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Försträckning eller gåva? – En kritisk granskning av NJA 2014 s. 364 och dess tillämpning i underrätterna

Hardenberger, Alexander LU (2017) JURM02 20171
Department of Law
Abstract
The traditional view in Swedish law is that a creditor who requires repayment from a debtor based on an alleged loan must prove that a loan agreement has been concluded between the parties. However, throughout the Swedish Supreme Court case NJA 2014 p. 364, this starting point has partly been waived. In the case, an amount corresponding to the disputed amount was transferred from the claimant to the respondent. The claimant alleged that the transfer was based on a loan. The respondent alleged that the transfer constituted a gift. No evidence of the underlying agreement was available.

The outcome of the case was dependent on whom the court considered had the burden of proof. This question was in turn dependent on how the court chose to... (More)
The traditional view in Swedish law is that a creditor who requires repayment from a debtor based on an alleged loan must prove that a loan agreement has been concluded between the parties. However, throughout the Swedish Supreme Court case NJA 2014 p. 364, this starting point has partly been waived. In the case, an amount corresponding to the disputed amount was transferred from the claimant to the respondent. The claimant alleged that the transfer was based on a loan. The respondent alleged that the transfer constituted a gift. No evidence of the underlying agreement was available.

The outcome of the case was dependent on whom the court considered had the burden of proof. This question was in turn dependent on how the court chose to look at the applicable civil law rule. Seen as a rule with two necessary conditions, a transfer of money and an agreement, the claimant would have to prove the existence of both conditions to become successful with its claim. However, if the civil law rule would to be regarded as only existing of one necessary condition, a transfer of money, the claimants statement “gift” would become the matter in issue. Hence, to avoid having to repay the transferred money, the respondent would have to prove that the transfer was in fact a gift.

If the underlying agreement constitutes a necessary condition for a right to repayment, the Supreme Court through the precedent appears to have created a presumption in the meaning that if a transfer from A to B is proved, a loan agreement is presumed to exist between the parties. Hence, to avoid repayment, the respondent must prove the non-existence of the agreement. An alternative interpretation of the decision is based on the view of the applicable rule, where the only necessary condition for repayments is a transfer of money. Seen in this way, the claimant has a right to repayment as soon as the transfer is proven, and the respondent must prove a right to keep the money to avoid repayment. If this interpretation of the case is accepted, NJA 2014 p. 364 can be considered for the fact that Swedish civil law contains a principle meaning that a recipient of a money transfer must be able to prove his right to retain the money, in order avoid having to repay the money.

After the verdict of 2014, many decisions from the lower courts have been issued, concerning identical or similar evidence-based situations. This thesis illustrates how the 2014 case contributed to an unpredictable legal situation. The interpretation of the precedent by the lower courts shifts and it appears unclear which circumstances that are relevant in deciding the burden of proof. Furthermore, the meaning of the underlying civil law rule is unclear and consequently it is unclear which of the parties that must prove the meaning of the underlying agreement. Furthermore, regardless of what interpretation of the case that is assumed, it seems unjustified to abandon the traditional scheme in which the claimant must prove both the transfer and the loan agreement. Perhaps for that reason, the interpretation of the 2014 case by the lower courts shifts. The problem is obvious and the procedural safeguards are not maintained. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Den traditionella synen i fordringsmål är att den borgenär som kräver återbetalning med grund i en påstådd försträckning måste styrka att en försträckning ägt rum. Genom NJA 2014 s. 364 har dock denna utgångspunkt till viss del frångåtts. I målet var det ostridigt att ett belopp motsvarande det tvistiga beloppet överförts från käranden till svaranden. Käranden påstod i målet att överföringen hade sin grund i ett avtal om försträckning. Svaranden påstod däremot att överföringen utgjorde en gåva. Någon bevisning med avseende på det bakomliggande avtalet fanns inte att tillgå.

Avgörande för utgången i målet var vem av parterna domstolen ansåg vara bevisskyldig för sitt påstående. Denna fråga var i sin tur avhängig hur domstolen valde att... (More)
Den traditionella synen i fordringsmål är att den borgenär som kräver återbetalning med grund i en påstådd försträckning måste styrka att en försträckning ägt rum. Genom NJA 2014 s. 364 har dock denna utgångspunkt till viss del frångåtts. I målet var det ostridigt att ett belopp motsvarande det tvistiga beloppet överförts från käranden till svaranden. Käranden påstod i målet att överföringen hade sin grund i ett avtal om försträckning. Svaranden påstod däremot att överföringen utgjorde en gåva. Någon bevisning med avseende på det bakomliggande avtalet fanns inte att tillgå.

Avgörande för utgången i målet var vem av parterna domstolen ansåg vara bevisskyldig för sitt påstående. Denna fråga var i sin tur avhängig hur domstolen valde att se på den tillämpliga civilrättsliga regeln. Sett som en regel med två rekvisit, överföring och avtal, utgör påståendet om försträckning ett rättsgrundande rättsfaktum för vilket käranden enligt grundläggande civilprocessrättsliga principer är bevisskyldig. Om den civilrättsliga regeln istället ska ses som att käranden har en fordran hos svaranden så fort en penningöverföring är styrkt eller ostridig, utgör svarandens påstående om gåva ett rättsupphävande motfaktum för vilket svaranden enligt samma principer är bevisskyldig.

Anses försträckningsavtalet utgöra ett bifallsvillkor för en rätt till återbetalning förefaller Högsta domstolen genom prejudikatet ha skapat en presumtionsregel med innebörden att om en penningöverföring styrks eller är ostridig så ska en försträckning presumeras föreligga. Detta medför i sin tur att svaranden är bevisskyldig för försträckningens icke-existens. En alternativ tolkning av avgörandet bygger på att fordringsförhållandet anses föreligga redan genom penningöverföringen. Detta får i så fall som konsekvens att svarandens gåvopåstående utgör ett motfaktum för vilken svaranden kan göras bevisskyldig. NJA 2014 s. 364 kan med en sådan tolkning tas till intäkt för att svensk rätt innehåller en princip med innebörden att en mottagare av en penningöverföring måste kunna styrka sin rätt att behålla pengarna för att inte bli återbetalningsskyldig.

Efter att 2014 års dom avkunnades har en stor mängd underrättsavgöranden meddelats där identiska eller snarlika bevisbördesituationer aktualiserats. I arbetet åskådliggörs hur 2014 års fall bidragit till ett oförutsägbart rättsläge. Tolkningen av prejudikatet skiljer sig nämligen åt och det framstår som oklart vilka omständigheter som ska ges relevans för bevisbördans placering, hur den bakomliggande civilrättsliga regeln ser ut samt vem av parterna som är bevisskyldig för överföringens grund i ett fordringsmål. Oberoende av vilken tolkning som antas så förefaller det dessutom omotiverat att frångå den traditionella ordningen där käranden görs bevisskyldig för påståendet om försträckning och kanske just därför spretar tillämpningen i underrätterna. Ur ett rättssäkerhetsperspektiv är problematiken uppenbar och den åskådliggörs än tydligare i det följande arbetet. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Hardenberger, Alexander LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Loan or gift? – A critical review of the judgment issued by the Swedish Supreme Court in the case NJA 2014 p. 364
course
JURM02 20171
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
NJA 2014 s. 364, Försträckning, Bevisbörda, Gåva, Lån, Bevispresumtion, Hardenberger, Civilprocessrätt, Processrätt
language
Swedish
id
8909027
date added to LUP
2017-06-16 15:55:28
date last changed
2017-06-16 15:55:28
@misc{8909027,
  abstract     = {The traditional view in Swedish law is that a creditor who requires repayment from a debtor based on an alleged loan must prove that a loan agreement has been concluded between the parties. However, throughout the Swedish Supreme Court case NJA 2014 p. 364, this starting point has partly been waived. In the case, an amount corresponding to the disputed amount was transferred from the claimant to the respondent. The claimant alleged that the transfer was based on a loan. The respondent alleged that the transfer constituted a gift. No evidence of the underlying agreement was available.

The outcome of the case was dependent on whom the court considered had the burden of proof. This question was in turn dependent on how the court chose to look at the applicable civil law rule. Seen as a rule with two necessary conditions, a transfer of money and an agreement, the claimant would have to prove the existence of both conditions to become successful with its claim. However, if the civil law rule would to be regarded as only existing of one necessary condition, a transfer of money, the claimants statement “gift” would become the matter in issue. Hence, to avoid having to repay the transferred money, the respondent would have to prove that the transfer was in fact a gift. 
	
If the underlying agreement constitutes a necessary condition for a right to repayment, the Supreme Court through the precedent appears to have created a presumption in the meaning that if a transfer from A to B is proved, a loan agreement is presumed to exist between the parties. Hence, to avoid repayment, the respondent must prove the non-existence of the agreement. An alternative interpretation of the decision is based on the view of the applicable rule, where the only necessary condition for repayments is a transfer of money. Seen in this way, the claimant has a right to repayment as soon as the transfer is proven, and the respondent must prove a right to keep the money to avoid repayment. If this interpretation of the case is accepted, NJA 2014 p. 364 can be considered for the fact that Swedish civil law contains a principle meaning that a recipient of a money transfer must be able to prove his right to retain the money, in order avoid having to repay the money. 
	
After the verdict of 2014, many decisions from the lower courts have been issued, concerning identical or similar evidence-based situations. This thesis illustrates how the 2014 case contributed to an unpredictable legal situation. The interpretation of the precedent by the lower courts shifts and it appears unclear which circumstances that are relevant in deciding the burden of proof. Furthermore, the meaning of the underlying civil law rule is unclear and consequently it is unclear which of the parties that must prove the meaning of the underlying agreement. Furthermore, regardless of what interpretation of the case that is assumed, it seems unjustified to abandon the traditional scheme in which the claimant must prove both the transfer and the loan agreement. Perhaps for that reason, the interpretation of the 2014 case by the lower courts shifts. The problem is obvious and the procedural safeguards are not maintained.},
  author       = {Hardenberger, Alexander},
  keyword      = {NJA 2014 s. 364,Försträckning,Bevisbörda,Gåva,Lån,Bevispresumtion,Hardenberger,Civilprocessrätt,Processrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Försträckning eller gåva? – En kritisk granskning av NJA 2014 s. 364 och dess tillämpning i underrätterna},
  year         = {2017},
}