Glossary

A
Appeal
(överklaga)
A request to have a case reviewed in a higher court (see Court below) if a person is not satisfied with a sentence.

C
Case law
(praxis)
The decisions taken by courts and authorities, especially those taken in higher instances.

Courts (domstolar)
The general courts judge, for example, criminal cases. They are divided into three instances: District Court (first instance), Court of Appeal (second instance), and Supreme Court (final instance).

Crime (brott)
Any act that is punishable by law.

Criminal case (brottmål)
A crime being tried by a court of law.

D
Defence counsel
(försvarare)
A defence counsel defends a person who is suspected of a crime. A person that has been detained, arrested, or suspected of a crime punishable by a prison sentence exceeding six months, must have a defence lawyer.

Defendant (gärningsperson/tilltalad)
The person being prosecuted for a crime, that is, the person whom the prosecutor believes is guilty. One of the purposes of a criminal case trial is to decide whether or not the defendant has committed the crime.

I
Imposition of a summary fine
(strafföreläggande)
The public prosecutor can decide an imposition of a summary fine for a person who has confessed to a crime of a less serious nature. When the suspect signs the summary, it is valid as a non-appealable judgement. So if the suspect accepts summary punishment, a trial is not necessary.

Injured party (målsägande)
The person who has been subjected to or has suffered injury from a crime is known as the injured party during legal proceedings.

Injured party’s legal counsel (målsägandebiträde)
Legal representative paid for by the state to support someone who has been subjected to a serious crime.

J
Judgement
(dom)
The decision(s) on the case taken by the court.

L
Law clerk
(notarie)
A lawyer, usually newly-qualified, with a 1½-2 year trainee post at a District Court.

Lawyer (advokat)
The term advokat is a professional title reserved for lawyers who are members of the Swedish Bar Association. To be a member, one must have a jur. kand. (LL.B) degree and a minimum of three years’ experience of practicing law. One must also pass the Swedish Bar Examination and be considered suitable for the legal profession. An advokat lawyer helps clients in court, facilitates contacts with authorities, and offers professional advice and other legal services.

Lawyer (jurist)
The term jurist is used for all persons who have a law degree. A lawyer is an expert at analyzing and solving legal problems and at interpreting laws and contracts. For example, a lawyer can work as a judge, a prosecutor, or for an insurance company.

Lay assessor (nämndeman)
Lay assessors have the right to vote and judge together with a judge in criminal and family law cases. They are appointed by political parties and serve as a complement to the professional judge. They are not lawyers but have other jobs. They serve in District and County Administrative Courts, Courts of Appeal, and Administrative Courts of Appeal.

Legal force or Non-appealability (laga kraft)
A judgement or a decision gains legal force when it is no longer appealable. Usually an appeal must be made within three weeks. By gaining legal force, a judgement can be executed. For example, if the court has sentenced the offender to prison, he or she can begin to serve the term.

M
Main hearing
(huvudförhandling)
Oral proceedings in court before deciding a case. During the main hearing, the court receives facts and information so it can decide whether the defendant is to be convicted of the crime the prosecutor claims he or she has committed. Another term for the main hearing is the trial (rättegång).

P
Party
(part)
The injured party can become a litigant party by claiming for damages or by acceding to the prosecution. The parties in a case are the person who applies for a summons and the person being summoned. This means that in a criminal case, the prosecutor and the defendant are parties. An injured party can become a party by claiming for damages or by acceding to the prosecution.

Preliminary investigation (förundersökning)
A crime investigation led by the police or the prosecutor.

Probation service (frivården)
An organisation under the Swedish Prison and Probation Service which administers sanctions such as probation and community service. In cases where the defendant risks imprisonment, the court often requests a statement from the Probation Service. This statement is to help the court to decide whether the sanction should be imprisonment or, for instance, a conditional sentence or probation.

Prosecution (åtal)
A request by a public prosecutor or a private person that a court of law sentence a person for one or more crimes.

Public prosecutor (åklagare)
A lawyer who leads preliminary investigations and acts on behalf of the state during legal proceedings.

R
Recording clerk
(protokollförare)
An official with no legal training who works as a recording clerk at hearings. Law clerks and legal analysts often do this job. At a hearing, the recording clerk is not part of the court. This means that he or she has no vote when the court makes its judgement. The recording clerk takes the minutes and attends to practical details during the hearing.

S
Sanction
(påföljd)
The punishment imposed by the state for a crime. Sanctions include fines, imprisonment, conditional sentences, probation, and taking someone into special care.

W
Waiver of prosecution
(åtalsunderlåtelse)
A decision by a prosecutor not to prosecute, for example, because of the young age of the offender.

Last Updated: 2012-08-27