Swedish Law on the Internet
By Ingrid Kabir
Published December 2005
Ingrid Kabir is a law librarian at the law section of Stockholm University Library, the national resource library for law in Sweden. Ingrid coordinates the work of the gateway to Swedish legal resources on the web, called Rättskällan. The Rättskällan project (actually part of a larger gateway) is a collaborative effort of five participating law libraries. Promoting the use of electronic legal resources is very much on Ingrid’s agenda.
Update to an article previously published on LLRX.com on June 1, 2001
Table of Contents
The Swedish legal system has its roots in the continental legal tradition with its dependence on statutory law. There was close communication between scholars of Sweden and the European continent in the eighteenth century. This led to a strong influence from the German-Roman tradition of the European continental countries on the Swedish legal system. A comprehensive Swedish code was enacted in 1734. This code, known as The Code of 1734, was divided into the following sections:
This arrangement can still be found in the comprehensive edition of The Law Book (in Swedish Sveriges Rikes Lag) published by Norstedt. As with texts of parliament and government of any country, the texts are available only in the vernacular.
The fundamental laws of Sweden are the following: The Instrument of Government, the Act of Succession, the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. The acts which form the Swedish Constitution are available in English from the web site of the International Constitutional Law Project at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany. The Swedish texts can be found at the web site of the Swedish Parliament.
Recent developments of Swedish laws are linked to Sweden’s membership in the European Union effective from January 1995. For detailed and in depth information on the Swedish legal system please consult the following title:
Acts and ordinances are published in The Swedish Code of Statutes since 1925. The Swedish title is “Svenska författningssamling (SFS)”. The statutes are cumulated in annual volumes with a keyword index. An index to statutes in force is published regularly by the title: “Register över gällande SFS-författningar”.
A comprehensive one-volume edition of Swedish laws entitled “Sveriges Rikes Lag” is published annually by Norstedt. Another one-volume set is “Sverges lagar” published annually by Thompson Fakta.
Full text of the Swedish Code of Statutes is available in the database of the Swedish Parliament called “Dokument. Sveriges riksdag”. This database provides texts of government bills, committee reports, proposals from members of the parliament and minutes of debates. Many guides, fact sheets and explanatory texts are also available. There is an English language version of the web site of the Swedish Parliament.
A selection of Swedish Statutes in Translation of special interest is issued by the Swedish ministries and can be on the web site of the Swedish Government. The list of translated codes include The Swedish Penal Code and The Personal Data Act and many more. Fact sheets on Swedish government policy are also included. There is a official gateway to all Swedish legal information and its name is “Lagrummet”. From this gateway there are links to legal sources from government, parliament, courts and government agencies.
Rättsbanken is the oldest publicly available legal database system in Sweden. It is provided by Infotorg which serves as an access point to more than 20 Swedish and some non-Swedish online services among them LEXIS-NEXIS. Rättsbanken is a fulltext database which has texts to statutes, case law and legal literature.
Notisum is the name of another gateway to statutes and case law. A great part of the content is provided free of cost in publicly available archives. A part is only available by subscription. PointLex is a current awareness tool for news and analysis of developments in the field Swedish law. Sveriges Rikes Lag is the name of a legal informationsystem produced by the publisher Norstedts Juridik. It contains fulltext of statutes, reports of cases, texts analysing and commenting on major codes of law.
ThomsonFakta provides Westlaw International in Sweden as well as a few other Swedish databases with case law, government bills and reports of Swedish codes.
The database of the Swedish Parliament Dokument from the Swedish Parliament offers a large number of texts from the parliament such as government bills (propositioner), minutes of debates (protokoll) and committee reports (utskottsbetänkanden). The website of the Parliament is easy to use the texts are of course in Swedish with some guides in English.
There are around sixty judicial districts, each one with a District Court (Tingsrätt). The reports of the district courts are available only at the archive of the district court itself. There are six Courts of Appeal. The Supreme Court is located in Stockholm. The general courts hear both criminal and civil cases. There are reporting services of cases from the Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court. A general description of the Swedish Judiciary is available in English at the website of the National Courts Administration.
Reports of cases from the Supreme Court are published in the journal: Nytt juridiskt arkiv: Avd. I. The journal has been published by the publisher Norstedt since 1874.
Cases from the Supreme Court are also published electronically on the webb site of the Supreme Court since 2003.
Case law from the Supreme Court, the Appeal Courts, the Supreme Administrative Court, The Administrative court of Appeal and specialised courts are all publlished electronically and free of cost for the user by The National Courts Administration since year 1980. There is a official gateway to all Swedish legal information and its name is “Lagrummet”. From this gateway there are links to legal sources from government, parliament, courts and government agencies.
There is an official gateway to all Swedish legal information and its name is “Lagrummet”. From this gateway there are links to legal sources from government, parliament, courts and government agencies.
Stockholm University Library is a national resource library for law. A portal to legal resources on the Internet Rättskällan has been developed. It is still, however, very much in its infancy. The work to collect and register websites is done in collaboration with librarians at five law libraries in Sweden. Information on public administration of Sweden is provided by the gateway to the public sector, sverige.se.
Sweden.se is the official gateway to Sweden. It provides official information on all
aspects of Swedish life, society, culture, education, tourism and the economy.
The major legal publishers are:
In the yearbook Scandinavian Studies in Law, legal scholars present reviews of legal developments within the Scandinavian countries. The recent volumes are devoted to International aspects of Scandinavian law. The yearbook is published under the auspices of The Faculty of Law at Stockholm University and the Stockholm Institute for Scandinavian Law.
Other titles include: