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Costs of proceedings - Sweden

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This page provides information on costs in Sweden.


Costs of proceedings

Regulatory framework governing fees of legal professionals

Lawyers

If legal aid is granted or a public aid counsel or counsel for the victim is appointed, an hourly rate of compensation is determined by the State. In 2019, the compensation is in most cases SEK 1 380 per hour, excluding VAT (i.e. SEK 1 725 per hour inclusive of VAT).

The guiding rules of the Swedish Bar Association for good practice practice indicate that the fees charged by a lawyer are reasonable.

Fixed costs

Fixed costs in civil proceedings

Fixed costs for litigants in civil proceedings

In the case of an application in a civil case, the applicant shall pay an application fee to the court. The application fee is currently SEK 2 800 (about EUR 300).

In cases where a dispute is admissible and the value of the dispute clearly does not exceed half of the basic amount, the application fee is SEK 900 (approximately EUR 100). The basic amount for 2019 is SEK 46 500.

Stage of the civil proceeding where fixed costs must be paid

The application fee shall be paid to the court when the application is made.

Fixed costs in criminal proceedings

Fixed costs for parties to criminal proceedings

In the vast majority of criminal cases, the prosecution is a criminal prosecution and no application fee is charged. If an individual wants to bring private prosecution, the application fee is SEK 2 800.

Stage of the criminal proceeding where fixed costs must be paid

The application fee shall be paid to the court at the time when the application is made.

Fixed costs in constitutional proceedings

Fixed costs for litigants in constitutional proceedings

There are no specific constitutional objectives in Sweden.

Stage of the constitutional proceeding where fixed costs must be paid

There are no specific constitutional objectives in Sweden.

Prior information to be provided by legal representatives

Rights and obligations of parties

A lawyer shall, in the course of his/her activities, he or she shall carry out the duties assigned to him or her and shall observe good practice.

According to the Association’s guiding rules on good practice in relation to the adoption of the mandate, a member of the Swedish Bar Association shall set out the charging principles and inform the client of the invoicing procedures he/she intends to apply. According to this Code, fees may be charged by means of an invoice rendered in respect of part of the work done, on account or by invoicing when the assignment is completed. As far as other agents who are not members of the Swedish Bar Association are concerned, there are no statutory obligations of this kind.

Provisions concerning costs

Where can I find information on cost sources in Sweden?

As far as legal aid is concerned, information is available on the Link opens in new window website of the Legal Aid Authority (also in English). Information on court fees (also in English) can be found on the Link opens in new window website of the Swedish courts.

In what languages can I obtain information on cost sources in Sweden?

Each website specifies language availabilities.

Where can I find information on mediation?

Information on mediation can be found on the Link opens in new window website of the Swedish courts.

Where can I find additional information on costs?

Websites with information on costs

For legal aid, information is available on the Link opens in new window website of the Legal Aid Authority. Information on court fees can be found on the website of the Swedish courts.

Where can I find information on the average length of time that different procedures take?

The Swedish courts have the objective of determining the majority of cases within an average of 7 months in the district court and 5 months in the Court of Appeal respectively. However, in 2018 most cases, on average, took 6,2 months in the district courts and 6,3 months in the courts of appeal. This information is available on the Link opens in new window Swedish courts’ website, where the annual accounts of the courts are available.

According to the objective, most of the criminal cases are to be determined by the district court and the court of appeal within a maximum of 5 months. In 2018, most of the criminal cases in the district court were determined within 4 months.

Where can I find information on the average aggregate cost for a particular proceeding?

No such official information is available.

VAT

What are the applicable VAT rates?

Fees for applications to Swedish courts are exempt from VAT. The VAT rate for private legal services is 25 %.

Legal aid

Applicable income threshold in the area of civil justice

In order to be granted legal aid, the applicant may not have an income of more than SEK 260 000 (approximately EUR 25 000). When calculating the applicant’s income, account is taken of the whole of the economic situation. For example, child, wealth and debt maintenance costs are taken into account.

In cross-border cases, legal aid may be granted even if the applicant’s income exceeds SEK 260 000 provided that he or she cannot pay the costs. The authorisation would be based on the difference in costs of living between Sweden and the applicant’s EU member state of residence.

Applicable income threshold in the area of criminal justice for defendants

In some cases, the defendant is entitled to a public defence counsel. Any person who is arrested or detained, or where he is suspected of having committed an offence punishable by at least six months’ imprisonment, is always entitled to a public defence counsel. In all other cases, it is necessary to determine whether there is a need for a public defence counsel. In assessing whether the defendant has a need for a public defence counsel, the court shall take into consideration whether the investigation is complex, whether the sentencing choice is difficult and whether the personal circumstances of the suspect are such that there is a need for a public defence counsel. No income test is carried out, but only on the basis of the parameters mentioned above. The public defender receives compensation from the State. If the accused is convicted of the offence, he shall reimburse the State for the cost of the lawyer. A person earning more than SEK 260 000 a year will normally be required to pay compensation. The person earning less should normally pay only a part of the cost.

Applicable income threshold in the area of criminal justice for victims

In some cases, victims have the right to a victim counsel. The counsel for the victim receives compensation from the State and is always free of charge for the victim. The victim’s financial circumstances do not have any bearing on the assessment of the appointment of a victim counsel.

Other conditions for the granting of legal aid to victims

In some cases the court may appoint a victim counsel to support the victim. A victim assistant may be appointed for a person who has been a victim of a sexual offence, assault, unlawful detention, robbery or any other offence capable of providing imprisonment for the person who committed the offence. It is the right to appoint a counsel, but this can only be done once a preliminary investigation has been initiated.

Other conditions attached to the granting of legal aid for defendants

See above under the heading ‘income thresholds in the area of criminal law’.

Cost-free litigation in civil proceedings

If legal aid is granted, the plaintiff does not have to pay a filing fee to the court. However, the parties may be liable to the other party’s litigation costs, including filing fees. No application fees are charged for appeals to the court of appeal or to the Supreme Court. A special fee is charged if the Enforcement Authority transmits a case to a district court for further processing. The same applies to cases relating to the cancellation of company names or trade marks which may be handed over by certain authorities to the district court.

When does the losing party have to pay the winning party’s costs?

In civil cases, the unsuccessful party will, as a rule, pay the costs of the successful party. Compensation for litigation costs fully covers the costs of preparing for trial and of representation by the counsel in court, and the costs involved in presenting evidence (including witnesses and experts), provided that these costs were necessary to protect the party’s interests. Compensation is also payable for the time and effort expended by the winning party on account of the trial.

In cases where the value of the matter at issue does not exceed a half of the price base amount (SEK 23 250), liability for costs is limited and includes only one hour of legal advice (SEK 1 725), the application fee, travel due to court hearings, the costs of witnesses and translation costs.

Experts’ fees

The previous answer concerning the award/compensation of costs is relevant.

Translators’ and interpreters’ fees

If a party, a witness or any other person to be heard by the court does not understand and speak Swedish, an interpreter is hired to assist the court. If required, the court may provide for the translation of documents filed with or dispatched from the court. The court pays the translation and interpretation fees and the parties are not liable for any of those costs.

Key documents

Sweden’s report on the study on the transparency of the costs of civil proceedingsPDF (457 Kb)EN


This is a machine translated version of the content. The owner of this page accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the quality of this machine translated text.

Last update: 20/03/2020