Monday, February 12, 2007

Swedish Civil Code?

I have received a question about the Swedish Civil Code in English. There is no such translation.

The fact is that Sweden does not have a Civil Code Already in 1734 the Swedish Parliament approved a new enactment for the Realm of Sweden (“Sveriges Rikes Lag”). The law, which is actually a collection of codes, was confirmed by the Swedish king, Fredrik I, on January 23, 1736 and has applied ever since. It is called the Law of 1734.

One of the most used law collections published annually, the Norstedt Law Book, has used the layout of the Law of 1734 by trying to sort in new enactments under the old codes. This means that you will find not only the Rome Convention of 1980 but also the Purchase of Goods Act of 1990 under the first Chapter of the 1734 Commercial Code.

The law of 1734 was divided into a number of codes. Through the years certain new codes have been included in the old system, the last one being the Environmental Code of 1998. Today the following codes will be found in the Norstedt Law Book:

1. Marriage Code of 1987

2. Parental Code of 1949

3. Inheritance Code of 1958

4. Land Code of 1970

5. Environmental Code of 1998

6. Land Parcelling Act of 1970

7. Building Code of 1734

8. Commercial Code of 1734

9. Tort Act of 1972

10. Bankruptcy Act of 1987

11. Penal Code of 1962

12. Code of Judicial Procedure of 1942

13. Enforcement Code of 1981

Only parts of the Commercial Code and the Building Code have survived since 1734. Codes number 5, 6, 9 and 10 were not included in the original enactment 1734 at all.

In Finland, which was a part of Sweden until 1809 the Code of Judicial Procedure of 1734 nominally applies although not very much of the original content is applicable today.

Although not very many fragments of the codes enacted in 1734 have survived, we still have some parts of it in use. If e.g. some one sells the same object to two different persons, you actually have to read the 1734 Commercial Code, Chapter 1, Section 5, which states that he who bought first should be allowed to keep it.

It should be noted that the Swedish building legislation is not to be found in the Building Code; instead it covers much more exciting things like still applicable rules about pigs eating acorns, swarming bees and burn-beating.

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