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Bevisning av avtalsinnehåll - En teoretisk undersökning av vissa bevisfrågor i tolkningstvister

Lindbom, Oskar LU (2016) JURM02 20161
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
I rättsvetenskaplig litteratur görs många och skilda uttalanden om bevisfrågor i tvister om tolkning av avtal. Bevisning och avtalstolkning har beskrivits som olika metoder för att avgöra vilket avtalsinnehåll som ska anses gälla mellan avtalets parter. Framförallt föreligger osäkerhet kring när bevisbörderegler och när avtalstolkning ska tillämpas för att lösa en ovisshet om avtalsinnehållet. I tolkningspraxis finns flera avgöranden där metoderna har använts utan att förhållandet dem emellan har förklarats och i vissa fall använder olika instanser olika metoder. Uppsatsen undersöker och förklarar på ett teoretiskt plan de uppfattningar som finns i den rättsvetenskapliga litteraturen mot bakgrund av domstolars rättspraxis. Syftet är att... (More)
I rättsvetenskaplig litteratur görs många och skilda uttalanden om bevisfrågor i tvister om tolkning av avtal. Bevisning och avtalstolkning har beskrivits som olika metoder för att avgöra vilket avtalsinnehåll som ska anses gälla mellan avtalets parter. Framförallt föreligger osäkerhet kring när bevisbörderegler och när avtalstolkning ska tillämpas för att lösa en ovisshet om avtalsinnehållet. I tolkningspraxis finns flera avgöranden där metoderna har använts utan att förhållandet dem emellan har förklarats och i vissa fall använder olika instanser olika metoder. Uppsatsen undersöker och förklarar på ett teoretiskt plan de uppfattningar som finns i den rättsvetenskapliga litteraturen mot bakgrund av domstolars rättspraxis. Syftet är att förstå, för-klara och förena de två metoderna för fastställande av avtalsinnehåll inom ramen för den processuella systematiken.

I civilprocess- och civilrättslig litteratur behandlas framförallt två bevisfrågor i tolkningstvister. Den ena rör bevisning av tolkningsdata eller tolkningsunderlaget, den andra rör bevisbörda för påståenden om avtalsinnehåll. Uppsatsen inleds med en genomgång av vissa grunder inom bevisning och avtalstolkning. Därefter behandlas den första av de två bevisfrågorna utifrån litteraturuttalanden inom bägge rättsområden. Det befinns råda delade meningar om hur tolkningsdata processuellt ska klassificeras, vilket till viss del är kopplat till uppfattningarna om tolkningen som processuell verksamhet. Den mest företrädda åsikten är att tolkningsdata utgör bevisfakta men somliga författare anser att vissa tolkningsdata har rättsfaktumkaraktär. Framförallt åsyftas då vissa påståenden om att avtalet ska ha ett annat innehåll än som framgår av en skriftlig lydelse. I civilrättsliga termer rör det sig om påståenden om vissa subjektiva tolkningsgrunder samt muntliga avtal. Vilken nivå av bevisning som krävs för att bevisa tolkningsdata av bevisfaktakaraktär är inte klart, men bevisbörderegler tillämpas inte vid ovisshet om deras föreliggande.

Därefter behandlas frågan om bevisbörda för avtalsinnehåll med utgångspunkt i litteraturen men med exempel från Högsta domstolens praxis. Frågan har behandlats av flera rättsvetenskapliga författare, om än sällan på ett mer principiellt plan. De flesta uttalanden görs i samband med redogörelser för principer för bevisbördans placering, som alltså förutsätter att en bevisbörderegel ska tillämpas. I rättspraxis tillämpas bevisbörda vid främst kärandens påstående om avtalsinnehåll när påståendena innebär att ett annat innehåll ska gälla än som framgår av skriftlig lydelse. Det är synnerligen ovanligt att en sådan bevisbörda befinns vara uppfylld.

Uppsatsen avslutas med en analys av frågan om bevisbörda för avtalsinnehåll. Det befinns föreligga en gräns för tillämpningen av bevisbörderegler vid ovisshet om avtalsinnehåll. När ovissheten rör innebörden av ett föreliggande språkligt uttryck, i form av skriftlig eller muntlig lydelse eller partsavsikt, löses detta genom avtalstolkning. Det föreligger alltså en skillnad mellan ovissheten som löses med bevisbörderegler och den som löses med avtalstolkning. Den första rör faktiska omständigheter, närmare bestämt vilket språkligt uttryck som ska anses gälla för avtalet. Den andra rör den innebörden av detta uttryck och är alltså en språklig ovisshet.

Vilket språkligt uttryck som ska gälla för avtalet är kopplat till de avtals-rättsliga reglerna om avtalsslut. Det föreslås att det processuellt ska beaktas som ett rättsfaktummoment i det komplexa rättsfaktumet avtalsvillkor som åberopas av käranden. Det språkliga uttryck som åberopas av svaranden, oavsett om detta är skriftlig lydelse eller ett däremot stridande uttryck, ska detta generellt förstås som åberopade bevisfakta vars bevisvärde ska beaktas vid värderingen av huruvida kärandens åberopade rättsfaktum är bevisat. Det kan i vissa fall även utgöra åberopade motfakta.

Slutsatsen är framförallt att bevisning och bevisbörderegler samt avtalstolkning utgör två skilda metoder för att fastställa avtalsinnehåll som inte kan användas för att lösa samma slag av ovisshet. De är dock tätt sammankopp-lade då en viss tolkning av ett språkligt uttryck kan avgöra huruvida kärandens talan kan vara grundad på uttrycket i fråga. Befinns så inte vara fallet måste kärandens åberopade rättsfaktum istället grundas på ett annat språkligt uttryck, varför en bevisbörda för detta i vissa fall kan konstateras före-ligga efter att en viss tolkning gjorts. (Less)
Abstract
In Swedish legal literature, many and differing remarks have been made on matters of evidence in disputes concerning the interpretation of contracts. Production and sifting of evidence and contractual interpretation have been described as two different methods in Swedish law for deciding on what a contract should be considered to mean in the contractual relationship. Specifically, there is an uncertainty as to when rules of burden of proof or inter-pretation should be used to solve an issue of uncertainty as to the contractual content. There are multiple court cases concerning interpretation where the two methods have been used without any clarification of the relationship between them and, in some cases, the different instances use... (More)
In Swedish legal literature, many and differing remarks have been made on matters of evidence in disputes concerning the interpretation of contracts. Production and sifting of evidence and contractual interpretation have been described as two different methods in Swedish law for deciding on what a contract should be considered to mean in the contractual relationship. Specifically, there is an uncertainty as to when rules of burden of proof or inter-pretation should be used to solve an issue of uncertainty as to the contractual content. There are multiple court cases concerning interpretation where the two methods have been used without any clarification of the relationship between them and, in some cases, the different instances use different methods without explicitly addressing the issue. This essay analyses and explains on a theoretical level views and opinions on this in legal literature, against the backdrop of decisions by Swedish courts. The purpose is to understand, explain and combine the two methods of deciding on contractual content, within the framework of procedural systematics.

In literature on civil procedural law and contract law, emphasis is mainly put on two distinct matters of evidence in disputes concerning contractual interpretation. One concerns proving the factual basis for interpretation, or interpretational facts, and the other concerns the burden of proof for claims of contractual content. The first part of the essay covers the fundamentals of the law of evidence and the interpretation of contracts. Following that, the first of the two evidentiary matters is treated, on the basis of opinions in legal literature. It is found that there are different views on how to classify interpretational facts in a procedural context, which is linked to the views on what procedural activity contractual interpretation should be considered to entail. The popularly held opinion is that interpretational facts should be classified as evidentiary facts. Some authorities consider certain interpreta-tional facts to be dispositive facts, specifically a party’s claim that the contract should be considered to have a content that does not follow from the contractual text itself. Put into a contract law context, the claims concern cause for subjective interpretation and verbal contracts. It is not certain what level of evidence is needed to prove the existence of interpretational facts considered to be evidentiary facts, but rules of burden of proof are not used in uncertainty of their existence.

Following that, the matter of burden of proof for contractual content is treated, based on literary opinions and with examples of their application by the supreme court of Sweden. Several legal scholars have made remarks on the issue, although rarely on a principle level. Most remarks have been made in connection to accounts for the placement of the burden of proof, which presupposes that rules of burden of proof should be applied. In court decisions, rules of burden of proof are mainly used for the claimant’s claim of contractual content that does not follow from the contractual text. It is exceptionally rare that the burden of proof is met.

The essay is concluded by an analysis of burden of proof for claims of contractual content and it is found that there is a limit to the use of rules of burden of proof in situations of uncertainty of contractual content. When the uncertainty concerns an existing linguistic expression of the contract, in the form of contractual text, verbal content, or a common intention of the par-ties, this uncertainty is solved by interpretation. There is a difference in the nature of the uncertainties that are solved by burden of proof and interpretation respectively. The first concerns facts, specifically the linguistic expression of the contract. The other concerns the meaning of that expression, and is an uncertainty of language rather than facts.

The issue of what the linguistic expression of the contract should be is connected to the rules of the forming of contracts. It is suggested in the essay that the expression is an element of the claimant’s complex dispositive fact contractual clause. When the defendant claims a linguistic expression, whether it is in the form of contractual text or a claim contrary to the text, this is generally to be considered evidentiary facts which value is considered in the evaluation of whether the claimant’s fact is proved. In some cases the defendant’s claimed fact could be considered counterfacts.

The principal conclusion is that evidence and rules of burden of proof on one side, and contractual interpretation on the other, are two separate methods for determining the contractual content. The methods are used for different kinds of uncertainty. However, they are connected, since a certain interpretation of a contract’s expression can show whether a claim can be based on that expression. If that is not the case, the claim must be based on a different expression, the existence of which can be uncertain. In that situation, a rule of burden of proof can be used to decide on whether the claim is founded or not. (Less)
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author
Lindbom, Oskar LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Proving contractual content - A theoretical study of matters of evidence in disputes concerning contractual interpretation
course
JURM02 20161
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Avtalsrätt, Contract law, rättsvetenskap, law, processrätt, procedural law, civilprocessrätt, civil procedure, förmögenhetsrätt, private law, bevisning, evidence, avtal, contract, tolkning, interpretation
language
Swedish
id
8874185
date added to LUP
2016-06-10 14:24:44
date last changed
2016-06-10 14:24:44
@misc{8874185,
  abstract     = {In Swedish legal literature, many and differing remarks have been made on matters of evidence in disputes concerning the interpretation of contracts. Production and sifting of evidence and contractual interpretation have been described as two different methods in Swedish law for deciding on what a contract should be considered to mean in the contractual relationship. Specifically, there is an uncertainty as to when rules of burden of proof or inter-pretation should be used to solve an issue of uncertainty as to the contractual content. There are multiple court cases concerning interpretation where the two methods have been used without any clarification of the relationship between them and, in some cases, the different instances use different methods without explicitly addressing the issue. This essay analyses and explains on a theoretical level views and opinions on this in legal literature, against the backdrop of decisions by Swedish courts. The purpose is to understand, explain and combine the two methods of deciding on contractual content, within the framework of procedural systematics.

In literature on civil procedural law and contract law, emphasis is mainly put on two distinct matters of evidence in disputes concerning contractual interpretation. One concerns proving the factual basis for interpretation, or interpretational facts, and the other concerns the burden of proof for claims of contractual content. The first part of the essay covers the fundamentals of the law of evidence and the interpretation of contracts. Following that, the first of the two evidentiary matters is treated, on the basis of opinions in legal literature. It is found that there are different views on how to classify interpretational facts in a procedural context, which is linked to the views on what procedural activity contractual interpretation should be considered to entail. The popularly held opinion is that interpretational facts should be classified as evidentiary facts. Some authorities consider certain interpreta-tional facts to be dispositive facts, specifically a party’s claim that the contract should be considered to have a content that does not follow from the contractual text itself. Put into a contract law context, the claims concern cause for subjective interpretation and verbal contracts. It is not certain what level of evidence is needed to prove the existence of interpretational facts considered to be evidentiary facts, but rules of burden of proof are not used in uncertainty of their existence.

Following that, the matter of burden of proof for contractual content is treated, based on literary opinions and with examples of their application by the supreme court of Sweden. Several legal scholars have made remarks on the issue, although rarely on a principle level. Most remarks have been made in connection to accounts for the placement of the burden of proof, which presupposes that rules of burden of proof should be applied. In court decisions, rules of burden of proof are mainly used for the claimant’s claim of contractual content that does not follow from the contractual text. It is exceptionally rare that the burden of proof is met.

The essay is concluded by an analysis of burden of proof for claims of contractual content and it is found that there is a limit to the use of rules of burden of proof in situations of uncertainty of contractual content. When the uncertainty concerns an existing linguistic expression of the contract, in the form of contractual text, verbal content, or a common intention of the par-ties, this uncertainty is solved by interpretation. There is a difference in the nature of the uncertainties that are solved by burden of proof and interpretation respectively. The first concerns facts, specifically the linguistic expression of the contract. The other concerns the meaning of that expression, and is an uncertainty of language rather than facts.

The issue of what the linguistic expression of the contract should be is connected to the rules of the forming of contracts. It is suggested in the essay that the expression is an element of the claimant’s complex dispositive fact contractual clause. When the defendant claims a linguistic expression, whether it is in the form of contractual text or a claim contrary to the text, this is generally to be considered evidentiary facts which value is considered in the evaluation of whether the claimant’s fact is proved. In some cases the defendant’s claimed fact could be considered counterfacts. 

The principal conclusion is that evidence and rules of burden of proof on one side, and contractual interpretation on the other, are two separate methods for determining the contractual content. The methods are used for different kinds of uncertainty. However, they are connected, since a certain interpretation of a contract’s expression can show whether a claim can be based on that expression. If that is not the case, the claim must be based on a different expression, the existence of which can be uncertain. In that situation, a rule of burden of proof can be used to decide on whether the claim is founded or not.},
  author       = {Lindbom, Oskar},
  keyword      = {Avtalsrätt,Contract law,rättsvetenskap,law,processrätt,procedural law,civilprocessrätt,civil procedure,förmögenhetsrätt,private law,bevisning,evidence,avtal,contract,tolkning,interpretation},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Bevisning av avtalsinnehåll - En teoretisk undersökning av vissa bevisfrågor i tolkningstvister},
  year         = {2016},
}