Lekmän i de svenska och danska domstolsväsendena – en komparativ & historisk analys
Sammanfattning: Lay judges in courts is an old phenomenon in both Sweden and Denmark. A layman is someone who judges court cases in coalition with ordinary judges. The significance of lay judges has both increased and decreased over time and varies depending on the time period and type of lay judge of relevance in the discussion. This essay examines lay judges in a historical and current perspective and explains how the various systems function. Attention is also paid to what has been argued, both positively and negatively, regarding the different systems and what problems have emerged. In Sweden the lay judges exist as nämndemän and jury respectively. The laymen are appointed by political parties, which has caused debates concerning impartiality and legal security. Nämndemän partake in numerous case types in Sweden, while the jury is limited to cases regarding freedom of press and speech. As a consequence, nämndemän have been subject to criticism more extensively compared to the jury. In Denmark lay judges are either nævninger, corresponding to the Swedish jury, or domsmænd, corresponding to the Swedish nämndemän. Previously, nævninger have been defined as something different to and more independent than domsmænd, but with time the differences have dwindled. Many of the laymen are politically involved in Denmark as well, but unlike Sweden there is an opportunity to register one’s interest in becoming a lay judge, disregarding political involvement. Many of the arguments for lay judges are politically founded rather than judicially. This can be questioned due to the fact that lay judges generally do not have as strong of a connection to the public as justifications often express. Laymen have different qualifications compared to ordinary judges, which raises the question whether that is desirable in the court system or not. Despite all the discussions being held, opinions have not affected the development of the lay judge system as of late, neither in Sweden nor Denmark.
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