Slow Swedish courts lead to payouts

Slow courts are costing Sweden millions of kronor in reparation fees. The government last month decided to pay out nearly a million kronor to those who reported the country to the European court after their tax cases took such a long time to be dealt with.

Willis Thulin and nine others took Sweden to European Court of Human Rights because it took Sweden nearly 10 years to handle their tax cases.

The Swedish government has agreed to a conciliation proposal and paid 95,000 kronor of taxpayers’ money to Thulin and the other nine.

“It feels very good that there is place in Europe that can say how authorities should behave toward citizens,” he told Swedish Radio.

Waiting for tax cases do be dealt with by the Swedish courts is nothing new.

Pia Johansson, chief at the Blekinge court dealing with such tax cases, said wait times often are caused by so many other cases taking priority and that the administrative courts do not have enough staff.

“It isn’t acceptable that this type of tax case sits for this long,” she said. “But it has just been a lack of resources.”

Similar cases today take nearly seven months. The average wait should not surpass six months though. In 2006 and 2007 more resources are set to be given to help lessen the wait time.

“Right now the National Courts Administration is trying to divide up these additional resources,” Johansson said.