Charles Albert Gobat was born in Tramelan, Switzerland as the son of a Protestant minister and the nephew of Samuel Gobat, a missionary who became the bishop of Jerusalem. He was a great student who attended the universities of Basel, Heidelberg, Bern, and Paris, earning his doctorate in law, summa cum laude, in 1867 from Heidelberg. Gobat devoted the next fifteen years of his life to the law. He began his profession in Bern while lecturing on French civil law at Bern University. He then built an office in Delémont, canton of Bern, which quickly became the district's top legal practice.