More modern court proceedings
On November 1, 2008 a reform came into effect at the general courts throughout the country. Major changes were made in the Code of Judicial Procedure, which lays down the rules that govern proceedings in the general courts, i.e. district courts, courts of appeal and the Supreme Court. The basis for the changes in the law is Government Bill 2004/05:131 "More modern court proceedings - a reform of proceedings in the general courts".
Legally secure and efficient proceedings
The aim of the reform was to create more modern court proceedings that satisfy the requirements of the rule of law and the need for efficient handling of cases and court matters. The Bill comprises three main themes:
- making use of modern technology
- renewing proceedings in the court of appeal
- providing the courts with the opportunity to adapt their work to the needs of each individual case
Main focus on the district court
The legislator sought to highlight the fact that the focus in the administration of justice should be primarily on the district court. One of the implications of this is that the court of appeal should to a greater extent than is currently the case base its examination on the same material that formed the basis for the decision of the district court. In addition, the system of seeking leave to appeal now covers all dispute cases, such as family cases and claims cases, and all administrative matters.
Examinations will be documented using video
Making use of modern technology means, among other things, that all examinations in the district court are documented on video. Previously only audio recordings were made. Only examinations are recorded, not the whole of the court hearing. In the event of an appeal, the recordings will generally constitute the verbal evidence in the court of appeal.
A prerequisite for the legislation coming into effect on November 1, 2008 was that all courts had the necessary technology and know-how to record and play back examinations in both audio and video form. The National Courts Administration was therefore commissioned by the government to ensure that the new technology was built up and installed. This assignment was being carried out within what is known as the EMR Project (EMR = En modernare rättegång - More modern court proceedings).
New technology, training and support
New technology has been built up and installed in approximately 450 courtrooms throughout the country. Technology for audio and video recording has been installed in all courtrooms at the district courts. In the courts of appeal and in the Supreme Court playing back recordings will take place in conjunction with proceedings and presentation. This means that all courtrooms at the courts of appeal have been equipped with special presentation technology. The courts of appeal have also been given the opportunity to record examinations on video.
All employees at the district courts and courts of appeal throughout the country, approximately 3,200, have been informed about and trained in the use of the technology and new ways of working. An expanded support and management organisation has also been built up.
Special test team
Testing took place between December 1, 2007 and October 31, 2008. The testing involved examining the system solution (e.g. recording and playing back), working methods and support function.