CAS in Law and Public Law


Since the 1990s, the two key components of public law—the law itself and the State—have gone through an unavoidable process of change brought on by transformations within society itself. Thus, the law—taken in the broadest sense of the term—has come to have its fields of competency challenged by non-obligatory, quasi-legal instruments, such as official guidelines, which have led to the emergence of the idea of “soft law”. The State itself—traditionally described using models of the liberal State and subsequently models of the social State—now better fits into the mould of the “propelling State” (C.-A. Morand, 1991). The State is no longer merely understood in terms of its regulatory or social functions, but rather within the perspective of public policies which encompass all these different types of law. These two changes reveal the law’s total transformation. Switzerland’s public administration system cannot escape these dual changes. The purpose of this course is, therefore, to present, analyse and explain these twin changes by combining theoretical and practical knowledge. More precisely, on the one hand, we will aim to understand the diversity of standards governing and regulating public action and citizen’s behaviours. On the other hand, we will study the use and effectiveness of these standards in regard to the definition and application of selected public policies and in compliance with the legal principle according to which “the law is the basis and limit of the State's activity”.

  • To acquire a profound understanding of the normative instruments available to public administrations from an historic, comparative, political and institutional point of view
  • To develop an understanding of the procedures for adopting, implementing and monitoring those different instruments
  • To be able to identify the different regulatory instruments used in public policy
  • To be able to analyse and explain the advantages and disadvantages of using these instruments and their effectiveness
Target audience
  • MAS participants in public administration (MPA)
  • Politicians and members of public institutions at federal, cantonal and municipal level
  • Representatives of political parties, interest groups or non-profit organizations
  • Anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of the normative instruments of public action
Speakers (subject to modifications)
Name Function
Alex Biederman Associate professor at the School of Criminal Sciences
Pirmin Bundi Assistant Professor of Public Policy Evaluation, IDHEAP
Gregor Chatton Judge at the Federal Administrative Court, Lecturer, IDHEAP
Monique Cossali Sauvain Lawyer, OFJ, Legislative Projects Unit II
Oliver Neuman Assistant Professor of Management, IDHEAP
Christian Raetz Former mediator of the canton of Vaud
Discussed subjects
  • An overview of the regulatory instruments: hard law and soft law
  • Scope and limitations of the principle of legality
  • The diversity of the authors of standards: public and semi-public authorities or private entities
  • The processes involved in building new norms
  • The diversity of means and authorities for monitoring the norms
  • The public administration’s use of nudges
  • Legislative expansion
Teaching methods

This course will follow a dynamic approach combining ex-cathedra teaching methods, group activities (role-playing, writing exercises) and lectures given by outside speakers. In this way, the course will bring together theoretical and practical forms of knowledge. Participants will be encouraged to play an active role within the training framework by contributing to theoretical reflections and sharing their professional experiences.

Qualifications and Certificates

Participants who actively and regularly attend the course, and complete the course project, will be awarded a Foundation of Continuing Education certificate of continuing education/Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Public Administration (with a specialisation in CEMAP). This corresponds to 10 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. Participants who follow the course but decide not to complete the project work will receive a certificate of attendance (but no ECTS credits).

Continuing Education regulations

Practical information and Registration

Program management

Prof. Sophie weerts

Dates, times and place

Next start: September 2022

For any questions, please contact

Registration fees

Total course registration fees come to CHF 3,900 (including all documentation), which should be paid on receipt of the invoice, and by the start of the course at the latest.
A discount of 5%, up to a maximum of CHF 500 per course, is available to any IDHEAP alumni—holding an MPA, DAS or CEMAP, an IDHEAP PhD or a Master’s in PMP—who wish to follow a CAS course or a Seminar for Specialist and Executives organised by IDHEAP. This reduction does not apply to participants in the DAS who subsequently wish to follow the MPA course. Any decision to withdraw from the course must be made in writing. If withdrawal from the course is announced between 21 and ten days prior to its commencement, 50% of the registration fee will remain due. If withdrawal from the course is announced less than ten days before its commencement, the entire registration fee is due. The number of places being limited, registrations will be considered on the basis of the date of receipt.

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Course Manager
Prof. Sophie Weerts
+41 21 692 69 60

Studies Secretariat
+41 21 692 68 13

Rue de la Mouline 28 - CH-1022 Chavannes-près-Renens
Tel. +41 21 692 68 00
Fax +41 21 692 68 09