Practice areas

Dispute resolution

Partners of the Firm have substantial experience in dispute resolution.

We represent clients in the following types of courts and procedures:

  • Arbitral tribunals
  • International administrative tribunals
  • Appeal boards of international organizations
  • Swiss civil and commercial courts
  • International judicial assistance pursuant to the Hague Treaties
  • Service of process in international litigation
  • Recognition and enforcement of awards and judgements
  • Mediation and conciliation

International organizations and diplomatic missions

Partners of the Firm have substantial experience in advising and representing international civil servants as well as handling legal issues linked to diplomatic missions and diplomatic personnel in Switzerland.

We notably advise clients in the following areas:

  • Disputes between international civil servants and international organizations
  • Diplomatic status and lifting of diplomatic immunity
  • Employment of locally recruited staff by diplomatic missions
  • Real estate and construction issues faced by diplomatic missions and their personnel
  • Residence in Switzerland of persons leaving the international civil service or the diplomatic service

NGOs and other non-profit entities

Partners of the Firm have substantial experience relating to the creation and structuring of non-profit entities in a variety of domains.

We notably advise clients in the following areas:

  • Choosing the most appropriate form of entity for a non-profit activity according to its nature: charitable and philanthropic endeavours, education and research, cultural field, development and humanitarian activities, sports activities
  • Drafting bylaws for foundations, associations and federations
  • Obtaining charitable status as a non-profit entity and recognition as an NGO
  • Tailoring structures for governing and managing non-profit operations internationally
  • Tailoring structures for governing and managing philanthropic and fund-raising activities internationally

Contracts and companies

Partners of the Firm have significant experience in handling commercial contractual issues in a broad range of areas - such as licensing, services, sales, distribution, brokerage, joint ventures, construction and employment - as well as in addressing related questions such as conflict of laws and competition law. We also advise clients wishing to establish an operational base in Switzerland.

We notably advise in the following areas:

  • Negotiation and drafting of domestic and international commercial contracts
  • Swiss and EU antitrust law
  • Unfair competition
  • Establishing commercial entities in Switzerland
  • Establishing foundations, associations and federations
  • Purchase of real estate in Switzerland

Intellectual property

Partners of the Firm combine many years of experience in handling issues relating to the use and international protection of copyright, trademarks and patents.

We notably advise in the following areas:

  • Assignment and licensing of intellectual property rights, know how and trade secrets
  • Branding strategies
  • Planning national and international trademark registration, in cooperation with trademark agents  
  • Planning national and international patent registration, in cooperation with patent agents
  • Managing and protecting copyright in all forms of proprietary materials
  • Measures against counterfeiting, passing off, unfair competition and parallel imports

Information technology

Partners of the Firm combine a rich experience in handling IT issues and internet-related legal questions:  

We notably advise in the following areas:

  • IT sales, licensing and service contracts
  • Development and use of open-source software (GPL and others)
  • Internet contracts and e-business platforms
  • Domain-name registration and protection
  • Data protection and privacy

Public procurement and construction

Partners of the Firm combine specialized studies in construction law with a good track record of success in representing clients in public procurement disputes and in international construction cases.  

We notably advise clients in the following areas:

  • Swiss public procurement procedures, subject or not to WTO rules
  • Negotiation and drafting of contracts for construction projects  
  • Strategic advice on preventing and managing construction disputes, in cooperation with consulting engineers
  • Public procurement and construction disputes in front of Swiss courts and arbitration panels

Immigration and employment

Partners of the Firm combine considerable experience in handling permit and immigration matters, thereby being well acquainted with the relevant state authorities and procedures, and in handling labour issues relating to employment in Switzerland and in international organizations and diplomatic missions.

We notably advise on the following:

  • Swiss and EU immigration requirements
  • Visas, work permits and residence permits
  • Expatriation
  • Naturalisation
  • Employment contracts
  • Swiss labour law and collective agreements
  • Swiss law on “bodyshopping”
  • Labour disputes in front of Swiss courts, the appeals boards of international organizations (ILO, ITU, WHO, WMO, IOM, etc.) and international administrative tribunals

Art law

The Partner heading our art law practice is among the pioneers of art law in Europe, having become involved in the field in 1982 and co-founded in 1992 the first research centre in Europe to specialize in art law. Our firm counsels all participants in the art market, notably artists, graphic artists, collectors, restorers, dealers, galleries, auction houses, transport companies, private and public museums and art-banking services.

We notably advise on Swiss law, EU law and international treaties relating to the following areas:

  • Export controls and licenses
  • Temporary import/export, including free port facilities
  • Customs duties
  • Insurance and transport
  • VAT on import and sales
  • Authentication and attribution issues
  • Copyright, moral rights and "droit de suite"
  • Art transactions and the licensing of rights
  • International loans and exhibitions
  • Establishing cultural institutions such as private museums and art-related foundations
  • Tax rebates and exemptions, including gifts in lieu of tax
  • Estate planning for artists and collectors

German practice

The background and profile of two of the Firm’s partners position it as an ideal resource for German-speaking clients and law firms seeking the assistance in Geneva of international lawyers who have an intimate knowledge of their language and culture. Conversely, they offer non-German speakers in the Geneva area an ideal platform for dealing with business and legal needs in German-speaking Switzerland.

Christopher Bollen and Mathis Kern are both of German mother tongue as well as fluent in French and English. Christopher Bollen did his legal studies and passed his bar and notary public exams in St Gall. Born in Geneva, Mathis Kern holds a bilingual (French and German) law degree of the University of Fribourg and passed his bar exam in Zurich.

Having both practised law in Geneva for a number of years, they offer their clients a bridge between French-speaking Switzerland and the German-speaking world.