Legal Provisions

The Legal Provisions in Europe

Legal Provisions in Sweden

In the Swedish Constitution: The Instrument of Government (SFS nr: 1974:152)

Chapter 8 of the Instrument of Government has the headline “Acts of law and other provisions”. Here is the content of Chapter 8:

  • Article 1 provides the following: It follows from the rules laid down in Chapter 2 concerning fundamental rights and freedoms that provisions with a particular content may not be adopted, or may be adopted only by means of an act of law, and that in certain cases draft laws shall be dealt with in a particular way.
  • Article 2 provides the following: Provisions relating to the personal status or mutual personal and economic relations of private subjects are laid down in law. These provisions include: 1. provisions relating to Swedish citizenship; 2. provisions relating to the right to a family name, or relating to marriage and parenthood, wills and inheritance, or family matters in general; 3. provisions relating to the right to fixed and movable property, contracts, companies, associations, collectives and foundations.
  • Article 3 provides the following: Provisions concerning the relations between private subjects and the public institutions which relate to obligations incumbent upon private subjects, or which otherwise encroach on the personal or economic circumstances of private subjects, are laid down in law. These provisions include provisions relating to criminal acts and the legal effects of such acts, provisions relating to taxes due the State, and provisions relating to requisition and other such disposition.
  • Article 4 provides the following: Provisions concerning the holding of a consultative referendum throughout the whole of the Realm and the procedure for holding a referendum on a matter of fundamental law are laid down in law. Provisions concerning elections for a parliamentary assembly within the European Union are also laid down in law. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 5 provides the following: The principles governing changes in the division of the Realm into local government districts, and the principles governing the organisation and working procedures of the local authorities and local taxation, are determined in law. Provisions relating to the competence of local authorities in other respects, and to their responsibilities, are likewise laid down in law.
  • Article 6 provides the following: Provisions concerning religious communities are laid down in law. Provisions concerning the bases of the Church of Sweden as a religious community shall also be laid down in an act of law. The enactment, amendment or abrogation of such a law is governed by the provisions of Article 16 concerning enactment of the Riksdag Act.
  • Article 7 provides the following: With authority in law, the Government may, without hindrance of the provisions of Article 3 or 5, adopt, by means of a statutory instrument, provisions relating to matters other than taxes, provided such provisions relate to any of the following matters: 1. the protection of life, health, or personal safety; 2. the sojourn in the Realm of foreign nationals; 3. the import or export of goods, money or other assets, manufactures, transport and communications, granting of credits, business activities, rationing, re-use and recycling of materials, design of buildings, installations and human settlements, or the obligation to obtain a permit in respect of measures affecting buildings and installations; 4. the cultural environment, hunting, fishing, animal protection, or nature conservation and environmental protection; 5. the circulation of traffic or public order; 6. training and education; 7. prohibition of the disclosure of matters which have come to a person’s knowledge in the public service or in the performance of official duties; 8. the protection of personal integrity when handling personal data. Authority of the nature referred to in paragraph one does not confer the right to adopt provisions concerning the legal effects of criminal acts other than the imposition of fines. The Riksdag may prescribe legal effects other than fines for contraventions of provisions laid down by the Government in an act of law granting authority under paragraph one.
  • Article 8 provides the following: With authority in law, the Government may, without hindrance of the provisions of Article 2, 3 or 5, adopt, by means of a statutory instrument, provisions concerning the granting of respites for the meeting of obligations.
  • Article 9 provides the following: With authority in law, the Government may, without hindrance of the provisions of Article 3, adopt, by means of a statutory instrument, provisions concerning customs duties on the importation of goods. With authority from the Riksdag, the Government or a local authority may adopt provisions concerning charges which otherwise fall under Article 3 to be adopted by the Riksdag.
  • Article 10 provides the following: With authority in law, the Government may, in any matter referred to in Article 7, paragraph one, or in Article 9, prescribe by means of a statutory instrument that a provision of such law shall come into force or cease to apply.
  • Article 11 provides the following: Where, under the present Chapter, the Riksdag authorises the Government to adopt provisions in a particular matter, the Riksdag may authorise the Government in such context to delegate the power to adopt regulations in the matter to an administrative authority or a local authority.
  • Article 12 provides the following: Provisions adopted by the Government by virtue of authority in law under the present Instrument of Government shall be submitted to the Riksdag for examination, should the Riksdag so decide. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 13 provides the following: In addition to what follows from Articles 7 to 10, the Government may adopt by means of a statutory instrument 1. provisions relating to the implementation of laws; 2. provisions which do not under fundamental law fall to be adopted by the Riksdag. The Government may not by virtue of paragraph one adopt provisions which relate to the Riksdag or authorities under the Riksdag. Neither may the Government adopt by virtue of paragraph one, point 2, provisions which relate to local taxation. The Government may, by means of a statutory instrument under paragraph one, delegate to an authority under the Government the task of adopting regulations in the matter. The provisions of paragraph two notwithstanding, the Government may also employ a statutory instrument to delegate to an authority under the Riksdag the task of adopting regulations under paragraph one which do not relate to the internal affairs of the Riksdag or an authority under the Riksdag.
  • Article 14 provides the following: The power conferred on the Government to adopt provisions in a particular matter does not preclude the Riksdag from adopting provisions in the same matter in an act of law. The Riksdag may direct the Riksbank in an act of law to adopt provisions coming within its remit under Chapter 9 and concerning its duty to promote a secure and efficient payments system. With authority in law, authorities under the Riksdag may adopt provisions relating to the internal affairs of the Riksdag or authorities under the Riksdag.
  • Article 15 provides the following: Fundamental law is enacted by means of two decisions of identical wording. The second decision may not be taken until elections for the Riksdag have been held throughout the whole of the Realm following the first decision, and the newly-elected Riksdag has convened. At least nine months shall elapse between the time when the matter was first submitted to the Chamber of the Riksdag and the date of the election, unless the Committee on the Constitution grants an exception from this provision by means of a decision taken no later than the committee stage, in which at least five sixths of members concur. The Riksdag may not adopt as a decision held in abeyance over an election a proposal for the enactment of fundamental law which conflicts with any other proposal concerning fundamental law currently being held in abeyance, unless at the same time it rejects the proposal it first adopted. A referendum shall be held on a proposal concerning fundamental law which is held in abeyance over an election, on a motion to this effect by at least one tenth of members, provided at least one third of members concur in approving the motion. Such a motion must be put forward within fifteen days from the date on which the Riksdag adopted the proposal which is to be held in abeyance. The motion shall not be referred for preparation in committee. The referendum shall be held simultaneously with the election referred to in paragraph one. In the referendum, all those entitled to vote in the election are entitled to state whether or not they accept the proposal on fundamental law which is being held in abeyance. The proposal is rejected if a majority of those taking part in the referendum vote against it, and if the number of those voting against exceeds half the number of those who registered a valid vote in the election. In all other cases the proposal goes forward to the Riksdag for final consideration.
  • Article 16 provides the following: The Riksdag Act is enacted as prescribed in Article 15, paragraph one, sentences one and two, and paragraph two. It may also be enacted by means of a single decision, provided at least three fourths of those voting and more than half the total membership of the Riksdag concur. Supplementary provisions of the Riksdag Act are however adopted in the same manner as ordinary law.
  • Article 17 provides the following: No law may be amended or abrogated other than by an act of law. Articles 15 and 16 apply in like manner with respect to amendment or abrogation of fundamental law or of the Riksdag Act. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 18 provides the following: A Council on Legislation which includes justices, or, where necessary, former justices of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court, shall exist to pronounce an opinion on draft legislation. The opinion of the Council on Legislation is obtained by the Government or, under more detailed rules laid down in the Riksdag Act, by a committee of the Riksdag. The opinion of the Council on Legislation should be obtained before the Riksdag takes a decision on fundamental law relating to the freedom of the press or the corresponding freedom of expression on sound radio, television and certain like transmissions and technical recordings; on an act of law restricting the right of access to official documents; an act of law under Chapter 2, Article 3, paragraph two, Article 12, paragraph one, Articles 17 to 19 or Article 22, paragraph two, or an act of law amending or abrogating such an act; an act of law relating to local taxation; an act of law under Article 2 or 3; or an act of law under Chapter 11, if such an act has significance for private subjects, or having regard to the public interest. The foregoing does not how-ever apply, if obtaining the opinion of the Council on Legislation would be without significance having regard to the nature of the matter, or would delay the handling of legislation in such a way that serious detriment would result. If the Government submits a proposal to the Riksdag for the making of an act of law in any matter referred to in sentence one, and there has been no prior consultation of the Council on Legislation, the Government shall at the same time inform the Riksdag of the reason for the omission. Failure to obtain the opinion of the Council on Legislation on a draft law never constitutes an obstacle to application of the law. The Council’s scrutiny shall relate to 1. the manner in which the draft law relates to the fundamental laws and the legal system in general; 2. the manner in which the different provisions of the draft law relate to one another; 3. the manner in which the draft law relates to the requirements of the rule of law; 4. whether the draft law is so framed that the resulting act of law may be expected to satisfy the stated purposes of the proposed law; 5. what problems are likely to arise in applying the act of law. More detailed rules concerning the composition and working procedures of the Council on Legislation are laid down in law.
  • Article 19 provides the following: An act of law which has been adopted shall be promulgated by the Government without delay. An act containing provisions relating to the Riksdag or authorities under the Riksdag which 17 shall not be incorporated in fundamental law, or in the Riksdag Act, may however be promulgated by the Riksdag. Acts of law shall be published as soon as possible. The same applies to statutory instruments, unless otherwise laid down in law.

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