Claim of Damages

Claim of Damages in Europe

Definition of Claim Of Liberty

In the history of English law, it was a suit or petition to the King in the Court of Exchequer to have liberties and franchises confirmed there by the Attorney-General.

Private claims for damages in Sweden

In the Swedish Constitution: The Freedom of the Press Act (SFS nr: 1949:105)

In addition to the Instrument of Government, Sweden has three fundamental laws (Sveriges Grundlagar): the Act of Succession, the Freedom of the Press Act, which includes private claims for damages, and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. The Riksdag Act occupies an intermediate position between a fundamental law and ordinary law. The four fundamental lwas formed the Constitution of Sweden.

Freedom of the Press Act

The most recent Freedom of the Press Act was adopted in 1949 although Sweden established freedom of the press by law as early as 1766 and was first in the world to do so, at least according to its government. Freedom of the press means the right to disseminate information in printed form but with accountability before the law. Another feature of the Freedom of the Press Act is the citizens right to study public documents, and the principle of public access to official documents.

Chapter 11 of the Freedom of the Press Act has the heading “On the private claims for damages”. Here are the content of Chapter 11:

  • Article 1 provides the following: A private claim for damages based on an abuse of the freedom of the press may be pursued only on grounds that the printed matter to which the claim relates contains an offence against the freedom of the press. Unless otherwise provided below, such a claim may be pursued only against the person liable under penal law for the offence under Chapter 8. If, by reason of circumstances under Chapter 8, Article 10, liability has passed to such a person, the claim may also be pursued against the person liable immediately before him, provided that, and to the extent that, grounds exist in law for the pursuit of such a claim. The provisions of Chapter 8, Article 12, concerning liability under penal law apply also with regard to private claims for damages. Relevant provisions of law apply with regard to private claims for damages in respect of offences under Chapter 7, Article 2 or 3.
  • Article 2 provides the following: A private claim for damages which may be pursued against the re-sponsible editor of a periodical or his deputy may be pursued also against the owner. In the case of other printed matter, a claim which may be pursued against the author or editor may be pursued also against the publisher.
  • Article 3 provides the following: If a person is liable for damages on account of an offence against the freedom of the press as legal representative of a legal person, or as a guardian, trustee or administrator, the claim for damages may also be pursued against the legal person, or the person for whom the guardian, trustee or administrator was appointed, provided that, and to the extent that, grounds exist in law for the pursuit of such a claim.
  • Article 4 provides the following: If a person is liable together with another person for damages under this Chapter, such persons are liable jointly and severally. The apportionment of liability between the parties is determined in accordance with relevant provisions of law.
  • Article 5 provides the following: A private claim for damages may be pursued on account of an offence against the freedom of the press even if liability under penal law has lapsed or an action under penal law is otherwise excluded. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)

Other Chapters coverd by the Act:

  • Chapter 1: On the freedom of the press
  • Chapter 2: On the public nature of official documents
  • Chapter 3: On the right to anonymity
  • Chapter 4: On the production of printed matter
  • Chapter 5: On the publication of periodicals
  • Chapter 6: On the dissemination of printed matter
  • Chapter 7: On offences against the freedom of the press
  • Chapter 8: Liability rules
  • Chapter 9: On supervision and prosecution
  • Chapter 10: On special coercive measures
  • Chapter 12: On court proceedings in freedom of the press cases
  • Chapter 13: On matter printed abroad etc.
  • Chapter 14: General provisions

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