National and regional laws, administrative orders or instructions regulate many health issues. In Switzerland health affairs are under cantonal jurisdiction. In order to comply with legal provisions, it is therefore important to know the regional legal framework. It is equally important to know if a law or regulation is undergoing revision and if an eventual change would have an influence on the project. Projects are sometimes the result of impending legal changes.
A clause regulating the opening of restaurants and bars was undergoing change: various cantons had a law regulating the number of public houses licensed to serve alcohol in proportion to the size of the canton. This regulation was abandoned in many cantons following other changes in the laws concerning public houses. The institutions for the prevention of alcoholism intensified their activities during that period and tried to show the link between access to alcohol and increased consumption.
Why you would disregard these aspects
- The importance of actively investigating legal framework is often forgotten.
- The task of finding and studying this information seems too arduous and is given little importance.
What you have to gain
The actual legal framework and possible future changes to it can be a decisive factor for a project as they show the type of limitations that a project might encounter.
What you can actually do
Get information about national, regional or local laws that might have an impact on your project. Try to find out if such laws are undergoing a revision process. If there is a chance that new regulations will come into force during the project, you must check if such changes could have an impact on it.
Depending on your topic you may need to consult the following:
- Criminal code
- legislation regarding epidemics
- code of obligations
- food legislation
- drugs legislation
- health insurance act
- regional policies (e.g. on dependency prevention)
Questions for critical reflection
- In my project design has the legal framework been taken into consideration?
- Are eventual changes in the legal framework known and has an assessment of the implications been carried out?