Archive for the ‘English version’ Category

Good judicial practice – a checklist on ethics for Swedish judges – with a correct link

17 februari 2019

The document Good judicial practice – principles and issues was produced as a checklist by a working-party under my chairmanship. It was distributed (in Swedish) to all judges in Sweden in 2012. Here is an English version of the document.

The document consists of questions for discussion rather than answers. So it is not a formal code of ethics (= a code of conduct for judges). It has no normative character. Instead of such a code there are some provisions in the Swedish Code of Procedure with certain legal obligations for all judges that are legal norms but also of an ethical nature. The provision on an oath is here the best example.

One of the purposes of the document is to provide judges with guidance when dealing with the ethical dilemmas and problems they encounter in their day-to-day work. A further aim is to use the document in a training context and contribute to personal reflection, ensuring that discussions between judges regarding good judicial practice are kept alive.

Apart from a number of general requirements that are presented regarding principles, this document does not contain any instructions on how a judge ought to act in specific situations. When faced with an ethical dilemma, it is seldom possible to find the answer in a rule. Instead, a position is adopted through a series of quite complex considerations. A list of questions could be a source of support for the judge when handling ethical problems and dilemmas. Another reason for listing questions is that views on what characterises a good ethical attitude could vary over time and from one generation to another. Consequently, this document mainly comprises questions rather than guidelines. 

The ultimate task of the courts is to maintain the due process of law. The courts and judges must guarantee that everyone can have their rights and obligations determined objectively and independently. It is vitally important from a number of perspectives that the general public have confidence in the judges and the courts and that the judges and the courts maintain their credibility. The judge’s attitude to various ethical issues is also a key factor from a confidence point of view. This document deals with good judicial practice. This naturally encompasses matters relating to judicial ethics but goes beyond that. In this presentation, issues are addressed regarding the role of the judge and the responsibility of the judge in a broad sense. Consequently, a number of issues that are closest to the application of law will also be examined.

Peter Forsskål – a forefather of freedom of expression

16 januari 2018

In the volume The Legacy of Peter Forsskål – 250 Years of Freedom of Expression, ed. Ulla Carlsson and David Goldberg, Nordicom, 2017, Peter Forsskål – a Finnish Swedish forefather of freedom of expression – is presented together with a translation and a reprint of his Thoughts of  on civil liberty (1759). My contribution to the volume is a an outline of the first constitutional law on freedom of the press 1766 in Sweden and Finland – at that time a single country – and of the further development, see Freedom of Speech, Expression and Information in Sweden. A legacy from 1766.


11 augusti 2014


Johan Hirschfeldt

Curriculum vitae and a brief biography

Former president of Svea hovrätt (Svea Court of Appeal), Stockholm, Sweden

Born in Stockholm, Sweden 1942
Bachelor of Law 1967 (Univ. of Uppsala and Stockholm)
Jur. Dr h.c. 2000 (Univ. of Uppsala)
Honorary member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities

Clerk, Stockholm City Court, 1967–69
Reporting Clerk, Administrative Court of Appeal, 1970–72
Reporting Clerk, The Parliament Ombudsman, 1972–75
Deputy Head of Department, National Tax Board, 1975–79
Special Advisor, Ministry of Justice, 1979
Head of Division, The Parliamentary Ombudsman, 1980–84
Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs, Ministry of Labour, 1984–86
Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs, Cabinet Office, 1986–92
Chancellor of Justice, 1992–96
President, Svea Court of Appeal, 1996–2007

Special official assignments e.g.:

Chairman of Statens ansvarsnämnd (the board deciding on disciplinary sanctions against judges of first and second instances and high-ranked civil-servants) 1996-2008
Chairman of the board of the Election Authority, 2002–07
Chairman of Riksdagens Arvodesnämnd (a board deciding on remunerations and transition support for members of Parliament), 2006 –

Chairman of a preparatory study on constitutional matters concerning the Judiciary, official report, 1994
Chairman of a Commission on procedures of the assignment of judges of high rank and the role of presidents of courts, 1998–2000
Chairman of the Commission on Sweden and the Tsunami, 2005
Member of the Committee on constitutional reform in Sweden, 2004–2008
Chairman of the Inquiry on regulating the right to damages in the event of violations of the European Convention, 2009–10
Chairman of the Inquiry on transition support for former members of Parliament, 2011–2013

Member of the Consultative Council of European Judges within the Council of Europe, 2000–05
Substitute member of Venice Commission, 2009 –
Ad hoc judge, European Court of Human Rights, 2010 –

Other assignments e.g.:

Chairman of the Swedish National Board to the Nordic Lawyers General Conferences 1999-2011
Chairman of the Swedish Press Council, 2001–09
Chairman of the Institute for Legal Historical Research, 2003 –
Chairman of the Institute for Legal Research, 2012 –

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Publications: See
Email address:

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Johan Hirschfeldt lives in Stocksund (near Stockholm) and is married to Ingar Beckman, who is former Chief Librarian of the Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille.

Administrative law and ordinary courts

30 januari 2009

Parallel Competence of Ordinary and Administrative courts, is an article of mine published in Parallel and conflicting enforcement of law, ed. Torbjörn Andersson, 2005.

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