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Plenumbestämmelsen och dess tillämpning inom straffrätten - en studie genomförd utifrån ett förutsebarhetsperspektiv

Olsson, Lisa LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Uppsatsen utreder plenumbestämmelsens tillämpningsproblem inom straffrätten och hur förutsebarheten för den enskilde påverkas av att plenumbestämmelsen lyser med sin frånvaro.

Prejudikaträtten är inte absolut i Sverige. Men detta innebär inte att ändringar av prejudikat ska ske med lätthet, utan en strävan att upprätthålla förutsebarheten för den enskilde är viktig. Med anledning av detta finner vi plenumbestämmelsen i RB 3 kap. 6 § . Bestämmelsen stadgar en möjlighet att hänskjuta ett mål till HD i sin helhet vid prövning av en betydande fråga för rättstillämpningen, eller om andra särskilda skäl föreligger för ett sådant avgörande.

HD:s prejudicerande verksamhet har en betydande roll för rättssäkerheten och ska tillgodose en... (More)
Uppsatsen utreder plenumbestämmelsens tillämpningsproblem inom straffrätten och hur förutsebarheten för den enskilde påverkas av att plenumbestämmelsen lyser med sin frånvaro.

Prejudikaträtten är inte absolut i Sverige. Men detta innebär inte att ändringar av prejudikat ska ske med lätthet, utan en strävan att upprätthålla förutsebarheten för den enskilde är viktig. Med anledning av detta finner vi plenumbestämmelsen i RB 3 kap. 6 § . Bestämmelsen stadgar en möjlighet att hänskjuta ett mål till HD i sin helhet vid prövning av en betydande fråga för rättstillämpningen, eller om andra särskilda skäl föreligger för ett sådant avgörande.

HD:s prejudicerande verksamhet har en betydande roll för rättssäkerheten och ska tillgodose en enhetlig rättstillämpning. Den intar vidare en viktig plats i vårt rättssystem där lagstiftarens hand inte räcker. Begreppet rättssäkerhet har inte en klar och enhetlig definition. Vad begreppet kan sägas innehålla är dels en formell uppfattning, dels en materiell uppfattning. Den formella rättssäkerheten syftar till förutsebarheten i rätten, både vad gäller den lagstiftande maktens regler som den dömande maktens beslut. Den materiella rättssäkerheten består av etiska värden som verkar för att regelverket ska bestå av rättvisa regler och att godtyckliga beslut av domstolen inte sker.

Under de senaste 40 åren har sammansättningen i HD minskat från 25 till 14 justitieråd. Möjlighet till prövningstillstånd har vidare blivit reducerat liksom domförhet vid prövning av mål. Huvudsyftet med dessa ändringar har varit att renodla HD som prejudikatinstans. Dessa reformer har vidare influerat plenumbestämmelsen till vissa ändringar. På 80-talet tillkom ett alternativ till att döma i plenum innebärande en kvalificerad sammansättning av tolv justitieråd. Några år senare minskades denna siffra ner till nio då antalet justitieråd totalt minskades i HD. Det s.k. halvt plenum skulle underlätta för domstolen att döma i en mer kvalificerad sammansättning när det var motiverat, än att enbart döma på avdelning i dessa fall. Halvt plenum tillämpades dock aldrig varför bestämmelsen inte uppfyllde sitt syfte och slopades därmed vid reformen 2009. Departementschefen uttalade i propositionen att plenumbestämmelsen hädanefter skulle bli lättare att tillämpa då antalet justitieråd minskat till 14.

Att plenum skulle bli lättare att tillämpa tycks än så länge enbart vara tomma ord då pleniavgöranden fortfarande uppfattas som komplicerade och tidskrävande. Att detta beror på tidspress i HD, eller att det finns för få justitieråd till det antal mål som prövas är inte något som tycks föreligga. Vidare kan pleniavgörandens tidsperiod inte anses strida mot varken den svenska grundlagsbestämmelsen i RF 2 kap. 11 § eller Europakonventionens artikel 6.1 gällande rätten till en rättegång inom skälig tid. Med anledning av detta är inte pleniförfarandets tidskrävande och omständliga procedur, som så ofta hänvisas till, något som kan åberopas som grund till att avstå från att hänskjuta ett mål till HD i sin helhet.

Åren mellan 1972-2008 skedde enbart tolv pleniavgöranden i HD. Inom straffrätten har i princip aldrig ett avgörande i plenum ägt rum. När likgiltighetsuppsåtet slogs fast i svensk rätt genom NJA 2004 s 176, togs beslutet av HD utan att ett pleniavgörande ens kom på tal. Att slå fast att det hypotetiska eventuella uppsåtet inte längre skulle utgöra gränsen mot medveten oaktsamhet utan istället använda ett likgiltighetsuppsåt tycktes, trots sin icke obetydliga ändring, inte vara aktuellt för plenumbeslut. I september förra året avgjordes däremot två avgöranden i HD, NJA 2011 s 563 och NJA 2011 s 611, där plenumbestämmelsen diskuterades. Domstolen valde dock att hänvisa till de två undantag som uppställs i paragrafen. Att vid uppsåtsbedömningen vid självförvållat rus efterge kravet på uppsåt till att istället tillämpa vanliga regler vid denna bedömning utgör en betydande ändring av rättsläget, men inte ens då ansåg domstolen att plenum var aktuellt.

I ett samhälle som bygger på rättsstatsprincipen är det av stor betydelse att folket känner en trygghet och förtroende för HD:s beslut och dömande.
Plenumbestämmelsen borde vara en väg för HD att uppnå detta och tillgodose förutsebarheten för den enskilde. (Less)
Abstract
The essay examines the absence of the application by the Supreme Court of plenary sessions, which is necessary for establishment of precedent in the Swedish legal system, within the penal law and how the predictability in individual cases thus suffers.

The precedence principal is not consistently adhered to by the Swedish legal system. This does not suggest that changes of precedent should be made without careful consideration, but that legal predictability for the individual should always be maintained. The plenary session is covered in chapter 3 section 6 of the Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure . In cases governing the application of law or when any other special circumstance applies, the provision maintains that the Supreme Court... (More)
The essay examines the absence of the application by the Supreme Court of plenary sessions, which is necessary for establishment of precedent in the Swedish legal system, within the penal law and how the predictability in individual cases thus suffers.

The precedence principal is not consistently adhered to by the Swedish legal system. This does not suggest that changes of precedent should be made without careful consideration, but that legal predictability for the individual should always be maintained. The plenary session is covered in chapter 3 section 6 of the Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure . In cases governing the application of law or when any other special circumstance applies, the provision maintains that the Supreme Court has the authority to refer the case to be considered in a plenary session by the Supreme Court.

The principal of precedent, informed by Supreme Court, is important to maintain the rule of law and to secure uniform application of the law. Furthermore, precedent holds an essential role in cases where the legislative arm does not reach. There is no clear and uniform definition of “the rule of law”. “The rule of law” can be interpreted in both a formal and a material sense. The formal interpretation concerns the predictability of the court, both in its law-making power and its rulings. The material interpretation concerns the ethical values that ensure just laws and prevent arbitrary rulings.

During the past 40 years, the membership of the Supreme Court of Sweden has been reduced from twenty-five to fourteen justices. Access to leave to appeal has been reduced as has the possibility to reach quorum at case trials. These reforms have also created changes regarding plenary sessions: In the 1980’s an alternative to the plenary session was introduced, which required a “qualified combination of 12 justices’” to function in the stead of a plenary session. A few years later, as the total number of justices on the Supreme Court was reduced, the number for the “qualified combination” was reduced to nine justices. The so called “half plenary” was designed to make it easier for the Court to rule in a more qualified composition than when judging in division. The “half plenary” was never put into practice, thereby defeating its own purpose and being abolished in the 2009 reform. A bill, declaring that a true plenary session would henceforth be easier to apply as the number of justices had been reduced to fourteen, was passed.

To this date, the application of plenary sessions appears to be empty words as plenary rulings are still considered complicated and time consuming. Furthermore, plenary sessions have not increased in frequency, particularly in regards to penal law. The absence of plenary sessions does not seem to be due to time-pressure on the Supreme Court or an insufficient number of justices per case. The time requirement of plenary sessions are not in conflict with chapter 2 section 11 of the Constitution of Sweden , or article 6.1 of the European Convention concerning the right to a timely trial. According to these regulations, the time consuming procedure of the plenary session cannot be invoked as a basis to deny a referral for a plenary session of the Supreme Court.

In the years between 1972 and 2008, only twelve plenary rulings took place. A plenary ruling has never occurred within the penal law. When the indifference of intent ruling was adopted into Swedish law through NJA 2004 s 176 a plenary session was not even considered. To establish that the lower limit of intent no longer should be constituted by the dolus eventualis with a hypothetical test, but was to be replaced by the indifference of intent, seemed, despite constituting a significant alteration, not be object of plenary session. In September of 2011, two separate Supreme Court cases, NJA 2011 s 563 and NJA 2011 s 611, were considered for plenary sessions. However, the Court chose to refer to the exemptions outlined in the plenary session guidelines to avoid a plenary session. Not even the ruling that relinquished the requirement for intent in self-induced intoxication cases in exchange for a regular ruling - a substantial change to the legal position - was considered for a plenary session.

In a society built on the principle of law it is of utmost importance that the people feel secure and trust in the rulings of the Supreme Court. Plenary sessions should be a tool for the Supreme Court to build this kind of trust and security. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Olsson, Lisa LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Plenary session and penal law - a study accomplished from predictability
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Straffrätt, processrätt, plenumbestämmelsen
language
Swedish
id
2542774
date added to LUP
2012-10-15 10:16:44
date last changed
2012-10-15 10:16:44
@misc{2542774,
  abstract     = {The essay examines the absence of the application by the Supreme Court of plenary sessions, which is necessary for establishment of precedent in the Swedish legal system, within the penal law and how the predictability in individual cases thus suffers. 

The precedence principal is not consistently adhered to by the Swedish legal system. This does not suggest that changes of precedent should be made without careful consideration, but that legal predictability for the individual should always be maintained. The plenary session is covered in chapter 3 section 6 of the Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure . In cases governing the application of law or when any other special circumstance applies, the provision maintains that the Supreme Court has the authority to refer the case to be considered in a plenary session by the Supreme Court.

The principal of precedent, informed by Supreme Court, is important to maintain the rule of law and to secure uniform application of the law. Furthermore, precedent holds an essential role in cases where the legislative arm does not reach. There is no clear and uniform definition of “the rule of law”. “The rule of law” can be interpreted in both a formal and a material sense. The formal interpretation concerns the predictability of the court, both in its law-making power and its rulings. The material interpretation concerns the ethical values that ensure just laws and prevent arbitrary rulings.

During the past 40 years, the membership of the Supreme Court of Sweden has been reduced from twenty-five to fourteen justices. Access to leave to appeal has been reduced as has the possibility to reach quorum at case trials. These reforms have also created changes regarding plenary sessions: In the 1980’s an alternative to the plenary session was introduced, which required a “qualified combination of 12 justices’” to function in the stead of a plenary session. A few years later, as the total number of justices on the Supreme Court was reduced, the number for the “qualified combination” was reduced to nine justices. The so called “half plenary” was designed to make it easier for the Court to rule in a more qualified composition than when judging in division. The “half plenary” was never put into practice, thereby defeating its own purpose and being abolished in the 2009 reform. A bill, declaring that a true plenary session would henceforth be easier to apply as the number of justices had been reduced to fourteen, was passed. 

To this date, the application of plenary sessions appears to be empty words as plenary rulings are still considered complicated and time consuming. Furthermore, plenary sessions have not increased in frequency, particularly in regards to penal law. The absence of plenary sessions does not seem to be due to time-pressure on the Supreme Court or an insufficient number of justices per case. The time requirement of plenary sessions are not in conflict with chapter 2 section 11 of the Constitution of Sweden , or article 6.1 of the European Convention concerning the right to a timely trial. According to these regulations, the time consuming procedure of the plenary session cannot be invoked as a basis to deny a referral for a plenary session of the Supreme Court. 

In the years between 1972 and 2008, only twelve plenary rulings took place. A plenary ruling has never occurred within the penal law. When the indifference of intent ruling was adopted into Swedish law through NJA 2004 s 176 a plenary session was not even considered. To establish that the lower limit of intent no longer should be constituted by the dolus eventualis with a hypothetical test, but was to be replaced by the indifference of intent, seemed, despite constituting a significant alteration, not be object of plenary session. In September of 2011, two separate Supreme Court cases, NJA 2011 s 563 and NJA 2011 s 611, were considered for plenary sessions. However, the Court chose to refer to the exemptions outlined in the plenary session guidelines to avoid a plenary session. Not even the ruling that relinquished the requirement for intent in self-induced intoxication cases in exchange for a regular ruling - a substantial change to the legal position - was considered for a plenary session. 

In a society built on the principle of law it is of utmost importance that the people feel secure and trust in the rulings of the Supreme Court. Plenary sessions should be a tool for the Supreme Court to build this kind of trust and security.},
  author       = {Olsson, Lisa},
  keyword      = {Straffrätt,processrätt,plenumbestämmelsen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Plenumbestämmelsen och dess tillämpning inom straffrätten - en studie genomförd utifrån ett förutsebarhetsperspektiv},
  year         = {2012},
}