Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 68: Sweden

Rolf Dotevall


The official name of the country of Sweden is konungariket Sverige (the Kingdom of Sweden). The Swedish legal system belongs to the Nordic legal family, which is a branch within the family of Roman–Germanic law. Compared to the other branches of this family, there are differences in Swedish law that go beyond the level of details. There are major similarities within the legal systems in the Nordic countries. In the comparative law literature it is highlighted how successful the Nordic countries have been during the last hundred years in harmonizing their legal systems. The coordination of Scandinavian law has been mentioned as an example of cooperation in Europe as a whole (Strömholm, 2000, p. 31; Zweigert and Kötz, 1998, p. 284). Another common way of characterizing Swedish law is to say that it holds an intermediate position between continental law and the common law system. However, this is a questionable way to describe the Swedish legal system. There are very few examples in Swedish law that present features found in common law but not in the continental legal system. There are some Roman law institutions which are lacking in both Swedish law and in common law. This absence does not say much about the relationship between the two legal systems concerned. The history of Swedish law has been quite independent from common law (Zweigert and Kötz, 1998, p. 277). In recent years there has been a noticeable influence of common law especially in contract and company law.

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