This country report discusses Swedish environmental and criminal law and its enforcement, based on an analysis of legal documents, policy documents and academic literature. Substantive as well as procedural aspects are discussed. Special attention is paid to the role played by the various actors involved in the enforcement of Swedish environmental criminal law: notably (but not exclusively) prosecutors, police, courts, and administrative agencies.
In addition to a theoretical study of law and literature, in-depth interviews were held with various Swedish experts and professionals. On this basis, some best practices and recommendations are formulated. Best practices include the recent legislative changes in the Swedish Environmental Code that lowered the “burden of proof” for police and prosecutors, the organization and specialization of prosecutors, the guidelines on corporate fees formulated by prosecutors, and Sweden’s participation in all relevant international forms of cooperation in the fight against environmental crime. Furthermore, there is a rather widely shared view that Sweden has a good ‘law on paper’ concerning environmental offenses.
Recommendations include improving and/or formalizing the cooperation between police and prosecutors and between police and enforcement authorities, and specific training of forensic experts . Also, investigations into environmental crime could be prioritized more, and inspection regimes could be improved if they focus more on monitoring rather than ex post control. Views differ with regard to the question whether the specialized environmental courts should deal with criminal matters also, or whether judges at general district courts should be (even) better trained in environmental matters.