By Dr Urs Feller, Nina Lim

In Switzerland, typical class actions as known in many other jurisdictions are not available. However, ‘Dieselgate’ and similar cases also affect consumers in Switzerland. If a large number of people suffer the same or similar damage, each has to file their claim individually. While total damages are usually large the individual claims may be relatively small, which means many individuals do not assert their claims because of
the disproportionate risk-benefit relationship.

Under current Swiss law, only associations are allowed to bring group actions in their own name for a violation of the personality of their members, provided the articles
of association authorise these associations to do so. The Swiss Federal Council (government) now proposes to allow group actions not only for the violation of personal
rights but for all claims under Swiss private law, including financial claims. Furthermore, it proposes to introduce a dispute resolution mechanism that would allow companies to find a collective settlement for mass claims for all affected parties.