Sweden updates

Arbitration & ADR

Arbitral award set aside for violation of due process
  • Sweden
  • 23 May 2019

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court confirmed that Section 34(7) of the Arbitration Act – under which an arbitral award must be set aside if an irregularity occurred in the course of the proceedings and probably influenced the case's outcome – should be applied restrictively. This decision is a rare example of a Swedish court setting aside an award based on procedural irregularities under Section 34(7).

Arbitral award challenge based on Achmea unsuccessful
  • Sweden
  • 14 March 2019

The Svea Court of Appeal has largely upheld two arbitral awards which Poland had challenged on the ground that the arbitration provision in the investment treaty between Poland, Luxembourg and Belgium was incompatible with EU law according to Achmea. However, the court granted leave to appeal to the Swedish Supreme Court, as it deemed the case to include issues of importance for the guidance of the application of law.

Does lack of impartiality justify a reduction in arbitrators' compensation?
  • Sweden
  • 14 February 2019

Although parties have the right to appeal arbitrators' compensation that has been decided by an arbitral institution and included in an arbitral award, a recent Svea Court of Appeal judgment suggests that strong reasons are required to adjust such a decision when it has been made in accordance with an arbitration agreement between said parties. Further, the existence of circumstances which could diminish confidence in an arbitrator's impartiality is insufficient to justify a reduction in compensation.


Employment & Immigration

Contributed by Wistrand
Employer responsibilities and possibilities with respect to COVID-19 outbreak
  • Sweden
  • 06 May 2020

As in every other part of the world, the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting Swedish society in numerous ways. This article presents a selection of Swedish employment law-related responsibilities and possibilities for employers to be aware of in view of the effects of COVID-19, particularly with regard to their work environment responsibilities and the Short-Time Work Allowance Act.

Workplace harassment: employers' responsibilities and dismissal options
  • Sweden
  • 12 February 2020

Workplace harassment between employees raises questions regarding employers' responsibility to maintain a healthy and sustainable work environment and what actions can be taken against disruptive employees. Employers and their representatives have an extensive responsibility to maintain a positive work environment, including assessing, preventing and acting against risk factors such as harassment.

Proposed modernisation of Swedish labour law
  • Sweden
  • 13 November 2019

The government recently decided to appoint a special investigator to explore the possibilities of modernising some of the basic regulations of Swedish labour law. The investigation aims to explore how Swedish labour law can be modernised and adapted to meet current market needs while maintaining the fundamental and historical balance between the various parties to the labour market.

Conditions and consequences of CEO employment termination
  • Sweden
  • 10 July 2019

Company leaders such as CEOs are expressly excluded from the scope of the Employment Protection Act. Therefore, the parties to a CEO's employment agreement must agree its terms. However, the reasonability and validity of the agreed terms and conditions may be assessed or determined by the Swedish courts. Given the lack of applicable law in this area, the parties to a CEO's employment agreement must agree on the terms relating to both active employment and termination (by either party).

It's complicated: principles for clarifying uncertain employer-employee relationships
  • Sweden
  • 01 May 2019

The Labour Court recently issued two decisions which further outline the principles for determining the 'real' employer when an employer-employee relationship is unclear. The decisions confirm that the court still places a strong emphasis on protecting employees' rights. Thus, in the interests of full transparency, employers must fulfil their obligations by ensuring that employees have full knowledge of any agreement between their employer and another company that performs employment-related functions.


Environment & Climate Change

Contributed by Advokatfirman Lindahl
Sami village defeats state in historic case concerning land use rights
  • Sweden
  • 16 November 2020

A lawsuit between the state and a Sami village concerning hunting and fishing issues sparked strong feelings among the public. The outcome of the case is important for defining the Sami's position as indigenous people and the permitted forms of hunting and fishing in northern Sweden. However, the ruling is as likely to give rise to new complications – including with regard to the state's approach to indigenous people and hunting and fishing rights – as it is to put an end to them.

Climate Act fails stress test
  • Sweden
  • 31 August 2020

A Swedish refinery operator has applied for a permit to expand the capacity of its refinery in Western Sweden. The refinery is the largest in the Nordics and its expansion will give rise to increased greenhouse gas emissions, at least locally. The permit assessment has given rise to a question with potentially far-reaching consequences – particularly with regard to the Climate Act – which goes to the core of Sweden's centre-left government.

Supreme Court clarifies that relevant contractual provisions can supersede Environmental Code
  • Sweden
  • 30 March 2020

The Supreme Court recently clarified that Chapter 32 of the Environmental Code can be applied between contracting parties and that it is possible to derogate from those provisions and even exclude their application through contractual provisions. While this ruling confirms that a contracting party can safely rely on terms which modify the liability rules in the Environmental Code, it also highlights the importance of ensuring that such provisions are clearly worded and well understood.

Civil law as basis for interpretation in cases of allocation of responsibility for environmental damages
  • Sweden
  • 13 January 2020

In a case concerning the distribution of the cost of remediation of pollution caused by polychlorinated biphenyls, the Land and Environment Court of Appeal denied the operator compensation from the polluter for remediation costs. The case demonstrates that a civil law agreement can be deemed a relevant circumstance and be considered by a court when making its assessment of reasonableness regarding how costs for environmental damage should be distributed among joint and several liable operators.

Politics, environmental policies and permit decisions
  • Sweden
  • 11 November 2019

The legislature has decided that official decisions which could have a major impact on future environmental conduct should be made at the political level rather than through a judicial review. Although there are benefits to politicians being accountable for decisions regarding businesses that have a significant environmental impact, it remains to be seen whether the legal uncertainty in this regard will inhibit the willingness of companies to expand into Sweden.


Healthcare & Life Sciences

Contributed by Westerberg & Partners Advokatbyrå Ab
Is Swedish market for CBD oils closed?
  • Sweden
  • 21 October 2020

In 2019 the Administrative Court prohibited several companies from selling products containing CBD. The decisions were essentially based on the finding that the use of 'CBD' in the products' names amounted to a statement which presented them as having properties which treated medical conditions. Following these decisions, the Swedish Medical Products Agency seems to have widened the definition of 'medicinal products' when it prohibited two companies from selling oils which contain CBD.

Objective necessity to rebox in parallel trade and implementation of EU Falsified Medicines Regulation
  • Sweden
  • 16 September 2020

In a recent case, the Patent and Market Court (PMC) elaborated on the concept of objective necessity to rebox medicinal products subject to parallel distribution in light of the implementation of the EU Falsified Medicines Regulation. The PMC's decision is a significant victory for originators, as it confirms that relabelling is still the main rule in Sweden and that reboxing remains the exception and requires evidentiary support of objective necessity by the parallel trader.

Biosimilars still not subject to mandatory substitution
  • Sweden
  • 08 April 2020

Both the Medical Products Agency and the Dental and Benefits Agency (the authority which decides on reimbursement) have long held the position that biosimilars are not interchangeable or substitutable with their reference products, which has been reiterated in different policy papers since 2007. This position has now been supported by an administrative court of appeal in a case relating to glatiramer acetate products used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Marketing authorisation holder lacks standing to challenge off-label prescription for unlicensed products
  • Sweden
  • 11 December 2019

The Swedish system for medicinal products is generally product based. Prescriptions as such are product based (ie, by brand name or generic product name) and the indication for which the product is intended cannot be filled in anywhere by the prescriber. Off-label prescriptions are therefore not generally possible in the 'official' prescription system. However, when it comes to accessing unlicensed medicinal products, the system for licences on a named-patient basis works differently.

Heavily discounted starter pack considered unethical grant to healthcare
  • Sweden
  • 30 October 2019

The Committee for the Review of Pharmaceutical Information recently confirmed the strict approach to the marketing of medicinal products in relation to pricing. The committee's findings serve as a reminder that companies should consider not only the intended purpose of offering a discount on a product, but also its actual effects. The case under review illustrates that an intended discount on a product may be considered contrary to the Ethical Rules for the Pharmaceutical Industry.


Insurance

Contributed by Mannheimer Swartling
Supreme Court rules on insurers' liability for damages
  • Sweden
  • 03 November 2020

A recent Supreme Court judgment has clarified that the general principle of contract law, prescribing liability for damages in case of a breach of contract, can apply to corporate insurance contracts despite their unique features. Although the Supreme Court's judgment is limited to corporate insurance, it is difficult to see any reason against applying the same principles with respect to insurers' breach of insurance contracts taken out by consumers.

Group insurance in Sweden: general overview and implications of EU legislative acts
  • Sweden
  • 21 July 2020

Group insurance is common on the Swedish market as the simplified risk assessment and low-cost administration enables relatively inexpensive cover for a wide range of situations. Despite its frequency on the market, it is sometimes difficult to apply the legal provisions regulating group insurance in practice. In addition, the enactment and implementation of several EU legislative acts have raised a number of issues that must also be considered.

Supreme Administrative Court rules on classification of insurance-based investment products
  • Sweden
  • 12 May 2020

In early 2019 the Council for Advance Tax Rulings declared that a unit-linked insurance plan where the beneficiary was entitled to 99% of the policy value on the realisation of the insured risk, without receiving any risk compensation from the insurer, did not constitute an insurance product. The case was recently appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court. This article analyses the case and provides an overview of Swedish insurance-based investment products regulation and the previous case law.

Changes to PRIIPs regulatory framework: helping or hindering retail investors to better understand products?
  • Sweden
  • 10 March 2020

In late 2019 the European supervisory authorities released a joint consultation paper on proposed amendments to the EU Commission Delegated Regulation 2017/653 on packaged retail and insurance-based investment products. Insurance Europe and Insurance Sweden both submitted generally negative responses to the consultation paper. This article examines the proposed changes and the potential impact on the Swedish insurance market.

Insurers' outsourcing arrangements – recent guidance from Swedish regulator
  • Sweden
  • 26 November 2019

Almost four years after the implementation of the EU Solvency II Directive in Sweden, insurers are still devoting significant resources to identifying, understanding and putting into practice the complex regulatory legislation governing outsourcing arrangements. This article outlines some of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority's recent clarifications and comments on outsourcing and the main requirements surrounding insurers' outsourcing arrangements.