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Nämndemannasystemet - ett institut i förändring? Reformarbete och modernisering

Söderström, Peter LU (2015) JUR091 20151
Department of Law
Abstract
The Swedish lay judge system is a nearly thousand year old tradition, but has during that time been an institution in constant change, whose role has changed significantly from when it was first introduced into Sweden’s administration of justice until today’s modern system. The lay judges were originally used as a means of proof, thereafter functioned as ordinary judges, to later be reduced to advisory roles. After the lay judge role was strengthened through the 1983 reform, when they acquired an individual vote, and six years prior were introduced into the courts of appeal, not much has changed, despite several commissions of inquiry.

On June 25th, 2013, the Lay Judge Inquiry submitted their report (SOU 2013:49), which far-reaching... (More)
The Swedish lay judge system is a nearly thousand year old tradition, but has during that time been an institution in constant change, whose role has changed significantly from when it was first introduced into Sweden’s administration of justice until today’s modern system. The lay judges were originally used as a means of proof, thereafter functioned as ordinary judges, to later be reduced to advisory roles. After the lay judge role was strengthened through the 1983 reform, when they acquired an individual vote, and six years prior were introduced into the courts of appeal, not much has changed, despite several commissions of inquiry.

On June 25th, 2013, the Lay Judge Inquiry submitted their report (SOU 2013:49), which far-reaching proposals meant to fundamentally reform today’s lay judge system. The Inquiry had been tasked to review the lay judge system for the purpose of modernising the role of lay judges, to ensure that their participation in the administration of justice maintains the public confidence in the adjudication process. Amongst other things, it was proposed that lay judges would not participate in cases of a straightforward nature, or in cases that mainly comprise of complicated legal issues, to reduce the number of lay judges in courts of first instance from three to two, and to withdraw them from the courts of appeal and administrative courts of appeal. It was also proposed that public nominations outside party circles be introduced by a so called free quota. However, the subsequent government bill (prop. 2013/14:169) did not include any of these proposals, and the 2014 lay judge reform resulted in only minor changes.

The real reasons for the last 30 years reluctance to reform the lay judge system can only be speculated about. The old tradition might be a factor, but today’s modern system does not go all that far back. Politicians might be afraid to lose their privilege to exclusively appoint, and in practice even act as lay judges. Furthermore, politicians hold an excessive belief in the democratic function they feel the lay judges contribute to the adjudication process, and are therefore unwilling to limit the influence and participation of the lay judges. It would also be costly to replace the lay judges with legally qualified judges. The main reason though, is probably that lay judges currently cause no harm to the administration of justice, as their influence in practice is severely limited by the legally superior ordinary judge, who has a strong guiding role which the lay judges rarely oppose. Not until lay judge participation is seen, by both politicians and the public, as doing noticeable and considerable harm to the administration of justice, will the system be seriously questioned and comprehensive reforms introduced.

The primary arguments for lay judges in the Swedish courts have political motives, and are democratic in nature. They are considered to be: that public influence over the administration of justice entails transparency, democratic control, expression of the general perception of justice, more balanced trial by broadened life experience, pedagogical reasons, safeguard against technocracy, and as a consequence of these, public confidence in the adjudication process, which lends legitimacy to the courts and their legal proceedings, and finally that laymen are less expensive than career judges. The primary arguments against lay judges in the Swedish courts have legal motives, and are technocratic in nature. They are considered to be: lack of legal expertise, no development of method, risk of subjectiveness, risk of politicization, and finally reduced efficiency. A position for or against a limited influence and reduced participation of lay judges in the Swedish courts is therefore based on a legal-political trade-off between democratic values and technocratic advantages.

The public confidence in the lay judges and the administration of justice is the most central question when it comes to the lay judge system, and is necessary to lend the courts and their decisions legitimacy. If the citizens do not perceive the lay judges to represent the general public, or that they are of any real benefit in the administration of justice, they lack public confidence, and can therefore not be said to maintain the public confidence for the adjudication process. In today’s modern constitutional state, it can be asked if the public might not prefer legal expertise, a greater degree of predictability, improved rule of law, and faster and more efficient processing, to the politicians’ highly rated democratic motives for lay judge participation. Alternatives to the current lay judge system, which from that perspective would increase public confidence in the judicial process and thus strengthen the administration of justice, would be to either adopt the proposal of the Lay Judge Inquiry regarding a more appropriate use of the lay judges, or replace these with legally qualified judges. The latter is currently not politically imaginable, and can only ever be considered once the lay judges are shown to cause considerable harm to the administration of justice. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Det svenska nämndemannasystemet har en nästan tusenårig tradition, men har samtidigt varit ett institut i ständig förändring, vars roll förändrats väsentligt från när det först infördes i Sveriges rättskipning, till dagens moderna system. I början fungerade nämnden endast som en form av bevismedel, men fick sedan en ren domarroll för att senare reduceras till en rådgivande funktion. Efter att nämndemännens roll stärktes genom 1983 års reform, då de fick individuell rösträtt, och sex år tidigare införts även i andra instans, har dock inte mycket förändrats, trots flertalet utredningar.

Den 25 juni 2013 överlämnade Nämndemannautredningen sitt betänkande (SOU 2013:49), med långtgående förslag ämnade att reformera dagens nämndemannasystem i... (More)
Det svenska nämndemannasystemet har en nästan tusenårig tradition, men har samtidigt varit ett institut i ständig förändring, vars roll förändrats väsentligt från när det först infördes i Sveriges rättskipning, till dagens moderna system. I början fungerade nämnden endast som en form av bevismedel, men fick sedan en ren domarroll för att senare reduceras till en rådgivande funktion. Efter att nämndemännens roll stärktes genom 1983 års reform, då de fick individuell rösträtt, och sex år tidigare införts även i andra instans, har dock inte mycket förändrats, trots flertalet utredningar.

Den 25 juni 2013 överlämnade Nämndemannautredningen sitt betänkande (SOU 2013:49), med långtgående förslag ämnade att reformera dagens nämndemannasystem i grunden. Utredningen hade fått i uppdrag att göra en översyn av nämndemannasystemet i syfte att modernisera nämndemännens roll, för att säkerställa att deras medverkan i rättskipningen upprätthåller allmänhetens förtroende för den dömande verksamheten. Förslagen var bland annat att nämndemän inte ska medverka i mål av enkel beskaffenhet, eller i mål som i huvudsakligen innehåller komplicerade rättsfrågor, att minska antalet nämndemän i första instans från tre till två, samt att avskaffa nämndemän i hovrätt och kammarrätt. Vidare föreslogs en fri nomineringsrätt utanför de partipolitiska kretsarna genom en så kallad fri kvot. Regeringens efterföljande proposition (prop. 2013/14:169) innehöll dock inte några av dessa förslag, och 2014 års nämndemannareform resulterade således endast i mindre förändringar.

De verkliga anledningarna till de senaste 30 årens ovilja att reformera nämndemannasystemet går bara att spekulera kring. Den långa traditionen kan ha betydelse, men dagens moderna system sträcker sig inte särskilt långt tillbaka i tiden. Politikerna kan vara rädda att förlora sitt eget privilegium med ensamrätt att tillsätta, och i praktiken även verka som lekmannadomare. Vidare föreligger från politiskt håll en överdriven tilltro till de demokratiska funktioner som de anser att nämndemännen tillför den dömande verksamheten, och det råder därmed en ovilja att begränsa nämndemännens inflytande och medverkan. Därutöver skulle det bli kostsamt att ersätta nämndemännen med ordinarie yrkesdomare. Den största anledningen är dock sannolikt att nämndemännen för närvarande inte utgör någon större skada för rättskipningen, då deras inflytande i praktiken är starkt begränsat av den juridiskt överlägsne yrkesdomaren som innehar en mycket styrande roll, vilket medför att nämndemännen ytterst sällan går emot dennes vilja. Först när nämndemannamedverkan, av politiker och allmänhet, anses utgöra en märkbar och betydande skada för rättskipningen, kommer systemet på allvar att ifrågasättas och några större reformer att ske.

De främsta argumenten för nämndemän i de svenska domstolarna har politiska motiv, och är av demokratisk natur. De anses vara: att medborgarnas inflytande över rättskipningen medför insyn, demokratisk kontroll, uttryck för den allmänna rättsuppfattningen, allsidig prövning genom breddad livserfarenhet, pedagogiska skäl, spärr mot teknokrati, och som en följd av dessa, folkligt förtroende för rättskipningen, vilket skapar legitimitet för domstolarna och den dömande verksamheten, samt slutligen att det är billigare med lekmän än jurister. De främsta argumenten mot nämndemän i de svenska domstolarna har juridiska motiv, och är av teknokratisk natur. De anses utgöra: brist på juridisk kompetens, ingen metodutveckling, risk för subjektivism, risk för partipolitisering, samt slutligen lägre effektivitet. Ett ställningstagande för eller emot ett begränsat inflytande samt minskad medverkan av nämndemän i de svenska domstolarna, bygger således i grunden på en rättspolitisk avvägning mellan demokratiska värden och teknokratiska fördelar.

Allmänhetens förtroende för nämndemännen och rättskipningen är den mest centrala frågan när det gäller nämndemannasystemet, och är nödvändigt för att ge domstolarna och deras avgöranden legitimitet. Om medborgarna inte upplever det som att nämndemännen representerar allmänheten, eller att de gör någon verklig nytta i rättskipningen, har de inget folkligt förtroende, och kan därmed inte heller sägas upprätthålla allmänhetens förtroende för den dömande verksamheten. I dagens moderna rättssamhälle kan ifrågasättas om inte allmänheten i större utsträckning värderar juridisk kompetens, större grad av förutsägbarhet, högre rättssäkerhet samt snabbare och effektivare handläggning, än de från politiskt håll högt värderade demokratiska motiven till nämndemannamedverkan. Alternativ till dagens nämndemannasystem, som ur det perspektivet skulle öka allmänhetens förtroende för den dömande verksamheten och därmed även öka legitimiteten för rättskipningen, vore att antingen genomföra Nämndemannautredningens förslag gällande en mer ändamålsenlig medverkan för nämndemännen, eller att ersätta dessa med juridiskt kompetenta yrkesdomare. Det sistnämnda är idag dock helt politiskt otänkbart, och kan endast komma på fråga först när nämndemännen kan påvisas göra en påtaglig skada på rättskipningen. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Söderström, Peter LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The lay judge system - an institution in change? Reform work and modernisation
course
JUR091 20151
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
straffrätt, rättshistoria, straffprocessrätt, processrätt, nämndemannasystemet, nämndemannasystem, nämndemän
language
Swedish
id
7447894
date added to LUP
2015-06-25 10:52:44
date last changed
2015-06-25 10:52:44
@misc{7447894,
  abstract     = {The Swedish lay judge system is a nearly thousand year old tradition, but has during that time been an institution in constant change, whose role has changed significantly from when it was first introduced into Sweden’s administration of justice until today’s modern system. The lay judges were originally used as a means of proof, thereafter functioned as ordinary judges, to later be reduced to advisory roles. After the lay judge role was strengthened through the 1983 reform, when they acquired an individual vote, and six years prior were introduced into the courts of appeal, not much has changed, despite several commissions of inquiry.

On June 25th, 2013, the Lay Judge Inquiry submitted their report (SOU 2013:49), which far-reaching proposals meant to fundamentally reform today’s lay judge system. The Inquiry had been tasked to review the lay judge system for the purpose of modernising the role of lay judges, to ensure that their participation in the administration of justice maintains the public confidence in the adjudication process. Amongst other things, it was proposed that lay judges would not participate in cases of a straightforward nature, or in cases that mainly comprise of complicated legal issues, to reduce the number of lay judges in courts of first instance from three to two, and to withdraw them from the courts of appeal and administrative courts of appeal. It was also proposed that public nominations outside party circles be introduced by a so called free quota. However, the subsequent government bill (prop. 2013/14:169) did not include any of these proposals, and the 2014 lay judge reform resulted in only minor changes.

The real reasons for the last 30 years reluctance to reform the lay judge system can only be speculated about. The old tradition might be a factor, but today’s modern system does not go all that far back. Politicians might be afraid to lose their privilege to exclusively appoint, and in practice even act as lay judges. Furthermore, politicians hold an excessive belief in the democratic function they feel the lay judges contribute to the adjudication process, and are therefore unwilling to limit the influence and participation of the lay judges. It would also be costly to replace the lay judges with legally qualified judges. The main reason though, is probably that lay judges currently cause no harm to the administration of justice, as their influence in practice is severely limited by the legally superior ordinary judge, who has a strong guiding role which the lay judges rarely oppose. Not until lay judge participation is seen, by both politicians and the public, as doing noticeable and considerable harm to the administration of justice, will the system be seriously questioned and comprehensive reforms introduced.

The primary arguments for lay judges in the Swedish courts have political motives, and are democratic in nature. They are considered to be: that public influence over the administration of justice entails transparency, democratic control, expression of the general perception of justice, more balanced trial by broadened life experience, pedagogical reasons, safeguard against technocracy, and as a consequence of these, public confidence in the adjudication process, which lends legitimacy to the courts and their legal proceedings, and finally that laymen are less expensive than career judges. The primary arguments against lay judges in the Swedish courts have legal motives, and are technocratic in nature. They are considered to be: lack of legal expertise, no development of method, risk of subjectiveness, risk of politicization, and finally reduced efficiency. A position for or against a limited influence and reduced participation of lay judges in the Swedish courts is therefore based on a legal-political trade-off between democratic values and technocratic advantages.

The public confidence in the lay judges and the administration of justice is the most central question when it comes to the lay judge system, and is necessary to lend the courts and their decisions legitimacy. If the citizens do not perceive the lay judges to represent the general public, or that they are of any real benefit in the administration of justice, they lack public confidence, and can therefore not be said to maintain the public confidence for the adjudication process. In today’s modern constitutional state, it can be asked if the public might not prefer legal expertise, a greater degree of predictability, improved rule of law, and faster and more efficient processing, to the politicians’ highly rated democratic motives for lay judge participation. Alternatives to the current lay judge system, which from that perspective would increase public confidence in the judicial process and thus strengthen the administration of justice, would be to either adopt the proposal of the Lay Judge Inquiry regarding a more appropriate use of the lay judges, or replace these with legally qualified judges. The latter is currently not politically imaginable, and can only ever be considered once the lay judges are shown to cause considerable harm to the administration of justice.},
  author       = {Söderström, Peter},
  keyword      = {straffrätt,rättshistoria,straffprocessrätt,processrätt,nämndemannasystemet,nämndemannasystem,nämndemän},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Nämndemannasystemet - ett institut i förändring? Reformarbete och modernisering},
  year         = {2015},
}