Sources of law
There are four main sources of law in Sweden: legislation, preparatory legislative material, case law and academic literature.
Legislation is the primary source. It is printed and promulgated in the Swedish Code of Statutes. Legislation is divided into acts, ordinances and regulations. Acts are adopted by the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament), ordinances are adopted by the Government and regulations are issued by the authorities.
The Riksdag is the only public body with the authority to adopt new laws or to amend existing legislation. Legislation that has been adopted can only be repealed or amended by a new decision from the Riksdag.
Decisions from the courts, case law, play an important part in the application of the law. This particularly applies to decisions from the highest instances, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court.
Preparatory work on proposed laws, i.e. the texts that are created in connection with the legislative process, are also used in the application of the law.
New acts or amendments to existing acts are usually proposed by the Government. Before the Government submits a proposal to the Riksdag for a new piece of legislation it generally needs to examine available alternatives carefully. A specially appointed commission of inquiry is assigned this task.
Before the Riksdag decides whether to adopt a proposed law or amendment, the proposal must be considered by members of the Riksdag in a parliamentary committee. There are fifteen committees, each with its own area of responsibility, such as transport or education.
When a committee has presented its recommendations to the Chamber – in the form of a committee report – on what decision the Riksdag should take on the Government's and members' proposals, all the members of the Riksdag debate the proposed law and a final decision is taken.
It is the Government's responsibility to implement the Riksdag's decisions and ensure that they are enforced in the way intended by the Riksdag. The Government Offices, including all ministries and some 300 public agencies, assist the Government in this task.
All laws and ordinances are published in the Swedish Code of Statutes (Svensk Författningssamling, SFS), which is available in printed form and on the Internet.
You can find legal information on public administration on Lagrummet. Links to access legal information from the Government, the Riksdag, higher courts and government agencies are available from this portal.
Access to the portal is free of charge.
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