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Hearing in the Court of Appeal

What is the procedure in a civil action in the Court of Appeal?

What in everyday language is called a 'trial' is known in court as a main hearing. A main hearing in the Court of Appeal is for the most part the same as in the District Court. A key difference of course is that judgment has already been pronounced in the case.

Civil actions in the Court of Appeal are for the most part heard by three legally qualified judges. If a case in the District Court has been heard by three judges then four judges will hear the case in the Court of Appeal. In cases involving family matters, two lay judges are sometimes involved in the hearing. These are not trained lawyers and they have completely different professions. The task of the lay judges, together with the legally qualified judges, is to apply the rule of law to the case in question.

Who takes part?

The following take part in the hearing

  • three legally qualified judges - the presiding judge and two other judges
  • two lay judges in certain cases involving family matters
  • the complainant, i.e. the person who has requested that the court hears the dispute, and/or counsel for the complainant
  • the counterparty and/or his/her counsel

Sometimes involved are

  • a recording clerk, often a lawyer in the court. He or she writes down what is being said during the hearing.
  • witnesses, i.e. people who can support what the parties are maintaining.
  • an interpreter - if one of the parties does not speak Swedish or has a visual or hearing impairment.

There could also be people who are there to listen. As the hearing is in most cases a public hearing anyone can come along and listen. Sometimes the court decides that the hearing, or part of the hearing, should be held 'in camera'. This means that only those who are directly involved are permitted to be present.

What happens in the courtroom?

The presiding judge checks who is present

The Court of Appeal summons the parties to the courtroom by means of a public address system. Everyone then enters the courtroom.

The presiding judge checks to see whether everyone has arrived and whether there are any impediments to the hearing taking place. If someone is missing this could result in the hearing being postponed. If this happens, everyone must then be summoned to a new hearing at a later date.

The witnesses are in most cases not present in the courtroom until they are heard. They are therefore often called later. The reason why they are not permitted to be present throughout the whole hearing is that they could be influenced by what others say in the courtroom.

The presiding judge goes through the judgment which has been appealed

The presiding judge presents the contents of the appealed judgment - often in a considerably shortened form. The judges and the parties or their counsel will have also gone through the appealed judgment before the hearing.

The parties present their claims

The party that has appealed against the judgment states which changes he or she would like the Court of Appeal to make in the judgment pronounced by the District Court. This is called a presentation of claims.

The counterparty then states which changes he or she agrees to and which he or she opposes.

The parties make a presentation of the facts

The parties have the opportunity to present the background to the dispute and state the facts on which they are relying. This is known as a presentation of the facts. Often the parties also go through written evidence in conjunction with their presentation of the facts.

Examination of the parties

If the parties have adduced an examination of themselves they are heard after the presentation of the facts.

A person who is heard under oath and knowingly does not speak the truth or fails to say what he or she knows, could be found guilty of making a false statement.

Examination of witnesses

The witnesses are called one at a time and are examined.

A person called as a witness first takes an oath. The presiding judge reads out the oath and the witness repeats. A person who has taken an oath in the District Court does not need to take a new oath in the Court of Appeal as the old oath is still valid.

Any person who knowingly does not speak the truth under oath or fails to say what he or she knows, could be found guilty of perjury.

In certain situations the Court of Appeal can examine witnesses by telephone or play back a recording of the examination of the witness in the District Court.

The parties conclude their case

When all the evidence has been presented the parties conclude their case. They describe what they feel has been proven and how they feel the court should rule. These are called closing speeches.

If the parties have requested compensation for legal costs or have legal aid, counsel submits a bill of costs. Legal aid is a form of social protection legislation designed to help those who cannot obtain legal assistance in another way. Read more about legal aid on the Legal Aid Authority website.


Following the hearing the judges discuss the case and decide how they will rule. This is known as deliberation. Each judge has one vote. No external party is entitled to be present during deliberation and what is said is confidential even after the court has pronounced judgment.

The judgment is based purely on what has emerged during the main hearing and may only refer to what the parties have requested. In cases involving family matters, such as custody of children, the court ensures that the matter is examined sufficiently and their ruling in the case is based on what is in the best interests of the child.

Judgment of the Court of Appeal

For the most part the judgment is notified at a later date. The presiding judge then states on which date and at what time the judgment will be notified. In some cases the court pronounces judgment immediately after deliberation.

The court always sends the judgment by post to the parties.

Practical matters

The Court of Appeal tries to plan the proceedings in such a way that no one needs to wait unnecessarily. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid waiting and delays occur from time to time.

There is a public address system which the judges use when they summon the parties and witnesses to the courtroom. You can sit in one of the waiting rooms or in the corridor outside. The Court of Appeal can also arrange for you to wait in another room. Contact the caretaker/security personnel if you wish to do so.

Inside the court there is the possibility for the parties and the witnesses to plug in a headset in order to hear better what is being said in the courtroom. Tell the presiding judge if you have problems hearing what is being said.

Senast ändrad: 2017-03-10

What is a main hearing?

What we in everyday language refer to as a 'trial' is known at court as a main hearing. This means that the summons the parties to a meeting.

Judgment of the Court of Appeal

Practical matters