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Sweden: Parliament Adopts New Rules for Electronic Communication with Courts

(Dec. 28, 2020) On November 4, 2020, the Swedish Parliament voted to adopt new legislation that will allow for the digital signing of certain court documents, thereby amending the Code of Judicial Procedure as well several other acts, including, among others, the Act on Administrative Procedure, the Act on Court Matters, and the Land Code. The amendments will enter into force on January 1, 2021. In accordance with the new rules, several court-related measures and documents may now be completed digitally, including the following:

  • Applications for a summons in civil disputes and other applications in accordance with the Code of Judicial Procedure (provided they are signed using an advanced electronic signature) (33 kap. 1 a § Code of Judicial Procedure, as amended.)
  • Power of attorney, which may be issued in digital form signed with an advanced electronic signature (12 kap. 8 §)
  • Initiation of court matters—for example, via e-mail (eRegeringens proposition 2019/20:189 Digital kommunikation i domstolsprocesser.)

The rules also include simplification provisions, allowing for the reduction of physical copies of documents that must be received in the courts. For example, under the new rules, parties cannot be forced to provide physical copies of documents for transfer to other parties unless deemed necessary by the courts. When specified that a document must be in writing, such requirements must be technology neutral, and an electronic document suffices, unless otherwise specified by the court. In addition, a legal representative who is acting as a public defense attorney is not required to present a power of attorney unless specifically asked by the courts. (Justitieutskottetsbetänkande2020/21:JuU4 at 1, 7.)

The amendment also includes rules on when a document should be deemed received by the courts when sent as a physical copy. Documents retrieved from a physical mailbox must be deemed received on the most recent previous work day. (33 kap. 3 §.)