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Old 31.07.2012, 14:22
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Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

I'm tired of dealing with lawyers here who won't get the bit between their teeth and fight for their client ie me! They have an inate desire to find compromise, see the thing from both sides, tell me that with only an 80% chance of winning, we'd better settle because the costs of courts are so high.....

....the upshot being that we get taken advantage of (that isn't my preferred term) by contractors who see us as an easy touch who won't go to court.

Is this just the Swiss love of compromise, or the lack of an adversarial legal system or are there lawyers out there with any backbone?

(as well as it being a general question and rant - if anybody knows somebody who WOULD say boo to a goose in the Basel Stadt area - let me know please)
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Old 31.07.2012, 14:31
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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I'm tired of dealing with lawyers here who won't get the bit between their teeth and fight for their client ie me! They have an inate desire to find compromise, see the thing from both sides, tell me that with only an 80% chance of winning, we'd better settle because the costs of courts are so high.....
TBH I read the above as a_good_thing. Litigation should only be used in extremis, when all else has failed. It's good to see that Swiss lawyers are more concerned with this then with lining their own pockets by bringing unnecessary and unrealistic cases to court.
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....the upshot being that we get taken advantage of (that isn't my preferred term) by contractors who see us as an easy touch who won't go to court.
In what way 'taken advantage of'?
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Old 31.07.2012, 14:39
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

If only more lawyers had a desire to compromise and see things from both sides, the world would be a much better place.
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Old 31.07.2012, 14:45
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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If only more lawyers had a desire to compromise and see things from both sides, the world would be a much better place.
absolutely right, too many people out there who like to seek confrontation. Looking for a compromise is much better.
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Old 31.07.2012, 16:11
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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In what way 'taken advantage of'?
Thats a whole other story
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Old 31.07.2012, 16:12
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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If only more lawyers had a desire to compromise and see things from both sides, the world would be a much better place.
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absolutely right, too many people out there who like to seek confrontation. Looking for a compromise is much better.
If somebody knows that you will NEVER take them to court, they have a license to exploit you. The deterrent must be there and must be realistic
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Old 31.07.2012, 16:57
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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I'm tired of dealing with lawyers here who won't get the bit between their teeth and fight for their client ie me! They have an inate desire to find compromise, see the thing from both sides, tell me that with only an 80% chance of winning, we'd better settle because the costs of courts are so high.....
The fact of the matter is that if the amount in dispute is relatively low, the court costs and legal fees are soon out of proportion with the subject matter. So you might win CHF 5'000 but could be left with unrecoverable legal fees of CHF 2'500. In which case it makes sense of settling for CHF 2'500 without the additional hassle of the court proceedings.

Of course if you have legal insurance, then its a different matter because to the extent that the insurance is covering the costs and fees, you can leave them out of the equation. The problem is that some/most legal insurances do not cover disputes with (building) contractors.

Finally, if it is a matter of principle and are willing to bear the additional costs, then by all means you should be able to find a lawyer who will take on the matter.

P.S.: if you have a dispute over CHF 50'000 and/or legal insurance, I'd be more than happy to look into it for you...
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Old 31.07.2012, 16:58
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

Some of the "laws" here seem to be a bit ambiguous. Consumer protection laws are weak and the lax labor laws leave entirely too many people vulnerable to the abuses of unscrupulous employers, which seem to abound here.

I think, traditionally, because people lived and worked in small communities, where everybody knew everyone else, where there were unwritten "codes" and agreements were made on a handshake, perhaps nobody felt the need to legislate everything because the system that had been in place for generations worked. But times have changed, society here has changed, and perhaps it's time for the Code of Obligations to be more precisely defined and made stronger.
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Old 31.07.2012, 16:59
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

No, they have no cojones. It is painful. I have had a similar experience.
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Old 31.07.2012, 17:07
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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Some of the "laws" here seem to be a bit ambiguous. Consumer protection laws are weak and the lax labor laws leave entirely too many people vulnerable to the abuses of unscrupulous employers, which seem to abound here.

I think, traditionally, because people lived and worked in small communities, where everybody knew everyone else, where there were unwritten "codes" and agreements were made on a handshake, perhaps nobody felt the need to legislate everything because the system that had been in place for generations worked. But times have changed, society here has changed, and perhaps it's time for the Code of Obligations to be more precisely defined and made stronger.
Or perhaps you don't know your law history, and the reason the CO is the way it is is that it originates from Roman law via the Napoleonic Code... but I digress.

Define the weakness in "consumer protection laws".

Define "rampant employer abuse due to lax employment law".

Slogans are way to easy.
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Old 31.07.2012, 17:08
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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Some of the "laws" here seem to be a bit ambiguous. Consumer protection laws are weak and the lax labor laws leave entirely too many people vulnerable to the abuses of unscrupulous employers, which seem to abound here.[...] But times have changed, society here has changed, and perhaps it's time for the Code of Obligations to be more precisely defined and made stronger.
I wholly disagree. Take the example of labor law: Yes, you can be terminated without reason, but accordingly there is no basis to litigate. You move on and look for a new job.

If the Code of Obligations would enumerate the reasons when a person can be fired, employers and employees will be spending more time in court than at work. Jobs would be created, but only for lawyers and judges.
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Old 31.07.2012, 17:18
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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Or perhaps you don't know your law history, and the reason the CO is the way it is is that it originates from Roman law via the Napoleonic Code... but I digress.
So just because it was good enough for the Romans and Napoleon, I guess it should be good enough for the rest of us in our complex 21st Century world, right? Using that reasoning, I guess doctors should also employ old, outdated practices of medicine to treat their patients, too, right? *LOL*

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Define the weakness in "consumer protection laws".
There have been plenty of experiences on this forum related by people who've been cheated by landlords, retailers and other contractors. Do your own research.

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Define "rampant employer abuse due to lax employment law".
Again, there have been plenty of experiences related in this forum and elsewhere by people who've been wrongfully terminated or screwed over by their employers and have no recourse because there is no provision under the law here. Again, do your own research.
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Last edited by latigresse; 31.07.2012 at 17:36.
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Old 31.07.2012, 17:24
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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There have been plenty of experiences on this forum related by people who've been cheated by landlords, retailers and other contractors. Do your own research.

Again, there have been plenty of experiences related in this forum and elsewhere by people who've been wrongfully terminated or screwed over by their employers and have no recourse because there is no provision under the law here. Again, do your own research.
"Research" ? Never realized the EF was the definitive guide to employment law in Switzerland. Learn something new every day I guess....
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Old 31.07.2012, 17:25
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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I wholly disagree. Take the example of labor law: Yes, you can be terminated without reason, but accordingly there is no basis to litigate. You move on and look for a new job.
And if the law WERE more clearly defined, then there would be a basis to litigate. Easier said than done for many people to simply move on and get a new job, not if you're over fifty. I've seen some pretty horrible things happen to friends and acquaintances here, both Swiss and foreign alike, on their jobs. If there had been laws in place to protect them, I very much doubt they would have suffered as they did and at least they would have had some recourse.

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If the Code of Obligations would enumerate the reasons when a person can be fired, employers and employees will be spending more time in court than at work. Jobs would be created, but only for lawyers and judges.
I disagree. I think employers wouldn't be so cavalier about firing people for no reason. The specter of a lawsuit (and all its associated costs, not to mention the damage it can do to company's reputation) can be a pretty powerful deterrent.
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Old 31.07.2012, 17:31
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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"Research" ? Never realized the EF was the definitive guide to employment law in Switzerland. Learn something new every day I guess....
I never said it was a definitive guide to labor law. It is, however, a snapshot of what happens here. What difference does it make if the examples are related here or elsewhere? If you want more definitive guides, try the Beobachter or the Schlichtungstelle. But, again, because most people here accept that they have no recourse because the labor laws are virtually non-existent, as Mica said, they move on and look for another job, and don't go on the record with their experiences.
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Old 31.07.2012, 17:44
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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The fact of the matter is that if the amount in dispute is relatively low, the court costs and legal fees are soon out of proportion with the subject matter. So you might win CHF 5'000 but could be left with unrecoverable legal fees of CHF 2'500. In which case it makes sense of settling for CHF 2'500 without the additional hassle of the court proceedings.
But that's EXACTLY my frustration. My situation is building a house and the main contractors are exploiting the situation in a "death by a thousand cuts" kind of way that none of the individual pieces are worth fighting over for exactly the reason you outlined above, but nobody from the legal side seems willing to say "enough is enough".

And for the tree-huggers who say that the world would be a better place with only compromise - that may be true, but compromise needs to be both ways.

And as for the world being better without lawyers charging fees to take cases that they can't win - I agree. But it would be nice sometimes if you could feel like somebody would say - "we may only have a 50% chance of winning this case, but god dammit - if anybody can win it, I can, and if you want me to - I'll do the very best I can for you"

Instead of "Why don't you go and think about whether it is truly what you want to do? Go have a cup of camomile tea and see if that helps?"

NO - I JUST WANT YOU TO MAKE THEM CRY FOR THEIR MOTHERS AND GIVE IN!!

(That feels better already)
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Old 31.07.2012, 18:36
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

If compromise is the goal, then mediation should be sought - with both parties paying the costs.

But when I hire a lawyer, I do expect him to work solely for me, to represent my interest alone. After all, I am the one paying him.

What really irks me is that lawyers we have engaged here* seemed to have no sense of duty to the client. Charging a client hefty sums while all the time actively working for the other side - in the name of compromise, of course - seems to be not uncommon here.

Yes, the US-style adversarial system has plenty of problems - but at least there you know whose side your lawyer is on.






*Note my comment is limited to personal experience only, wider aspersions should not be drawn.
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Old 31.07.2012, 18:55
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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But that's EXACTLY my frustration. My situation is building a house and the main contractors are exploiting the situation in a "death by a thousand cuts" kind of way that none of the individual pieces are worth fighting over for exactly the reason you outlined above, but nobody from the legal side seems willing to say "enough is enough".
There are ways and means around this. Getting your contractor to post a first demand bank guarantee can do the trick. He screws up, you pull the guarantee and then he has to see if it is worth going to court to get the money back.

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But it would be nice sometimes if you could feel like somebody would say - "we may only have a 50% chance of winning this case, but god dammit - if anybody can win it, I can, and if you want me to - I'll do the very best I can for you"
If a client is aware of and accepts the risk of losing and bearing all the cost I will fight all the way up to Federal Supreme Court and down. But it is the lawyer's responsibility to inform the client of the costs and risks.

Also the Swiss bar rules actually contain a provision stating "Art. 9: Lawyers encourage the settlement of disputes if this is in the interest of the client".
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Old 31.07.2012, 18:58
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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I wholly disagree. Take the example of labor law: Yes, you can be terminated without reason, but accordingly there is no basis to litigate. You move on and look for a new job.

If the Code of Obligations would enumerate the reasons when a person can be fired, employers and employees will be spending more time in court than at work. Jobs would be created, but only for lawyers and judges.

Works both ways, employees can give notice and move on without reason
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Old 31.07.2012, 18:59
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Re: Do any lawyers in Switzerland have "cojones"?

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There are ways and means around this. Getting your contractor to post a first demand bank guarantee can do the trick. He screws up, you pull the guarantee and then he has to see if it is worth going to court to get the money back.



If a client is aware of and accepts the risk of losing and bearing all the cost I will fight all the way up to Federal Supreme Court and down. But it is the lawyer's responsibility to inform the client of the costs and risks.

Also the Swiss bar rules actually contain a provision stating "Art. 9: Lawyers encourage the settlement of disputes if this is in the interest of the client".
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