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.

Counsel's personal liability for costs in challenge proceedings
  • Sweden
  • 25 October 2018

Often, the counsel representing a challenging party will also have acted as counsel in the arbitral proceedings and thus have personal and direct knowledge of the facts of the dispute (ie, what occurred during the arbitral proceedings). Therefore, a court may be less forgiving when a counsel makes an inaccurate statement of facts in challenge proceedings. Counsel representing parties challenging arbitral awards should be aware of this risk and are well advised to avoid potential grounds for personal liability.

Stricter rules on challenges in proposed Arbitration Act revisions
  • Sweden
  • 11 October 2018

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.


Competition & Antitrust

No fines for Swedish Match
  • Sweden
  • 09 August 2018

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.


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
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.

Liability for damages due to export of toxic waste: final ruling
  • Sweden
  • 15 July 2019

In a long and extensive environmental liability suit in Sweden, approximately 800 Chileans sued a Swedish mining company. The claim was based on the grounds that the mining company had exported toxic waste to Chile which subsequently caused damage to the plaintiffs' health. The case regards a potentially tortious act which occurred more than 30 years ago and poses the question of whether a company can be liable for environmental damage disclosed long after the tortious act has taken place.

Revised Environmental Code: new requirements for hydropower sector
  • Sweden
  • 04 February 2019

A number of revisions to the Environmental Code recently entered into force. The new rules apply to operators of hydroelectric power plants and plants that originally intended to produce hydroelectric power. The legislative changes aim to provide hydroelectric power plants with modern environmental conditions and ensure efficient national access to hydroelectric power.


Healthcare & Life Sciences

Contributed by Westerberg & Partners Advokatbyrå Ab
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.

Cannabis causes confusion in Sweden
  • Sweden
  • 14 August 2019

The Supreme Court has ruled that cannabidiol (CBD) oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which originates from legally cultivated hemp constitute illegal narcotics. The court argued that since CBD oil can be defined as a preparation in accordance with the Convention on Psychotropic Substances and contains THC, it is an illegal substance. This decision is likely to affect several aspects of Swedish healthcare regulation, including that relating to medicinal products.

Trilogue negotiations: originator company compensation for parallel imported products
  • Sweden
  • 27 February 2019

The Stockholm Administrative Court recently ruled that under the so-called 'trilogue negotiations' between pharmaceutical companies, the Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency and the Swedish regions could require an originator company to compensate them for products marketed by parallel importers.