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"En borgerlig älsklingstanke" - en analys av föräldrars principalansvar i svensk skadeståndsrätt

Holmesson, Jakob LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract
During 2010, a stricter form of parental liability was introduced in Swedish tort law. The reform meant that parents, regardless of their own negligence would be held responsible for damages that their children caused through criminal acts.

The new liability was unique in many ways. It was a deviation from the main principle in Swedish law, that you are only liable due to own negligence. It is in only in rare occasions that individuals have a strict or vicarious liability. Such forms of liability are usually reserved for legal persons.

The purpose of the reform was also unusual. Introducing a stricter parental liability was meant to decrease youth crime. Said reform, which was laid down in law in the Liability for Damages Act, was in... (More)
During 2010, a stricter form of parental liability was introduced in Swedish tort law. The reform meant that parents, regardless of their own negligence would be held responsible for damages that their children caused through criminal acts.

The new liability was unique in many ways. It was a deviation from the main principle in Swedish law, that you are only liable due to own negligence. It is in only in rare occasions that individuals have a strict or vicarious liability. Such forms of liability are usually reserved for legal persons.

The purpose of the reform was also unusual. Introducing a stricter parental liability was meant to decrease youth crime. Said reform, which was laid down in law in the Liability for Damages Act, was in fact a criminal policy measure. Reforms that are primarily justified by its preventive functions are very uncommon in Swedish tort law, as the traditional view focuses on the victim. Restitution, i.e. that the victim is compensated for his or her loss, is therefore usually seen as the main function of damages in Swedish law. Preventive effects are just viewed as an added bonus.

The stricter parental liability was meant to serve as a complement to the already existing form, called supervisory liability. This latter accountability was based on the culpa rule and the issue whether the negligence of the parent lead the child to commit an act causing the loss. In its announcement in media, the government argued that the stricter liability was needed as an addition as the former supervisory liability was too ineffective. Despite the announcement, the government failed to produce any facts that supported the statement.

The vicarious parental liability is not absolute. In special cases, when it would be manifestly unreasonable to impose damages on the parent, the liability can be reduced. According to the travaux préparatoires damages should only be reduced in exceptional cases. This is also the view that Swedish courts has expressed while ruling over cases of parental liability.

Despite the fact that the proposal regarding a stricter parental liability was strongly criticized, it was still implemented. Most of the criticism regarded the alleged preventive effects of the proposal. These effects are regarded as impossible to measure. This means that a set of laws that are based on prevention cannot be questioned for being ineffective. It is possible that the legislator introduced a stricter parental liability to be able to claim that measures have been taken in order to prevent youth crime, when in fact; the government has neglected taking, functional, yet expensive crime policy measures that would be more effective. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Under 2010 infördes ett skärpt skadeståndsansvar för föräldrar i svensk rätt. Efter ändringen fick föräldrar ett ansvar oberoende av eget vållande, för vissa skador som deras barn orsakar genom brott.

Det nya ansvaret är unikt på flera sätt. Det utgör ett avsteg från den huvudsakliga principen i svensk rätt, att ansvar endast utgår för eget vållande. Det är i ytterst få fall som privatpersoner har ett strikt ansvar eller ett principalansvar. Sådana ansvarsformer är nästan uteslutande reserverade för juridiska personer.

Syftet med lagändringen var också relativt ovanligt. Genom att införa ett skärpt ansvar för föräldrar skulle ungdomsbrottsligheten minska. Den nämnda ändring som infördes i skadeståndslagens 3 kap. 5 § var således... (More)
Under 2010 infördes ett skärpt skadeståndsansvar för föräldrar i svensk rätt. Efter ändringen fick föräldrar ett ansvar oberoende av eget vållande, för vissa skador som deras barn orsakar genom brott.

Det nya ansvaret är unikt på flera sätt. Det utgör ett avsteg från den huvudsakliga principen i svensk rätt, att ansvar endast utgår för eget vållande. Det är i ytterst få fall som privatpersoner har ett strikt ansvar eller ett principalansvar. Sådana ansvarsformer är nästan uteslutande reserverade för juridiska personer.

Syftet med lagändringen var också relativt ovanligt. Genom att införa ett skärpt ansvar för föräldrar skulle ungdomsbrottsligheten minska. Den nämnda ändring som infördes i skadeståndslagens 3 kap. 5 § var således främst en kriminalpolitisk åtgärd. Det är ovanligt att lagändringar i svensk skadeståndsrätt motiveras huvudsakligen av preventiva skäl. Den traditionella synen på skadeståndets funktion i Sverige under senare tid kan beskrivas enligt följande. Fokus ligger på offret, vilket innebär att den huvudsakliga funktionen med skadeståndet är reparationen, dvs. att den skadelidande ska få ersättning för sin skada. Om sedan skadeståndet även kan ha preventiva effekter medför detta endast en bonus.

Det nya principalansvaret för föräldrar utgör ett komplement till det ansvar som föräldrar tidigare burit. Detta ansvar, nedan kallat tillsynsansvar, grundar sig på huruvida föräldern brustit i sin tillsyn över sitt barn, vilket orsakat att barnet vållat skada. I media uttalade regeringen att principalansvaret behövdes som komplement, eftersom tillsynsansvaret inte var tillräckligt effektivt. Trots uttalandet, presenterades inga fakta som talade för denna ståndpunkt.

Det skärpta föräldraansvaret gäller inte obegränsat. I fall där det vore uppenbart oskäligt att ålägga föräldern skadeståndsansvar kan skadeståndet jämkas. Enligt förarbetena ska denna jämkningsregel endast tillämpas i undantagsfall. Detta uttalande har hovrätterna tagit fasta på när de tillämpat jämkningsregeln.

Trots att förslaget gällande ett skärpt föräldraansvar fick emotstå stark kritik genomfördes det ändå. Kritiken rörde mest förslagets påstådda preventiva effekt. En moralbildande prevention är ytterst svårt att mäta empiriskt. En lagreglering som bygger på prevention kan därmed knappast avskaffas för att dess effekter inte går att bevisa. Det är således möjligt att lagstiftaren införde ett skärpt föräldraansvar för att kunna hävda att vidtagit åtgärder för att förhindra ungdomsbrottslighet. I själva verket har regeringen då underlåtit att vidta andra konkreta, men dyra, kriminalpolitiska åtgärder som hade varit mer effektiva. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Holmesson, Jakob LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
"A Bourgeois Favorite Thought" - an analysis of parents' vicarious liability in Swedish tort law
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Skadeståndsrätt
language
Swedish
id
2440644
date added to LUP
2012-08-31 14:18:39
date last changed
2012-08-31 14:18:39
@misc{2440644,
  abstract     = {During 2010, a stricter form of parental liability was introduced in Swedish tort law. The reform meant that parents, regardless of their own negligence would be held responsible for damages that their children caused through criminal acts.

The new liability was unique in many ways. It was a deviation from the main principle in Swedish law, that you are only liable due to own negligence. It is in only in rare occasions that individuals have a strict or vicarious liability. Such forms of liability are usually reserved for legal persons.

The purpose of the reform was also unusual. Introducing a stricter parental liability was meant to decrease youth crime. Said reform, which was laid down in law in the Liability for Damages Act, was in fact a criminal policy measure. Reforms that are primarily justified by its preventive functions are very uncommon in Swedish tort law, as the traditional view focuses on the victim. Restitution, i.e. that the victim is compensated for his or her loss, is therefore usually seen as the main function of damages in Swedish law. Preventive effects are just viewed as an added bonus.

The stricter parental liability was meant to serve as a complement to the already existing form, called supervisory liability. This latter accountability was based on the culpa rule and the issue whether the negligence of the parent lead the child to commit an act causing the loss. In its announcement in media, the government argued that the stricter liability was needed as an addition as the former supervisory liability was too ineffective. Despite the announcement, the government failed to produce any facts that supported the statement.

The vicarious parental liability is not absolute. In special cases, when it would be manifestly unreasonable to impose damages on the parent, the liability can be reduced. According to the travaux préparatoires damages should only be reduced in exceptional cases. This is also the view that Swedish courts has expressed while ruling over cases of parental liability.

Despite the fact that the proposal regarding a stricter parental liability was strongly criticized, it was still implemented. Most of the criticism regarded the alleged preventive effects of the proposal. These effects are regarded as impossible to measure. This means that a set of laws that are based on prevention cannot be questioned for being ineffective. It is possible that the legislator introduced a stricter parental liability to be able to claim that measures have been taken in order to prevent youth crime, when in fact; the government has neglected taking, functional, yet expensive crime policy measures that would be more effective.},
  author       = {Holmesson, Jakob},
  keyword      = {Skadeståndsrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {"En borgerlig älsklingstanke" - en analys av föräldrars principalansvar i svensk skadeståndsrätt},
  year         = {2012},
}