Data protection («Datenschutz”)

The deputyship and the KESB work with personal data. They may not disclose this information to third parties without good reason (so-called "overriding interest") in order to protect the persons concerned (Art 413 para 2 ZGB and Art 451 para 1 ZGB). This would make them liable to prosecution. Furthermore, they would also lose the trust of the persons concerned. If various state agencies are involved in a case, it must be possible to exchange information. For example, if parents are overburdened with the upbringing of their children but have only modest financial means. In order for the KESB to be able to relieve the family, for example with socio-educational family support, it must be able to communicate with the social welfare office that pays the costs. The KESB must provide information to other state agencies, such as social welfare or the migration office, and vice versa.

Decision («Entscheid»)

After the investigation and the hearing, the KESB or the court makes a decision. It sends the written decision, also known as an order, judgment or decision, to the person concerned by registered mail.
This contains a detailed statement of reasons and information on how, where and within what period the person concerned can lodge an appeal against the decision (information on legal remedies). If no appeal is lodged, the decision becomes legally binding and can be enforced.
If the person concerned contests the decision, this appeal procedure may take some time. Therefore, the authority can implement the decision provisionally until the final decision of the court is available (withdrawal of suspensive effect).
In urgent cases, the authority can also decide on a superprovisional measure without first hearing the parties involved in the proceedings. There is no legal remedy against this measure for the time being.

Delay in judgement («Rechtsverzögerung»)

The law stipulates that the KESB or the court may not delay or refuse to make a decision. However, if they do so, the person concerned can appeal to the next higher instance (Art. 29 para. 1 BV).

Deputy («Beistandsperson»)

The KESB appoints a suitable person for each deputyship («Beistandschaft»). These are trained social workers who are committed to the welfare and protection of the persons concerned and who fulfil the tasks assigned to them. In addition to professional competence, sufficient time and integrity, they must also be interpersonally suitable for this function and have life experience and tolerance. The person concerned can propose someone from their circle of relatives or acquaintances as a private deputy instead of the official. If the person meets the requirements, the authority must take him or her into consideration.

Deputyship («Beistandschaft»)

With a deputyship, a person concerned is assigned a specialist who supports them in certain areas of life. The KESB clarifies in advance which tasks a deputy has. This is referred to as "tailoring". Possible areas of responsibility are, for example, housing, finances, health or dealing with the authorities. The authority must also specify whether the advisor merely advises, accompanies or represents the person concerned in their concerns.

There are different types of assistance:

In an accompanying deputyship (Art 393 ZGB, «Begleitbeistandschaft»), the deputy advises and supports the person concerned at a low level. Their apacity to act remains unaffected; they remain responsible for all matters and tasks themselves. The assistance guardianship cannot be ordered against the will of the person concerned.

In a representative deputyship (Art 394/395 ZGB, «Vertretungsbeistandschaft»), the deputy can conclude individual contracts or assume individual tasks on behalf of the person concerned. However, if they oppose the activities of the deputy to their own detriment, their capacity to act may be restricted.

In a participatory deputyship (Art 396 ZGB, «Mitwirkungsbeistandschaft»), the person concerned or the deputy may only make certain decisions with the consent of the other person. This means, for example, that they can only sign tenancy agreements jointly.
Different types of deputyship can be established and combined for different areas of responsibility (Art 397 ZGB). In this way, a measure is created that is adapted to the need for protection and the needs and abilities of the person concerned. This is referred to as a tailored deputyship.

If these measures are not sufficient to protect a person concerned, a general deputyship (Art 398 ZGB, «Umfassende Beistandschaft») can be ordered. This is necessary if someone needs help in all areas of life. The authority must carefully consider the situation, and the deputy is then responsible for all the affairs of the person concerned, even acting against his or her will if necessary. Affected persons can no longer conduct these affairs themselves because they are deprived of their so-called capacity to act. They still retain their most personal rights, which include the freedom to choose your domicile and the right to marry. However, this measure is rarely necessary.

If the person concerned only needs minor support, there are also alternatives to a deputyship. For example, the support services provided by Pro Senectute and Pro Infirmis.

Duty of care («Sorgfaltspflicht»)

KESB employees and counsellors fulfil a legally defined mandate. They must fulfil their duties with the necessary care. If they act unlawfully, so that the person concerned suffers financial loss, for example, they cannot generally be held personally liable. They are subject to state liability. (Art. 454 para. 3 ZGB). This also applies to private mandate holders.

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