A new government bill for revising the Arbitration Act was recently presented to Parliament. The proposed amendments concerning challenges of awards and jurisdictional decisions align with the ambition of restricting challenges and upholding the finality of awards. The proposed provision on multi-party arbitrations aligns with many institutional rules and could, along with the provision on the use of English in challenge proceedings, strengthen Sweden's attractiveness as a place for international arbitration.
The Supreme Court recently rendered a decision concerning an application for enforcement of a foreign arbitral award. The decision clarifies whether a party that is passive in arbitral proceedings forfeits its right to invoke circumstances which were known to the party in the arbitral proceedings as grounds for non-enforcement of a foreign arbitral award. Before this decision, it had been unclear whether such a passivity rule existed in relation to enforcement.
Two appeal courts recently ruled on two separate cases in which arbitral awards were challenged on the basis that the tribunals had departed from decisions made on issues of merits in procedural orders. Generally, procedural orders are not final and binding and a tribunal is free to amend previously issued procedural orders. However, procedural orders are sometimes used as a tool for making interim decisions on the merits of the case.
The Svea Court of Appeal recently rejected City Säkerhet's motion to set aside an arbitral award. The judgment clarifies whether an arbitrator's application of a legal rule to which neither party referred in the arbitration may constitute grounds to challenge the arbitration award. The principle of jura novit curia (ie, the court knows the law), which is applicable in court proceedings, should also apply in Swedish arbitration unless otherwise agreed by the parties.
The Supreme Court recently allowed for court proceedings despite a valid arbitration agreement between the parties, because the legal grounds invoked by the claimant were outside the scope of the arbitration agreement. The court confirmed the doctrine of assertion and clarified the doctrine of connection.
The past two years have seen corporate bonds emerge as a natural alternative to bank loans on the Swedish financial market. While traditional bank loans remain the first-choice financial solution for most corporations, demand for bonds has grown significantly over the past decade. Recently introduced national and European regulations have set out new information requirements for existing and new bond prospectuses.
The Financial Supervisory Authority recently agreed on more stringent amortisation requirements for home mortgages. The debt burden on Swedish households has long been a concern for regulators, and the authority is now taking an activist approach in an effort to mitigate the risk of a widespread crisis in case of a downturn in the housing market.
A case regarding the enforceability of an electronic promissory note was recently decided by the Supreme Court. The court investigated whether the relevant electronic loan document was to be viewed as a non-negotiable or negotiable instrument, and settled that it was indeed a non-negotiable promissory note. This meant that the requirement to present an original document to the Enforcement Authority did not apply.
The Supreme Court recently clarified how to interpret joint and several liability when the creditor settles with one of the debtors and simultaneously releases that party from any future claims. The court concluded that the foundation of a joint and several liability between debtors is that the debtor that repays more than its pro rata share of a loan has a right to recover and claim the exceeding amount from the other debtor or debtors.
Consumer credit may be granted only after the creditor has assessed the consumer's creditworthiness. The assessment must be based on sufficient information, as stipulated in the EU Credit Directive and the Consumer Credit Act. However, neither the directive nor the act defines 'sufficient information'. In a recent Administrative Court case, the Consumer Agency argued that a creditworthiness assessment based on details from a creditor's scoring model did not give sufficient information.
According to case law, a party is entitled to reclaim transfers of funds if it is undisputed that the transfer has occurred and the transferee has failed to provide sufficient evidence that he or she is entitled to keep the funds. This general rule was recently disputed in a case regarding several transfers of funds from one business partner to another acting in a joint development project.
The Patent and Market Court of Appeal recently overturned a Patent and Market Court judgment relating to Swedish Match's marketing conduct for snus products. While the Tobacco Act restricts the way snus may be marketed (eg, marketing may not invite the use of tobacco or be intrusive), the court found that Swedish Match had objective reasons that were also proportionate when introducing its labelling system.
Under the Competition Act, claims that a document is covered by legal privilege may be assessed by the courts. However, no equivalent possibility of judicial review exists for documents that allegedly fall outside the scope of dawn raid warrants. The question remains as to whether the lack of judicial review of such decisions is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law.
In December 2017 the Svea Court of Appeal dismissed an abuse of dominance damages claim against Telia Company AB. In 2013 Telia was fined for abusing its dominant position in the asymmetric digital subscriber line market by applying a margin squeeze on its competitors. Earlier in 2017 a follow-on claim by telecoms operator Yarps, based on the same infringement, was rejected by the Svea Court of Appeal.
After years of intense debate, a new government bill will give the Competition Authority greater decision-making powers in relation to notified mergers in Sweden. An official government report states that the authority's decision-making powers should lead to an increased incentive for fast, high-quality decision making and eliminate time losses that might arise as a result of the authority preparing a lawsuit instead of a decision.
The Labour Court recently reviewed whether actions conducted by the employees of a private waste collection and transportation company were illicit collective strike actions. According to the court, the employees had refrained from performing their work tasks in order to pressure the company into ending the demands to conduct an inventory of keys. This was a stoppage of work and an illicit collective strike action, since it had not been duly decided by the trade union.
Companies and individuals acting on the Swedish labour market should be aware of the delimitation in law between consultants and employees. Whether an individual is to be considered a company consultant or an employee will determine the applicability of employment protection and could have significant tax implications affecting both companies and private individuals.
The legislature recently amended the law known as 'Lex Laval', according to which the right to conduct collective actions against foreign labour stationed in Sweden has been limited. The amendments in Lex Laval, which entered into force in June 2017, bring expanded rights for Swedish trade unions through collective actions by demanding that workplaces with foreign labour be covered by Swedish collective agreements.
Calculating compensation for damages can be complicated. The Labour Court recently ruled on this matter and made three individuals and their company liable to pay damages of several million Swedish kroner. It is the first case of its type and magnitude to be tried by a court of the highest instance. The Supreme Court has also decided that the dispute in question is a labour dispute, not a civil claims case.
Following the government's recent finding that whistleblower protection must be improved, new legislation has entered into force. The new legislation has given Sweden its first act specifically on whistleblowing. While the Whistleblowing Act does not regulate any right for employees to blow the whistle about wrongdoing, it protects employees and temporary workers who report serious wrongdoings in their employer's business from retaliation.