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Swiss Lawmakers Approve Hague Convention On Trusts

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

28 December 2006


The Swiss Parliament approved on the last day of its winter session the ratification by Switzerland of the Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and on their Recognition of July 1st 1985 (Hague Trust Convention).

The Lower House’s vote on December 20 follows the unanimous vote of the Upper House, which accepted to ratify the Hague Trust Convention during its spring session on March 23, 2006. Both Houses of the Swiss Parliament have now unanimously accepted the Swiss Federal Council’s bill.

The bill authorises the Swiss Federal Council to ratify the Hague Trust Convention as well as introducing new legal provisions into Swiss law to deal with international conflict issues – jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and debt enforcement – relating to trusts.

Upon its publication in the official Federal Bulletin and in accordance with the Swiss Constitution, this bill is subject to the possibility of a referendum during 100 days pursuant to the Swiss Constitution. However, according to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), it is unlikely that any referendum will be launched against the bill.

Upon expiry of this referendum period, the Swiss Federal Council will be able to deposit its instrument of ratification with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as well as set the entry into force date of the new internal legal provisions.

The entry into force of the Hague Trust Convention and of the new internal legal provisions can be expected as early as July 2007.

Switzerland’s ratification of the Hague Trust Convention has been supported and furthered for many years by STEP, and Prof. von Overbeck, who is an Honorary Member of STEP Suisse Romande, was the Rapporteur during the drafting of the Convention.

STEP has been in Switzerland since 1992 and has today over 1,000 members. It is composed of the Association STEP Suisse Romande Association in Geneva, the STEP Swiss-German and Liechtenstein Branch in Zurich and in Vaduz, the STEP Basel Branch and the STEP Ticino Branch.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore investment, offshore stock exchanges, and hedge funds is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report9.asp

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