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Resolve a dispute in court

If you are in conflict with a customer, supplier, landlord or competitor, you or your opposing party can turn to the district court to have the dispute resolved. The district court is the first instance for resolving disputes between individuals.

Some district courts act as specialised courts for land and environmental disputes and or patent and market disputes, for example. If you want to appeal against a government decision, the administrative court is the first instance. 

Summons application 

If you want to settle your dispute in court, you must submit a summons application to the district court in the area in which the other party resides according to the Swedish Population Register. If the other party is a legal entity, it is the area in which the board has its registered office. 

The district court will then issue a summons against the other party. The other party must then respond to what you requested, for example to be paid according to the contract, receive damages, or stop marketing their products in a certain way. Once the court has received the other party's written answer, preparation of the case begins. Both parties will then be summoned to a preparatory hearing before a judge. 

If the other party has not replied in writing, the court may in some cases issue a default judgment. This usually means that the other party loses the case. The same applies if one of the parties does not attend the main hearing. 

About preparation and default judgment at the Swedish Courts (in Swedish) 

Settlement negotiations 

During the preparation of the case, the judge will try to get the parties to reach an agreement to avoid a trial, known as settlement negotiations. If you reach an agreement, a settlement agreement is written. This agreement can then be made enforceable by a special judgment. The judge helps with the settlement negotiations free of charge. 

As an alternative to settlement negotiations, the court may offer to have a mediator help resolve the dispute for a fee. 

Resolve a dispute through mediation

Main hearing and judgment 

If you do not reach an agreement in settlement negotiations or through mediation, the main hearing takes place. If you want to be reimbursed for your legal costs, you must ask for this before the main hearing is over. After the main hearing, the judgment is given. The unsuccessful party usually pays the other party's legal costs. 

Small claims litigation 

Cases involving smaller amounts, up to half a price base amount, are decided by a single judge and the possibilities of obtaining reimbursement of your legal costs are limited. In other respects, the case is handled in much the same way. 

2020 price base amount at Statistics Sweden (SCB) (in Swedish) 


If a party is not satisfied with the district court's decision, it can appeal to the court of appeal, but this requires leave to appeal. The next and final level of appeal is to the Supreme Court. Here, too, leave to appeal is required and is only granted if the matter is of importance to the application of law or if there are exceptional reasons.