• Coronavirus Legal Implications Supporting our clients through the challenges

    Recent Updates

    Briefing Update COVID-19: Effects on Migration Law
    Briefing Compliance and Criminal Law Related Risks in Connection with COVID-19 Loans
    Briefing Mass Dismissal and Social Plan

    Daniel Hochstrasser
    Senior Partner, Bär & Karrer

    We are all facing challenging times seeking to navigate developments relating to the spread and impact of the coronavirus.

    We very much hope you and your loved ones remain in good health. At Bär & Karrer, we monitor developments closely in order to take all measures to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and everyone we work with. This is the key priority for us.

    We remain at your disposal to support you with your ongoing business affairs and to advise you in relation to any legal matters around the corona-crisis.

    Best regards

    Daniel Hochstrasser

    How we can support you


    The uncertainty caused by the worldwide spread of the coronavirus as well as the measures taken by governments, companies and private individuals to prevent the further spread of the virus, are creating considerable difficulties for companies and their employees. In some sectors of the economy, such as gastronomy, retail and culture, activities have come to an almost complete standstill. In other sectors, the restrictions imposed heavily affect business conduct, creating massive uncertainty for the economy as a whole.

    The sudden collapse of demand, delays in the supply chain, the absence of customers and the upheavals on the financial markets oblige companies and their management to react quickly and flexibly to a constantly changing environment. This raises a number of legal questions around maintaining liquidity, strengthening the capital base, cost reductions, deployment of employees, adherence to contracts and – last but not least – liability for damages.

    We have prepared a series of briefings which highlight various issues that companies and individuals are facing in the current situation. Our specialists accompany and support you in all legal matters around these topics at all times.

    Latest briefings about the coronavirus

    Impact of COVID-19 on Antitrust Law

    The Swiss Competition Commission (ComCo) has reminded businesses that it will not tolerate any exploitation of the coronavirus crisis by companies forming cartels to increase prices, or by dominant suppliers driving up the prices they charge to excessive levels. However, ComCo will not actively intervene against cooperation that...

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    Disruption to Contracts Resulting from COVID-19 and Governmental Measures

    The continued spread of COVID-19 and governmental measures to combat the pandemic will inevitably disrupt contracts. They will do so in different ways, and depending on the specific situation, various legal concepts may apply. Typically, parties in essence ask if they are exempt from performing as contracted, if they...

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    Fiscal liquidity and restructuring measures

    For many businesses, the effects of the Coronavirus crisis create new economic challenges. In addition to the protection of employees, liquidity planning and the management of the balance sheet situation to guard against capital losses or over-indebtedness are moving sharply into focus. The federal government and the cantons in Switzerland have therefore decided on various immediate tax measures for affected companies, which are briefly explained below. In addition, businesses feeling the impact of the...

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    Advance Care Directive and Living Will in Times of Covid-19

    The current Covid-19 pandemic forces many people to think about what would happen if they lose their capacity of judgment or if they end up in a hospital in imminent need of emergency surgery or intensive care, such as intubation. Swiss adult protection law is based on the right of self-determination and provides for two instruments in this regard: an advance care directive (so-called Vorsorgeauftrag) and a living will...

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    COVID-19: Effects on Migration Law

    The global spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the measures taken by the Federal Council have raised several questions in relation to migration law. This briefing is intended to provide a brief overview of the current situation (as of 22 July 2020) and the relevant changes in Swiss migration law. Since the assessment of the necessary migration policy measures by the authorities leads to constant updates and changes in the legal situation, the current information must be reviewed regularly.

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    COVID-19 and its Privacy Implications

    The exponential spread of COVID-19 has forced governments and employers to take strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Among other things, governments are tracking infection rates as well as their citizens' compliance with specific measures. At the same time, employers have to strike a balance between their duty of care and keeping their business running. This BK Briefing sets out certain measures taken by the Swiss government and employers, describes the implications these...

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    Overview of Composition and Insolvency Proceedings

    Crisis situations require quick and decisive – but nevertheless prudent – actions by the board of directors. The main focus lies on maintaining liquidity (e.g. "COVID-loans", short-time work, salary negotiations, improving receivables management, deferring investments, termination of nonessential contracts, etc.). In addition, further operational and balance sheet restructuring measures should be assessed. If, despite such measures, an out-of-court restructuring appears no longer possible, the board...

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    Mass Dismissal and Social Plan

    An employer planning to give notice to a certain number of employees within a period of 30 days (see below for thresholds, which vary depending on the size of the business) generally has to comply with mass dismissal regulations. In particular the following aspects should be considered: The thresholds are: (i) for businesses with 20-99 employees: at least ten dismissals; (ii) for businesses with 100-299 employees: dismissal of at least 10% of employees; and (iii) for businesses with 300 employees or more: at least 30 dismissals...

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    Compliance and Criminal Law Related Risks in Connection with COVID-19 Loans

    In order to bridge liquidity shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Council has decided to provide liquidity assistance for affected Swiss SMEs. The non-bureaucratic and swift credit approval process, however, entails a considerable potential for credit abuse; that is why violations of the COVID-19 ordinance on granting of credits with joint and several federal guarantees are subject to prosecution. Lending banks have to assess how wrongdoings pertaining to COVID-19 related loans might affect their compliance regime, their anti-money...

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    Crisis Situation: Guidelines for Boards of Directors

    In a crisis situation, there is a shift of competencies from a company's management to its board of directors. These guidelines aim to provide boards and other decision makers with an overview of key measures, duties and various legal aspects. The following areas require particular attention in our experience: – Duty to take action: In crisis situations, the board needs to take command, intensify its supervision of management and implement suitable reporting systems – Need for a realistic analysis: Faced with the...

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    Liquidity Supply for the Swiss Economy in Response to COVID-19

    The Swiss economy is severely affected by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to overcome the challenges posed by this exceptional situation and prevent an economic crisis, the availability of credit to private companies and a liquid banking system are essential. The Federal Council...

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    Impact of COVID-19 on Swiss Criminal Proceedings

    In order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on judicial proceedings, the Federal Council extended, by means of an ordinance issued on 20 March 2020, the Easter holiday court recess from 21 March 2020 through to 19 April 2020. However, subject to the below, there is...

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