Lawyers in Sweden

Lawyers in Sweden

Legal Professionals

Types of Lawyer

There is only one type of “official” lawyer in Sweden, the Advokat. Advokater have no solid monopoly, except for their title. They can be appointed as public defenders, but there are some exceptions allowing others this right too. There are approximately 2,850 Advokater, roughly one thousand of whom practice in Stockholm. Since there is no professional monopoly foreign lawyers have relatively easy access to the Swedish legal market. All those with a law degree can be styled jurist and give legal advice. The non-advokat jurists practice in offices known as juridiska byrĂ„er. There are over 100 such offices in Stockholm. Many jurists will practice as in-house counsel. Others will become advokater after gaining the necessary experience.

It is to be noted that even those with no law degree and who thus have no legal training, can practise law. There is nothing that prevents anybody from practising as legal adviser or legal counsel, or from providing other legal services to the public or enterprises. The exact number of legal practitioners without a law degree is unknown, but they are very few. They are differentiated from those practising law graduates who are not advokater, in other words those who are not members of the Swedish Bar Association will typically use their degree title jur. Kand.

Bailiffs

Information about Bailiffs in the European countries is provided here.

Notaries

Information about Notaries in the European countries is provided here.

Other Issues

Mobility

Applications to become an Advokat should be made to the Swedish Bar Association. Requirements include:

  • EEA citizenship
  • EEA residence
  • Passed the Cand. jur.
  • Five years practice of law
  • Integrity
  • Otherwise suitable

Exemptions: Applicants can be granted an exemption from the test (or parts of the test) by the Board of the Bar Association if they can show knowledge of Swedish law and practice.

Details of the Aptitude Test: The aptitude test is to be organised by the Faculty of Law of the University of Stockholm which will provide both preparatory courses and materials. The subjects to be taken could include:

  • Civil and Criminal Procedure
  • Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Introductory Course in Swedish Law

The test will be taken in the Swedish Language. There will be both written and oral tests.

In relation to Danish, Finnish, Icelandic and Norwegian lawyers, lawyers qualified from these jurisdictions who have three years experience of legal practice in Sweden are exampt from requirements 3-6 above.

In relation to other EEA States, normally candidates must pass an aptitude test. This is run by the Faculty of Law of the University of Stockholm, for the Swedish Bar Association.

Legal Education

All lawyers (Advokater) need a University degree (jur.kand). The Universities offering such law degrees are Stockholm, Lund, Göteborg, UmeĂ„ and Uppsala. The University College of Örebro offers a programme leading to a “Bachelor of Laws” degree (Högskoleexamen i juridik). Additionally universities can offer some basic legal training (grundlĂ€ggande rĂ€ttsutbildning) which does not lead directly to legal careers.

The studies are supposed to last four and a half years, but in fact last longer.

There is an obligatory part consisting of certain introductory courses, private law 1-4, administrative law, criminal law, procedural law, general principles of law, legal history, tax law, and then a large number of optional subjects. The compulsory core of the law degree used to comprise 140 of the necessary 180 points.

The state, though the National Board of Universities and Colleges (Universitets- och högskoleĂ€mbetet) (UHÄ) (now abolished) had previously decided all the subjects, but the universities have recently, in 1991, been given free rein and are remodelling the education. In 1991 the Swedish universities were granted further autonomy in curricula matters, and from 1 July 1993 they have been free to make changes to the law degree.

Marking Scheme in Sweden is as follows:

  • Each week full time study at university is worth one point. An academic year has forty weeks and therefore is worth forty points. The juris kandidat has one hundred and eighty points and lasts therefore four and a half years, if all the exams are passed at the time prescribed.
  • The points are gained through success in exams which are worth roughly ten points each. The average student takes four courses a year. A course lasts ten weeks followed by an examination.
  • Each exam is marked from the ranges: AB (approx 10%); BA (approx 30%); B (approx 30%); Fail (approx 30%).
  • The top 20% of students will normally go on to the judicial training course (outlined below). For this purpose the degree results are allocated scores as follows: AB= 2.0 points; BA= 1.5; B = 1.0. This figure is multiplied by the “points value” of the exam (typically ten) to give an overall score. Those with the highest scores are likely subsequently to try to practice in Stockholm, Göteborg or Malmö.

Legal Training

The postgraduate training programme is not a requirement to be a lawyer (Advokater), but it is mandatory for those wishing to become a judge or a state prosecutor. In practice students who want to become advokater are likely to do the training programme. The top 20% of law students follow this path. Admission to the judicial training programme is via the Domstolsverket (DV) (National Courts Administration). The entry is selective.

Governing Bodies

Membership of the Swedish Bar Association is required if the lawyer wants to call himself an advokat. The Association is open only to law graduates who have had substantial practical experience.

The address of the appropriate professional body is: Sveriges Advokatsamfund, Box 27321, S-102 54 Stockholm, Sweden

Relevant Legislation

Directive 89/48/EEC

LegislativeTexts:

  • Law 1992: 1511 amending the Code of judicial procedure.
  • Chapter 8 sections 1 and 8 of the Code of Judicial procedure.
  • Paras 4 and 45 of the Statute of the Swedish Bar Association.
  • Higher Education Ordinance 1993: 100.

Author: J Lonbay (A), 2008, many changes

Lawyers in other European Countries

Resources

Notes

See Also

Further Reading

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