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Appealing a criminal case

The person who has been convicted, the prosecutor and the victim of the crime can appeal against the District Court judgment in the Court of Appeal. This must be made in writing. The appeal must be received by the District Court within three weeks of the date on which the judgment is pronounced.

The final date for appeal is given in the judgment. The appeal is sent to the District Court. The District Court sends the appeal and all the documents in the case to the Court of Appeal, which re-hears the case. The appeal procedure is given in more detail in the judgment.

The procedure in the Court of Appeal

In certain cases leave to appeal is required if the Court of Appeal is to hear the case. A legally trained person at the Court of Appeal examines the case and presents a verbal report to three judges. The judges then decide whether or not the District Court has adjudicated the case correctly. If, among other things, there is reason to believe that the Court of Appeal would arrive at a conclusion different to that of the District Court, the Court of Appeal will grant leave to appeal. The judgment states when leave to appeal is required and, if so, the procedure.

Certain criminal cases are decided by a legally trained person going through the documents in the case. The majority of criminal cases, however, are decided following a preliminary hearing and are prepared in more or less the same way as in the District Court.

The main hearing in the Court of Appeal

What in everyday language is called a 'trial' is known in court as a main hearing. Presiding at a main hearing in a criminal case in the Court of Appeal are three legally qualified judges and two lay judges if the sentence is expected to be greater than a fine.

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.

Appeal to the Supreme Court

The Court of Appeal is in practice the highest instance in the majority of cases. The Supreme Court can examine cases which are appealed from one of the six Courts of Appeal in the country. Generally, leave to appeal is required if the Supreme Court is to examine a case. Leave to appeal is granted if the Supreme Court judgment or decision could provide guidance in how other similar cases are to be adjudicated ('precedent'). An assertion that the Court of Appeal has adjudicated the matter incorrectly is therefore not normally sufficient reason for leave to appeal to be granted.

Senast ändrad: 2009-11-27

Legal effect

If none of the parties appeals against the judgment within three weeks the judgment can no longer be changed by a higher court. This is known as the judgment taking legal effect and means that it can be executed.

Where are the Courts of Appeal located?

There are six Courts of Appeal in Sweden:

  • Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm 
  • Göta Court of Appeal in Jönköping 
  • Scania and Blekinge Court of Appeal in Malmö 
  • Court of Appeal for Western Sweden in Gothenburg 
  • Court of Appeal for Southern Norrland in Sundsvall 
  • Court of Appeal for Northern Norrland in Umeå

Each Court of Appeal has a geographical catchment area, a court circuit.

Read more about the courts of appeal.