertaken to publish translations of the majority of ATF rulings. In French, these are usually found in the “Journal des tribunaux" [Courts’ journal] (JT), published in Lausanne, or the "Semaine Judiciaire" [Legal Weekly] (SJ) in Geneva, and, in the German language, in "Praxis" (Pra), based in Zurich.

All decisions published are preceded by abstracts — that is, succinct summaries of their content — which are included in the volumes. The Swiss Federal Court website has the rulings in full, as well as other information about its jurisdiction.

In the uncommon event that a decision is not listed in the ATF publications, it may still appear in another, subsequent, Swiss legal review. The collection initially only contained jurisprudence published in the ATF, limiting itself to the most significant rulings on social insurance. It should be noted that, with the introduction of new legislation on health insurance on 1 January 1996, certain concepts applying before this date were changed.

The Federal Court’s jurisprudence, published in the ATF series — and, since 2000, jurisprudence unpublished in the ATF — can be found on our website.