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If a legal entity faces debt enforcement proceedings and fails to pay the amount demanded in the summons, its creditors can go to court 20 days after the summons for payment is served and have the debtor declared bankrupt.

A business must also declare itself bankrupt if it regards itself as insolvent.

Competent authorities


The court initiates the bankruptcy proceedings and calls on the creditors to file their claims. If the debtor cannot prove that it has paid its debts, the court declares it bankrupt.

The Commercial Registers is immediately notified of the bankruptcy. Notice of the bankruptcy is published in the official gazette of the canton concerned, and in the Swiss Official Journal of Commerce.

The bankruptcy office draws up a list of the assets that may be seized. These are sold off and the proceeds used to satisfy the creditors.

If there are no assets that can be sold, the court concludes the bankruptcy proceedings, unless a creditor demands within 10 days that the proceedings be continued. The creditors are each issued with a certificate of loss. This document confirms the amount due to them.

Swiss Official Journal of Commerce


Legal entities have to cease doing business and are deleted from the Commercial Register. Their seizable assets are sold off and the proceeds used as far as possible to satisfy their creditors.

Composition agreement

If the creditors and the debtor can reach an agreement (on the amounts payable and timetable), bankruptcy can be averted. In this case, the creditors and the debtor must go to court to request composition, by filing a draft composition agreement.

Detailed information on the procedure and help on the SME Portal