Judge initiative

On the 28 November the Swiss electorate voted on the Judge initiative.

In brief


Under the current system, Parliament elects federal judges, with elections taking place every six years. Parliament seeks to maintain appropriate representation for the political parties in proportion to their support among the electorate. The supporters of the initiative believe that this election process compromises the independence of the judiciary and also makes it nearly impossible for those with no party affiliation to be elected as judges.

The judge initiative aims to introduce a new election process: federal judges would be selected by draw from a group of candidates chosen by a committee of experts. Candidates would be evaluated based on their professional and personal qualifications and chosen for the draw according to their suitability for judicial office. It would be a requirement that the official languages receive proportional representation on the federal courts. Federal judges could hold office for up to five years after they reach statutory retirement age. Judges would no longer have to stand for re-election as they do today. Parliament could dismiss judges only if they have seriously violated their official duties or are permanently unable to exercise their office.

Last modification 23.11.2021

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