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Sebastian Wejedal

Senior lecturer

Sebastian Wejedal
Senior lecturer
sebastian.wejedal@law.gu.se
+46 31 786 6370

Room number: B617
Postal Address: Box 650, 40530 Göteborg
Visiting Address: Vasagatan 1 , 41124 Göteborg


Department of Law (More Information)
Box 650
405 30 Göteborg
www.law.gu.se
info@law.gu.se
Visiting Address: Vasagatan 1 , 411 24 Göteborg

About Sebastian Wejedal

LL.D. in procedural law

Research:

My research focuses on issues relating to "Access to Justice" (AtJ), that is the fundamental notion that all people – even disadvantaged groups of society – should enjoy effective legal/judicial protection, ultimately through the courts. Accordingly, the principal targets of the AtJ-movement’s criticism have been so called “Access Barriers”, i.e. different legal and/or practical obstacles that make it difficult, or even impossible, for the general public to turn to the courts in order to vindicate their rights. The most significant barrier is legal fees in general, and counsel fees in particular. How these fees are handled under Swedish law was the main topic of my doctoral thesis: "The right to counsel – On the allocation of counsel fees before Swedish courts”.

In a vast number of cases, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has concluded that law – substantive as well as procedural – is a rather complicated matter, which is often unintelligible to the layperson. Consequently, many self-represented litigants are neither accorded effective access to court (AtC), nor a fair trial – simply because they lack the skills necessary to present their case properly and competently. Therefore, the right to counsel has gradually evolved into a fundamental human right – not just in criminal cases, but also under the civil head of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Before Swedish courts, the parties to a dispute are always free to hire an attorney to conduct their case. In this narrow sense, the “right to counsel” is unconditional under Swedish law – both before the general courts and the administrative courts. In practice, however, the right to be assisted by counsel is conditional, since hiring a lawyer is always associated with a cost. In this way, a right that is theoretically bestowed on all is de facto denied many by the realities of economics, or as the saying goes: “Justice is open to all, like the Ritz Hotel.”

It is an undeniable fact that most litigants will not be able to obtain counsel, if counsel fees are not covered by a legal aid and/or legal protection insurance scheme, or at least reimbursed through cost shifting rules. Against this background, this thesis examines how counsel fees are handled before Swedish courts in relation to the imbricated notions of AtJ and AtC. More specifically, the thesis discusses (1) “party funding” (i.e. cost shifting), (2) “public funding” (i.e. legal aid) and (3) “third-party funding” (i.e. legal insurance), with a comparative perspective on the Swedish civil, criminal and administrative procedure. Since a right to counsel can be derived from Article 6 of the ECHR, Swedish law is also compared with the case law of the ECtHR. Lastly, the thesis criticises “simplification of procedure” as an unrealistic alternative to lawyer-conducted litigation, at least in court proceedings which are adversarial in structure.  

The thesis argues that all people are not guaranteed equal AtJ in Sweden and that Swedish law – in some respects – is not even in compliance with the standards set by the ECtHR. With regard to the general courts, it is argued that the rules concerning assignment of public defence counsel are constructed in a way that infringes the suspect’s fair trial rights under Article 6. Before administrative courts, moreover, it is argued that the absence of legal aid (as well as legal insurances), combined with a default application of the American (“no-way” fee shifting) rule give rise to Access Barriers, since most individual parties (usually “one shot litigants”) are forced to proceed pro se in disputes against highly skilled adversaries, viz. state and municipal agencies (“repeat player litigants”). In view of this asymmetry, it is asserted that self-represented litigants are not always guaranteed effective access to a court/a fair trial.

From a broader perspective, my research interest – as well as my thesis – touches upon some fundamental questions of procedural law, e.g. the right to a fair trial in general and the appropriate division of roles/powers in the adversarial proceeding in particular. On this interrelated topics, I have published a book in which I discuss the lawyer's role in cases concerning compulsory care of children (Santérus Academic Press), as well as some academic articles on various topics (published in Förvaltningsrättslig Tidskrift and Svensk Juristtidning).

Teaching:

I teach mainly in the field of procedural law on the LL.M. program at the Department of Law. I have some teaching assignments on the basic course in procedural law but conduct most of my teaching on the advanced level of the LL.M. program. I am involved in several advanced courses where I, among other topics, give lectures on AtJ-related themes, the fair trial rights under ECHR Art. 6 and on lawyers' ethics. I am also responsible for the advanced course in administrative procedure. Over the years, I have also supervised more than 20 master students.

In addition to procedural law, I teach public law/general administrative law on all levels of the the LL.M. program.

Finally, I have given lectures/have some teaching assignments on behalf of Sveriges Advokatsamfund, Sveriges domstolar and Göteborgs stad. 

On other web sites

Research areas

  • Procedural Law
  • Access to Justice
  • Access to Court, Effective Access to Court
  • ECHR article 6, Fair Trial Rights
  • The Role of the Lawyer, Lawyer Ethics

Research in progress

  • Tillämpning och bedömning av regelverk avseende arbetsskador ur jämställdhetsperspektiv, Aug/18 - May/19

Teaching areas

  • Procedural Law
  • Access to Justice
  • ECHR article 6, Fair Trial Rights
  • Administrative Procedure
  • Exercise of Public Authority

Selected publications

Tala är silver, tiga är guld: Om muntlig förhandling i förvaltningsmål, särskilt i skattemål
Kleist, David, Wejedal, Sebastian
Förvaltningsrättslig Tidskrift, 2013:4, s. 345-375, 2013

Showing 1 - 10 of 14

2019

Ett medvetet slag mot rättssäkerheten
Björn Hurtig, Hartman Samuel, Sebastian Wejedal
Svenska dagbladet, Newspaper article 2019
Newspaper article

2018

2017

2016

Showing 1 - 10 of 14

Page Manager: Jeffrey Johns|Last update: 9/8/2016
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