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Last update: 17-08-2004
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Service of documents - Sweden

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What does the legal term "service of documents" mean in practical terms? Why are there specific rules on the "service of documents"? 1.
2. Which documents need to be served formally? 2.
3. Who is responsible for serving a document? 3.
4. How is the document in practice normally served? 4.
5. What happens when in exceptional cases service to the addressee himself is not possible (e.g. because he is not at home)? 5.
6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served? 6.
7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served to a third person)? 7.
8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document, and if so, how much? 8.

 

1. What does the legal term "service of documents" mean in practical terms? Why are there specific rules on the "service of documents"?

Service means in practice that a document is sent to a person or served on him personally and there is evidence that he has received the document or that the rules in the Service Act have been complied with. Rules on service were adopted so that the courts could be sure that a document had been delivered to the addressee.

2. Which documents need to be served formally?

Service must be used if it is specifically prescribed, or, having regard to the objective of provisions concerning notification, it is clear that service should be effected, but service must be used only if it is necessary in the circumstances. An example of a special provision in an act requiring that service must be effected is that a summons must be served on the defendant in a dispute.

3. Who is responsible for serving a document?

The most usual case is that the authority or court effects service. However, it is also possible for an authority to allow a party, at his request, to effect service (service by a party). Nevertheless, it is a requirement that service can be effected without difficulty.

4. How is the document in practice normally served?

The most usual procedure of serving a document is that it is sent by post to the addressee. The letter is accompanied by a receipt of service, which the addressee is required to sign and return.

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5. What happens when in exceptional cases service to the addressee himself is not possible (e.g. because he is not at home)?

There are other ways of serving a document. There are detailed rules on when the various forms of service are to be used and when the addressee is deemed to have been served with a document. A list of the alternative modes of service is given below.

Simplified service. The document is sent by post to the addressee's last known address and at least one day later a notice is sent stating that the document has been sent. Evidence of reception or a receipt is thus not a requirement. Simplified service can only be used if the addressee has indicated that simplified service can be used in the case of proceedings. In practice, this means that service can be effected on a person, showing proof of receipt only once in a case and that the court will subsequently send documents by post.

Telephone service. The content of the document is read over the telephone to the addressee. The document is hereafter sent to the addressee by post.

Service by process server. Personal service is effected by a process server or certain other officials, e.g. a police constable or bailiff.

Substituted service. The document is handed to someone other than the addressee, for example an adult member of the addressee's household or his landlord or employer.

By nailing to the door. If there is reason to believe that a person is concealing himself and no other person can be served (substituted service), in certain cases the process may be left at the addressee's home or affixed to the door.

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Special service on limited companies. In certain circumstances, a document can be served on a limited company by sending it to its registered office.

Service by proclamation. A final mode of service that should be mentioned is service by proclamation. For this, the document is made available at the offices of the authority or court and at the same time is notified and a summary of the document inserted in the gazette Post och Inrikes tidningar and/or a local newspaper. The document must also be sent by post to the addressee's last known address.

6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served?

Yes. There is usually a receipt from the addressee or a document drawn up by the authority or court certifying that telephone service, substituted service or service by nailing has been effected.

7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served to a third person)?

There is discretion in the testing and appraisal of evidence before the Swedish courts. If it can be determined that a person has been served with a document, it is irrelevant whether the prescribed procedure was followed. Formal defects do not in themselves mean that service must repeated; the decisive factor is that the document has reached the addressee.

However, if the addressee has not received the document and the rules governing service have not been complied with, there may be grounds for setting aside a judgment through exceptional procedures, e.g. an application for a new trial or proceedings for miscarriage of-justice.

8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document, and if so, how much?

If an authority or a court is responsible for service, the costs are borne by the State. Thus a plaintiff is not required to reimburse a court the costs of serving a summons on a defendant.

If an individual wishes to serve a document on another person and an application is made to a police authority to effect such service, a charge of SEK 250 is payable.

Further information

Further information on internationell delgivning Svenska (Service outside the jurisdiction) is available from the Ministry of Justice.

« Service of documents - General information | Sweden - General information »

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Last update: 17-08-2004

 
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