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Tribunal de première instance

The Tribunal de première instance has jurisdiction in all acts of the contentious or non-contentious civil proceedings that the law does not attribute to another judicial or administrative authority. It rules on claims in civil and commercial matters between natural persons or legal entities (individuals, companies, etc.).

Contacts

Address

Address

Rue de l'Athénée 6-8
1205 Genève

Contact details

Summer hours from July 4 through August 26, 2022, included

Desk-telephone
9h-12h / 14h-16h

Filing applications of ex-parte interim measures, seizures and protective letters to the Tribunal de première instance. Please give prior notice to the registry at T. +41 22 327 66 80. The desk is open until 17h at the latest

Regular opening hours

Desk

9h-12h / 13h30-16h30

Telephone

8h-12h / 13h30-16h30

Filing applications of ex-parte interim measures and seizures to the Tribunal de première instance

Please give prior notice to the registry at T. +41 22 327 66 80
The desk is open until 17h at the latest
(For ex-parte interim measures, seizures and protective letters only)

Mailing address

Tribunal de première instance
Case postale 3736
1211 Genève 3

Presidency and Directorate

Mrs. Véronique HILTPOLD
President

Mrs. Sandrine ROHMER
Vice-President

Mr. Armand RIVIERES
Director

Composition

Competences

The Tribunal de première instance acts in particular as the authority of:

  • Conciliation for civil cases, excluding those assigned to another authority by law (Tribunal des prud'hommes, Tribunal des baux et loyers)
  • First instance judgment (with the exception of disputes falling within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal des prud'hommes, the Tribunal des baux et loyers or the Tribunal de protection de l'adulte et de l'enfant)
  • Judgments enforcement (art. 86 para. 2 let. c LOJ)

It rules in particular in the following areas:

  • Family law: separation, divorce, action to declare a parent-child relationship, division of the marital property, parents' obligations towards their children, etc.
  • Law of persons: rectification of marital status, gender reassignment
  • Law of contracts: sale contract, agency contract (bank, doctor, architect, etc.), work contract
  • Company law and trade law: cancellation of the general meetings' decisions, declaration that a document is void
  • Succession law: annulment of testamentary provisions, questions relating to statutory entitlements, estate division, various conflicts between heirs, disclaimer of inheritance, etc.
  • Interim measures: e.g. a building contractors' lien, protection of legal personality
  • Recovery: clearance to proceed following debt collection procceedings, seizure
  • Bankruptcy

Organization

The Tribunal de première instance is composed of 26 career judges (professional judges). They work closely with jurists and with a clerk for the administrative follow-up of the proceedings and the recording of minutes in court hearings.

The Tribunal de première instance Office can be reached by telephone during the indicated opening hours for questions relating to a pending proceeding. It does not provide legal advice.

Proceeding

The proceedings before the court involve several steps:
 

Step 1: bring an action before the court

You must write your application in French and send it to the Tribunal de première instance by post or by handing it directly at the desk of the court or at the Greffe universel.

Your request should indicate against whom it is directed, what you wish to obtain (your conclusions) and state as clearly as possible the grounds on which it is based. The request must be dated and signed.

 

Step 2: make an advance payment on costs

Before continuing the examination of your application, the court requires you to make an advance payment on costs, the amount of which depends on the nature and purpose of your request, pursuant to the applicable rules of order (RTFMC - E 1 05.10 or OELP - RS 281.35).

Initially, i.e. in disputes subject to the prior conciliation procedure, the amount of this advance varies between Fr. 100.- and Fr. 240.-.

For family law cases, the amount already depends at this stage on the nature and purpose of your conclusions pursuant to the applicable rules of order.

 

Step 3: conduct of the proceedings

In principle, the court proceedings are preceded by a conciliation procedure.

There are, however, exceptions, provided for in articles 198 and 199 CrimPC (e.g. divorce, summary proceedings, interim measures, action for release from a debt).

Depending on the nature of the cases:

  • Either you and your opponent are summoned to a preliminary conciliation hearing. In this case, the judge will try to get the parties to reach an agreement.  If an agreement is reached, the procedure is concluded with a conciliation record which is equivalent to a judgment.
     
  • However, if the conciliation attempt fails, this step comes to an end:
    • By granting an authorisation to proceed on the basis of which the proceedings can   continue before another judge
    • By a proposal for judgment addressed by the judge to the parties when the amount in dispute does not exceed Fr. 5'000.-
    • By a decision, if the disputed value does not exceed Fr. 2'000.-
       
  • Either you and your opponent are summoned directly to a hearing.
     
  • Or an exchange of written submissions is carried out beforehand to enable the opponent to comment in writing about your request.

The number and type of hearings depend on the nature of your case.

 

Step 4: end of the procedure

You are informed that your case is ready for trial.

At the end of the procedure, the judge will issue his/her judgment which will be notified to you in writing within a few weeks (8 weeks on average).

Thematic guide

Separation and divorce

You are married and you want to separate?
There are several ways to do this.

Application forms

Delivery of certificates

For cases filed starting from January 1, 2011

This form concerns requests for deeds (free copies, certified copies, extracts of judgments, attestations of enforceability, certificates of entry into force, Annexes V and VI of the Lugano Convention, various attestations and certificates) relating to proceedings initiated on or after January 1, 2011.

For cases filed before January 1, 2011

This form concerns requests for deeds (free copies, certified copies, extracts of judgments, enforceable copies, certificates of entry into force, Annexes V and VI of the Lugano Convention, various attestations and certificates) relating to proceedings initiated before January 1, 2011.

Debt collection proceeding / removal of objections

Sequestration order

Questions/answers

If your resources are insufficient to defend your interests in court, you may, under certain conditions, be eligible for legal aid. This financial aid is not free of charge.

It consists mainly of partial or total payment of lawyers' fees and legal costs for people who do not have the necessary means to pay them. You will have to reimburse it as soon as you are able to do so.

For more information, consult the thematic guide Legal aid

 

You can bring a case to the Tribunal de première instance of Geneva if you or/and your spouse are domiciled in Geneva.

Yes, in the following cases:

  • At the stage of conciliation
  • At any stage of the proceedings, if the hearing is public

As a general rule, you are required to appear in person at a hearing, including family law hearings where the court has specifically ordered it and at conciliation hearings.

If you are represented by a lawyer, he/she will advise you whether your presence at the hearing is required.

Note: the presence of minor children who have not been summoned (even babies) is not allowed at the hearing (unless exceptionally agreed by the judge).

Hearings are open to the public, except in the following cases:

  • Family law matters (divorce, marital protection, support, parental rights, paternity, etc.)
  • Conciliation hearings
  • When the court has ordered the hearing to be held in camera because of a particular private or public interest

See also

Tribunal des baux et loyers

This court intervenes in the context of disputes relating to a lease contract or a non-agricultural usufructuary lease contract involving an immovable property.

Commission de conciliation en matière de baux et loyers

This commission intervenes in disputes relating to a lease contract or a non-agricultural usufructuary lease contract, involving an immovable property.

Legal advice service and legal counsels

The Judiciary Power does not provide legal advice. You can contact the following associations and organizations.

Separation and divorce

You are married and you want to separate?
There are several ways to do this.