Sweden updates

Arbitration & ADR

Contributed by Westerberg & Partners Advokatbyrå Ab
Do parties have an absolute right to dispute in person in Sweden?
  • Sweden
  • 08 April 2021

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, virtual hearings have become a common alternative to in-person hearings globally. To conduct a hearing online is not a problem under Swedish arbitration law, as long as both parties consent to it. On the other hand, it has been debated whether an arbitral tribunal can mandate that a hearing should be virtual instead of in person if one of the parties objects. The matter is currently being reviewed in a case in the Svea Court of Appeal.

Employment & Immigration

Contributed by Wistrand
Labour Court rules on awarding damages under Trade Secrets Act
  • Sweden
  • 03 March 2021

Whether an employee can make use of previously attained know-how, knowledge and skills in a new position is largely governed by the Trade Secrets Act, as well as the particular circumstances at hand and the employee's actions. In a recent case, the Labour Court departed from the principles set out in its earlier case law and implemented a new method for calculating damages in trade secret employment cases.

New rules on posting of workers in Sweden
  • Sweden
  • 02 December 2020

Due to recent changes to the Posting of Workers Act, foreign employers may need to follow Swedish employment conditions for posted employees to a greater extent than before. In addition, Parliament has approved a proposal to introduce a so-called 'economic employer' concept in Sweden. Consequently, many foreign employers will also need to register with the Swedish Tax Agency in order to comply with Swedish tax reporting standards on a monthly basis.

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.

Environment & Climate Change

Contributed by Advokatfirman Lindahl
Overview of new legislation
  • Sweden
  • 15 February 2021

This article summarises key amendments to Swedish environmental law which came into effect at the start of 2021. In particular, it outlines the new emissions trading regulatory framework, the state aid for certain environmentally friendly vehicles, the planned termination of the electricity certificate system, amendments regarding invasive alien species and municipalities' new information responsibility.

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.

Healthcare & Life Sciences

Contributed by Westerberg & Partners Advokatbyrå Ab
Compulsory patent licence as defence against claim for preliminary injunction
  • Sweden
  • 19 May 2021

In a recent decision, the Patent and Market Court of Appeal issued a preliminary injunction to prohibit a company from selling, importing and using certain products in the life sciences field. In reaching this finding, the court provided that an argument that the requirements for a compulsory licence are fulfilled when no such action has been filed is not itself sufficient to prevent a preliminary injunction. This decision is one of few Swedish decisions to touch on compulsory licences.

New legislation on tobacco-free nicotine pouches expected
  • Sweden
  • 17 March 2021

In recent years, tobacco-free nicotine pouches, which are intended to be placed under the lip, have existed in a grey area with no clear rules or regulations to govern, for example, the warning labels which they must carry or their marketing. The government has therefore assigned to the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs the task of assessing and analysing how such products should be regulated. This article discusses how the issue arose and possible resolutions.

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.


Contributed by Mannheimer Swartling
Insurance business in Sweden from a cross-border perspective
  • Sweden
  • 23 March 2021

Business in the insurance sector has become increasingly transnational. It is not only insurers based in Sweden or other EEA countries that target the Swedish market, but also insurers from outside the European Economic Area that seek ways to offer their products in Sweden. This article sheds some light on the definition of insurance business under Swedish law and under what circumstances international insurers based outside the European Economic Area can conduct insurance business in Sweden.

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.