Parliamentary Control

Parliamentary Control in Europe

Parliamentary Control in Sweden

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

Chapter 12 of the Instrument of Government has the headline “Parliamentary Control”. Here is the content of Chapter 12:

  • Article 1 provides the following: The Committee on the Constitution shall examine ministers’ performance of their official duties and the handling of Government business. The Committee is entitled for this purpose to have access to the records of decisions taken in Government matters and to all documents pertaining to such matters. Another Riksdag committee or a member of the Riksdag is entitled to raise in writing 23 with the Committee on the Constitution any issue relating to a minister’s performance of his official duties or the handling of Government business.
  • Article 2 provides the following: It shall be incumbent upon the Committee on the Constitution to communicate to the Riksdag, whenever reasons so warrant but at least once a year, any observations it may find worthy of attention in connection with its examination. The Riksdag may make a formal statement to the Government in consequence thereof.
  • Article 3 provides the following: A person who is currently, or who has been previously, a minister may be held accountable for a criminal act committed in the performance of his ministerial duties only if he has grossly neglected his official duty thereby. A decision to institute criminal proceedings is taken by the Committee on the Constitution and the case is tried before the Supreme Court.
  • Article 4 provides the following: The Riksdag may declare that a minister no longer enjoys the confidence of the Riksdag. Such a declaration of no confidence requires the concurrence of more than half the total membership of the Riksdag. A motion calling for a declaration of no confidence shall be taken up for consideration only if raised by at least one tenth of the members of the Riksdag. It is not taken up for consideration during the period between the holding of an ordinary election, or the announcement of a decision to call an extraordinary election, and the date on which the Riksdag elected in such an election convenes. A motion relating to a minister who has remained at his post, under Chapter 6, Article 8, after having been formally discharged, may not in any circumstances be taken up for consideration. A motion calling for a declaration of no confidence shall not be prepared in committee.
  • Article 5 provides the following: Under rules laid down in the Riksdag Act, any member of the Riksdag may submit an interpellation or put a question to a minister on any matter concerning the minister’s performance of his official duties. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 6 provides the following: The Riksdag elects one or more Parliamentary Ombudsmen to supervise the application of laws and other statutes in the public service, under terms of reference drawn up by the Riksdag. An Ombudsman may institute criminal and disciplinary proceedings in the cases indicated in these terms of reference. An Ombudsman is entitled to be present at the deliberations of a court of law or an administrative authority and shall have access to the records and other documents of such an authority. A court of law or an administrative authority and any State or local government official shall provide an Ombudsman with such information and opinions as he may request. A similar obligation is incumbent upon any other person coming under the supervision of the Ombudsman. A public prosecutor shall assist an Ombudsman if so requested. More detailed rules concerning the Ombudsmen are laid down in the Riksdag Act.
  • Article 7 provides the following: The National Audit Office is an authority under the Riksdag whose function is to audit the activities of the State. More detailed rules concerning the National Audit Office are laid down in the Riksdag Act and elsewhere in law. Under provisions laid down in such legislation, the National Audit Office’s audit may extend also to activities other than activities of the State. The National Audit Office is under the direction of three Auditors General, who are elected by the Riksdag. The Auditors General decide independently, having regard to the rules laid down in law, 24 what activities shall be audited. They determine severally and independently how their audit shall be carried out and formulate their own conclusions on the basis of their audit. The Office also has a Board, which is appointed by the Riksdag. The Board’s task is to monitor audit activities, to put forward to the Riksdag the proposals and reports which result from the audit activities and audit statements of the Auditors General, and to determine draft appropriations under the national budget and the annual reports of the Office. The Riksdag may remove an Auditor General from office only provided the Auditor General no longer fulfils the requirements for the office or has been guilty of gross negligence.
  • Article 8 provides the following: Legal proceedings on account of a criminal act committed by a member of the Supreme Court, or a member of the Supreme Administrative Court, in the exercise of his official duties shall be instituted in the Supreme Court by a Parliamentary Ombudsman or the Chancellor of Justice. The Supreme Court likewise examines, under relevant provisions, whether a member of the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court shall be removed from office or suspended from duty, or shall be obliged to undergo examination by a medical practitioner. Proceedings of this nature are instituted by a Parliamentary Ombudsman or the Chancellor of Justice.
  • Definition of Parliamentary Agents

    Persons (usually solicitors) who transact, in the history of the English legal system, the technical business involved in passing private Bills through the Houses of Parliament.

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