Swiss Criminal Procedure Code



Art. 10 Presumption of innocence and assessment of evidence
1 Every person is presumed to be innocent until they have been convicted in a judgment
that is final and legally binding.
2 The court shall be free to interpret the evidence in accordance with the views that it
forms over the entire proceedings.
3 Where there is insurmountable doubt as to whether the factual requirements of
alleged offence have been fulfilled, the court shall proceed on the assumption that
the circumstances more favourable to the accused occurred.

Art. 11 Prohibition of double jeopardy
1 No person who has been convicted or acquitted in Switzerland by a final legally
binding judgment may be prosecuted again for the same offence.
2 The foregoing paragraph does not apply to proceedings that have been waived or
abandoned and to the review of a case.


Chapter 4 Legal Agents

Section 1 Principles
Art. 127
1 The accused, the private claimant and the other persons involved in the proceedings
may appoint a legal agent to safeguard their interests.
2 The parties may appoint two or more persons as legal agent provided this does not
unreasonably delay the proceedings. In such a case, they must designate one agent as
the principal agent, who is authorised to carry out acts of representation before the
criminal justice authorities and whose domicile is deemed to be the sole address for
3 The legal agent may act for two or more persons involved in the proceedings,
subject to the restrictions laid down by law and in their professional code of practice.
4 The parties may appoint any person who has the capacity to act, is of unblemished
reputation and is trustworthy; the restrictions of the law governing the legal profession
are reserved.
5 The defence of the accused is reserved to lawyers who are authorised under the
Lawyers Act of 23 June 200036 to represent parties in court; the foregoing is subject
to derogating cantonal provisions on the defence in proceedings relating to contraventions.

Section 2 Defence Lawyers
Art. 128 Status
A defence lawyer is obliged to act solely in the interests the accused, subject to the
restrictions laid down by law and in the professional code of practice.

Art. 129 Right to choose a defence lawyer
1 The accused is entitled, in any criminal proceedings and at any stage of the proceedings
either to instruct a legal agent as defined in Article 127 paragraph 5 to
conduct his or her defence (right to choose a defence lawyer) or, subject to Article
130, to conduct his or her own defence.
2 The accused exercises his or her right to choose a defence lawyer by executing a
written power of attorney or making a declaration on record.

Art. 130 Mandatory appointment of a defence lawyer
A defence lawyer must be appointed to represent the accused if:
a. the period on remand including the period when under arrest has continued
for more than 10 days;
b.37 the offence concerned carries a custodial sentence of more than a year or a
custodial measure or may result in expulsion from Switzerland;
c. the accused is unable to safeguard his or her interests in the proceedings adequately
due to his or her physical or mental condition or for other reasons,
and his or her statutory representative is unable to do so either;
d. the prosecuting lawyer is appearing in person before the court of first instance
or the court of appeal;
e. accelerated proceedings (Art. 358–362) are being conducted.

Art. 131 Appointment of the mandatory defence lawyer
1 Where the mandatory appointment of a defence lawyer is required, the director of
proceedings shall ensure that a defence lawyer is appointed immediately.
2 If the requirements for the mandatory appointment of a defence lawyer are fulfilled
on commencement of the preliminary proceedings, the defence lawyer must be
appointed following the first interview by the public prosecutor, or before opening
the investigation at the latest.
3 In cases where the appointment of a mandatory defence lawyer is clearly required
but evidence is obtained before a defence lawyer is appointed, the evidence obtained
is only admissible if the accused waives the right to have the evidence taken again.

Art. 132 Duty defence lawyer
1 The director of proceedings shall appoint a duty defence lawyer if:
a. in the event of mandatory appointment of a defence lawyer:
1. the accused, despite being requested to do so by the director of proceedings,
fails to appoint a defence lawyer of choice, or
2. the defence lawyer of choice has been dismissed or has resigned and the
accused fails to appoint a new defence lawyer of choice within the time
limit set;
b. the accused lacks the necessary financial means and requires a defence lawyer
to safeguard of his or her interests.
2 A defence lawyer is required to safeguard the interests of the accused in particular
if the matter is not a minor case and the case involves factual or legal issues that the
accused is not qualified to deal with alone.
3 A case is no longer regarded as minor if it is probable that a custodial sentence of
more than 4 months, a monetary penalty of more than 120 daily penalty units or
community service of more than 480 hours will be imposed on conviction.

Art. 133 Appointment of the duty defence lawyer
1 The duty defence lawyer is appointed by the person acting as director of proceedings
at the relevant stage of the proceedings.
2 The director of proceedings shall if possible take account of the wishes of the
accused when appointing the duty defence lawyer.

Art. 134 Dismissal and change of duty defence lawyer
1 If there is no longer any reason to have a duty defence lawyer, the director of
proceedings shall dismiss the lawyer.
2 If the mutual trust between the accused and his or her duty defence lawyer is
seriously compromised or the provision of an effective defence is no longer guaranteed
for other reasons, the director of proceedings shall appoint another person as the
duty defence lawyer.

Art. 135 Duty defence lawyer's fees
1 The duty defence lawyer shall be paid in accordance with the table of legal fees
applicable in the Confederation or in the canton in which the criminal proceedings
were conducted.
2 The public prosecutor or the court passing judgment shall determine the fees at the
end of the proceedings.
3 The duty defence lawyer may file an appeal against the decision on fees:
a. with the objections authority, where the decision was made by the public
prosecutor or the court of first instance; or
b. with the Federal Criminal Court, where the decision was made by the objections
authority or the cantonal court of appeal.
4 If the accused is ordered to pay procedural costs, as soon as his or her financial
circumstances permit, he or she must:
a. repay the fees to the Confederation or the canton;
b. pay the defence lawyer the difference between the official fees and the full
5 The rights of the Confederation or of the canton are subject to a time limit of
10 years from the time when the decision becomes legally binding.