English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.
Federal Act on the Compilations of Federal Legislation and the Federal Gazette
(Publications Act, PublA)
of 18 June 2004 (Status as of 1 January 2010)
Please note: this translation does not yet include the amendments of 1.1.2016
Section 1: Subject Matter
This Act regulates the publication of:
- the compilations of federal legislation (the Official Compilation of Federal Legislation, AS and the Systematic Compilation of Federal Legislation, SR);
- the Federal Gazette (BBl).
Section 2: Official Compilation of Federal Legislation
The following shall be published in the AS:
- the Federal Constitution;
- federal acts;
- ordinances of the Federal Assembly;
- ordinances of the Federal Council;
- other legislative enactments of the federal authorities and of organisations and persons under public or private law that are assigned administrative duties but do not form part of the Federal Administration;
- federal decrees subject to the optional referendum;
- federal decrees on the approval of international treaties;
- simple federal decrees, if the Federal Assembly so decides.
1 If they are binding on Switzerland, the following shall be published in the AS:
- international treaties that are subject to a referendum under Articles 140 paragraph 1 letter b and 141 paragraph 1 letter d of the Federal Constitution;
- other international treaties that enact law or confer legislative powers;
- decrees of organisations and bodies established under international treaties that enact law or confer legislative powers.
2 The Federal Council may decide that treaties and decrees that are not legislative in their nature be published in the AS.
3 Treaties of no more than six months in duration, and treaties of limited scope shall not be published. The Federal Council shall regulate the exceptions.
The following shall be published in the AS:
- agreements between the Confederation and the cantons that enact law or confer legislative powers;
- other agreements between the Confederation and the cantons if the Federal Council so decides.
1 Texts in terms of Articles 2-4 which by their special nature are not suitable for the publication in the AS shall be included simply as a title with a reference or source, in particular if they:
- concern only a small group of people;
- are technical by nature and only intended for specialists;
- must be published in a different format.
2 Texts shall also be included in the AS only by title with a reference or source if:
- a federal act or an ordinance of the Federal Assembly requires publication outside the AS;
- they are published in an official organ of publication that is available in Switzerland.
3 Texts in terms of paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be published in a different organ of publication or as a separate edition or shall be provided by the office responsible on request. Articles 6-10 and 14 apply.
Enactments and international treaties that must be treated as confidential in the interests of national security shall not be published in the AS.
1 The texts in terms of Articles 2-4 shall be published in the AS at least of five days before they come into force.
2 Agreements whose commencement date is not yet known at the time of their approval shall be published immediately after the announcement of their commencement date.
3 An enactment shall be published provisionally under the exceptional procedure if this is required either to ensure its effectiveness, for reasons of urgency (Art. 165 Federal Constitution) or due to exceptional circumstances.
1 Legal obligations arising from texts in terms of Articles 2-4 shall apply as soon as the texts have been published in accordance with the provisions of this Section.
2 If an enactment is published in the AS after commencement, obligations arising therefrom apply from the day following publication, subject to Article 7 paragraph 3.
3 If an enactment is published under the exceptional procedure, it remains open to any person affected thereby to show that he or she was unaware of the enactment and despite taking all reasonable care could not have been aware of it.
1 For enactments and agreements between the Confederation and the cantons, the version published in the printed edition of the AS is authoritative. If a text appears there only with a title as well as the reference or source, the version referred to is authoritative.
2 The version of international treaties and decrees that is authoritative is governed by the provisions therein.
1 In the case of Federal Council enactments and enactments by its departments and offices, the Federal Chancellery shall correct errors and formulations in the AS that affect the meaning and do not correspond to the decision of the enacting authority.
Section 3: Systematic Compilation of Federal Legislation
1 The SR is a revised compilation arranged under subject headings of the enactments, international treaties and decrees, and agreements between the Confederation and the cantons that have been published in the AS and still apply, and of the cantonal constitutions. It shall be updated at regular intervals.
2 The Federal Council shall regulate the cases in which texts with a shorter term of validity are not included in the SR.
1 The Federal Chancellery shall informally correct errors in the SR that do not change the meaning.
2 It shall informally amend details such as descriptions of administrative units, links, references or abbreviations in the SR.
Section 4: Federal Gazette
1 The following shall be published in the Federal Gazette:
- dispatches and drafts of the Federal Council on enactments of the Federal Assembly;
- reports and drafts of Federal Assembly committees on enactments of the Federal Assembly;
- further reports or opinions of the Federal Council, of committees of the Federal Assembly or of the federal courts;
- federal decrees on amendments to the Constitution as well as on the approval of international treaties in accordance with Article 140 paragraph 1 letter b of the Federal Constitution;
- federal acts and federal decrees subject to an optional referendum;
- simple federal decrees that are not published in the AS in accordance with Article 2 letter h;
- further texts that must be included in accordance with federal legislation.
2 In addition, decrees, directives and announcements issued by the Federal Council, the Federal Administration and by organisations and persons under public or private law that are assigned administrative duties but do not form part of the Federal Administration may be published in the Federal Gazette.
3 If it seems appropriate, the publication may be limited to the title with the reference or source (Art. 5).
4 For the correction of texts, Article 10 applies by analogy.
Section 5: Common Provisions
1 Publication is effected simultaneously in the official languages German, French and Italian. In the case of enactments, the three versions are equally binding.
2 The Federal Council may decide that texts that are only published as a title with a reference or source will not be published in all three official languages or that a translation into the official languages is not required if:
- the provisions contained in these texts do not directly bind the persons concerned; or
- the persons concerned use the texts only in their original language.
3 The Federal Chancellery may decide that decrees and announcements issued by the Federal Administration and by organisations and persons under public or private law in accordance with Article 13 paragraph 2 are published only in the official language of the persons concerned, provided these are solely of local significance.
1 The compilations of federal legislation compilations and the Federal Gazette shall be published in printed and online.
2 In the case of texts where only the title with a reference or source is published, publication may be limited to the printed or online form.
The Confederation shall restrict itself to publishing texts in the form decided by the bodies concerned.
The following may be inspected at the Federal Chancellery and at the offices designated by the cantons:
- the compilations of federal legislation and the Federal Gazette;
- enactments published under the extraordinary procedure that have not yet been included in the AS (Art. 7 para. 3).
1 The Federal Council shall regulate the fees for the provision of publications under this Act. It may make third party suppliers subject to special conditions.
2 The online consultation of the compilations of federal legislation and the Federal Gazette is free of charge.
Section 6: Final Provisions
The Publications Act of 21 March 19861 is repealed.
1 [AS 1987 600]
The following federal acts are amended as follows:
1 This Act is subject to an optional referendum.
2 The Federal Council shall determine the date on which this Act comes into force.
Commencement date:3 1 January 2005