Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Jan Stepan

First Page



The Swiss Institute of Comparative Law seated at Lausanne was established by the federal statute of October 6, 1978. The Institute is envisioned as a center for the "documentation of and research into comparative, foreign, and international law." According to the statute and the implementing decree of December 19, 1979, the Institute serves the following purposes:

(1) to supply federal agencies and the federal administration with material and studies that may be needed for decisions concerning legislation and international treaties; (2) to contribute towards international efforts at the harmonization and unification of law; (3) to provide information and expert opinions to courts, administrative agencies, attorneys, and other interested parties; [and] (4) to pursue its own scholarly research studies, to support and coordinate studies at the Swiss universities and to offer to scholars and researchers an adequate research center in Switzerland. ...

Two principles resulting from the purposes of the Institute affect the character of the library. First, to satisfy the practical and scholarly orientation of the Institute, the collection is designed to facilitate research into the present state of law and its future development. Thus, material on legal history of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and, with rare exceptions, Roman or canon law will not be collected. More recent legal history, however, will be placed in the collection if such material is useful in the application or scientific treatment of modern law.