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Skärpt straff för mord - om lagtolkning på straffrättens område

Åkerström, Anna LU (2016) LAGF03 20161
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
This essay aims to examine the use of legal preparatory works when interpreting criminal law in Sweden. The examination is conducted from a critical perspective with a focus on the principle of legality and the requirement of legal certainty.

In 2014 the provision regulating the penalty for murder was altered. The legal preparatory works clearly expressed the purpose of the amendment: the penalty for murder should be made more severe so that life imprisonment was to become the “average penalty”. During the legislative process different suggestions of wordings of the provision were brought forth. In early 2016 the Swedish Supreme Court rejected the chosen wording, which had been validated by the parliament less than two years earlier.... (More)
This essay aims to examine the use of legal preparatory works when interpreting criminal law in Sweden. The examination is conducted from a critical perspective with a focus on the principle of legality and the requirement of legal certainty.

In 2014 the provision regulating the penalty for murder was altered. The legal preparatory works clearly expressed the purpose of the amendment: the penalty for murder should be made more severe so that life imprisonment was to become the “average penalty”. During the legislative process different suggestions of wordings of the provision were brought forth. In early 2016 the Swedish Supreme Court rejected the chosen wording, which had been validated by the parliament less than two years earlier. The Supreme Court found that the application of the provision, which was argued for in the preparatory works, could not in a lawful way, be subsumed into the wording of the provision. Thereby the legal situation in regards to penalty for murder was the same as if the amendment had never been made. The sentencing standards that had been established in case law before the amendment of 2014 was thus used and the defendant was sentenced to a fixed term imprisonment set to sixteen years.

This Supreme Court ruling raises questions in regards to the principle of legality’s significance when interpreting criminal law, specifically concerning sentencing standards. After an exposition of the amendment as well as the legal case, the significance of the principle of legality and the requirement of legal certainty when interpreting criminal law are examined. The essay also examines if there are any reasons for further consideration of preparatory works. Special attention is paid to which significance the Supreme Court, in regards to sentencing standards, has attributed the principle of legality in the examined court ruling.

In Sweden preparatory works are attributed great significance, however, when interpreting criminal law, special attention must be paid due to the principles mentioned above. In regards to sentencing standards, a slightly higher level of uncertainty may, in certain situations, be accepted.

Regarding the examined ruling, the essay concludes that an interpretation of the provision, in line with the purpose argued for in the preparatory works, could have been accepted with the chosen perspective and the principles it actualizes in mind. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna uppsats syftar till att, ur ett kritiskt legalitets- och rättssäkerhetsperspektiv, undersöka förarbetens roll vid lagtolkning på straffrättens område, särskilt vad gäller straffmätning.

År 2014 ändrades straffet för mord. I lagtextens förarbeten angavs ett tydligt syfte med ändringen: straffet för mord skulle skärpas och livstidsstraff skulle bli ”normalstraffet” för mord i det att det skulle dömas ut i en majoritet av fallen. Under lagstiftningsprocessens gång diskuterades olika lagtekniska lösningar för att uppnå detta syfte. Den lagtext som sedermera antogs av riksdagen underkändes knappt två år senare av Högsta domstolen i en dom den 3 februari i år. Domstolens majoritet menade att den i motiven förespråkade tillämpningen av... (More)
Denna uppsats syftar till att, ur ett kritiskt legalitets- och rättssäkerhetsperspektiv, undersöka förarbetens roll vid lagtolkning på straffrättens område, särskilt vad gäller straffmätning.

År 2014 ändrades straffet för mord. I lagtextens förarbeten angavs ett tydligt syfte med ändringen: straffet för mord skulle skärpas och livstidsstraff skulle bli ”normalstraffet” för mord i det att det skulle dömas ut i en majoritet av fallen. Under lagstiftningsprocessens gång diskuterades olika lagtekniska lösningar för att uppnå detta syfte. Den lagtext som sedermera antogs av riksdagen underkändes knappt två år senare av Högsta domstolen i en dom den 3 februari i år. Domstolens majoritet menade att den i motiven förespråkade tillämpningen av livstidsstraffet inte på ett godtagbart sätt kunde inordnas under lagtexten. Det ansågs att lagtexten snarare gav uttryck för en motsatt tillämpning. Rättsläget var enligt domstolen därmed detsamma som om lagändringen aldrig gjorts. Den straffmätning som utvecklats i praxis inom ramen för straffskalan som gällt innan 2014 års lagändring tillämpades därmed och den tilltalade kom att dömas till ett tidsbestämt straff på sexton år.

Detta rättsfall väcker frågor om legalitetsprincipens betydelse för lagtolkning med beaktande av förarbeten vad gäller straffrättsliga bestämmelser, särskilt avseende straffmätning. Därför undersöks, efter en redogörelse för lagändringen och rättsfallet, vilken betydelse legalitetsprincipen och kravet på rättssäkerhet har vid lagtolkning på straffrättens område och om det finns skäl som – trots dessa aspekter – talar för ett större utrymme att beakta förarbeten vid sådan lagtolkning. Särskilt undersöks vilken betydelse som kan tillmätas legalitetsprincipen vad gäller straffmätningen i det fall som avgjorts av Högsta domstolen i år.

I Sverige tillmäts förarbeten generellt sett stor betydelse. På straffrättens område får hänsyn endast tas till dem om de kan inordnas under lagtextens ordalydelse. Legalitetsprincipen ställer härvidlag upp särskilda begränsningar. Vad gäller bestämmelser som tar sikte på straffmätningen måste kanske ett större mått av obestämdhet accepteras.

Uppsatsen finner att också den bedömning av rättsfallet som förordades av Högsta domstolens minoritet hade kunnat vara godtagbar ur ett legalitets- och rättssäkerhetsperspektiv. (Less)
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author
Åkerström, Anna LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
allmän rättslära, jurisprudence, straffrätt, criminal law, lagtolkning, legalitetsprincipen, rättssäkerhet
language
Swedish
id
8874513
date added to LUP
2016-07-04 11:46:33
date last changed
2017-10-16 14:07:19
@misc{8874513,
  abstract     = {This essay aims to examine the use of legal preparatory works when interpreting criminal law in Sweden. The examination is conducted from a critical perspective with a focus on the principle of legality and the requirement of legal certainty. 

In 2014 the provision regulating the penalty for murder was altered. The legal preparatory works clearly expressed the purpose of the amendment: the penalty for murder should be made more severe so that life imprisonment was to become the “average penalty”. During the legislative process different suggestions of wordings of the provision were brought forth. In early 2016 the Swedish Supreme Court rejected the chosen wording, which had been validated by the parliament less than two years earlier. The Supreme Court found that the application of the provision, which was argued for in the preparatory works, could not in a lawful way, be subsumed into the wording of the provision. Thereby the legal situation in regards to penalty for murder was the same as if the amendment had never been made. The sentencing standards that had been established in case law before the amendment of 2014 was thus used and the defendant was sentenced to a fixed term imprisonment set to sixteen years. 

This Supreme Court ruling raises questions in regards to the principle of legality’s significance when interpreting criminal law, specifically concerning sentencing standards. After an exposition of the amendment as well as the legal case, the significance of the principle of legality and the requirement of legal certainty when interpreting criminal law are examined. The essay also examines if there are any reasons for further consideration of preparatory works. Special attention is paid to which significance the Supreme Court, in regards to sentencing standards, has attributed the principle of legality in the examined court ruling. 

In Sweden preparatory works are attributed great significance, however, when interpreting criminal law, special attention must be paid due to the principles mentioned above. In regards to sentencing standards, a slightly higher level of uncertainty may, in certain situations, be accepted. 

Regarding the examined ruling, the essay concludes that an interpretation of the provision, in line with the purpose argued for in the preparatory works, could have been accepted with the chosen perspective and the principles it actualizes in mind.},
  author       = {Åkerström, Anna},
  keyword      = {allmän rättslära,jurisprudence,straffrätt,criminal law,lagtolkning,legalitetsprincipen,rättssäkerhet},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Skärpt straff för mord - om lagtolkning på straffrättens område},
  year         = {2016},
}