Swedish Judicial Jurisdictions for Family History Research

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Why Civil Jurisdictions?

Medieval - Mid 1600's

Mid 1600's - early 1900's

By the 1630's the aministrative levels of government were organized as outlined in the chart below. These levels remained the same up to the beginning of the 1900's.

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Administration Levels Definition Records
Kunglig Majestät i Riksrådet The Council of the Realm and the Monarchy up to 1789 See the Records Page
Högsta domstolen The Supreme Court after 1789 See the Records Page
Nedre justitierevisionen Before cases could be presented to a higher court, the case and its documents had to be evaluated and prepared. This office accomplished that. See the Records Page
Hovrätter A court jurisdiction dating back to the medieval “lagsaga”, generally for an entire Landskap. After 1614 it became a first appellate court for civil and minor criminal cases. Serious criminal cases were appealed directly to the Hovrätt. Eventually most cases bypassed the lagmansrätt and the court jurisdiction was disbanded in 1849. See the Records Page
Rådhusrätter and magistrater City courts and Magistrates See the Records Page
Fögderier: Kronofogde and Häradsskrivare (in rural areas) A Fögderi was an administrative geographical area that often matched the boundaries of the härads. The primary purpose was tax collection and law enforcement. Historically the läns were divided into fögderier, with a Kronofogden as the High Bailiff (or head officer) over the fögderi. To learn more about these subjects and the records they kept see Kronofogden and Häradsskrivare.  See the Records Page
Kämnärsrätter A lower court in a town up to 1849 See the Records Page
Häradsrätter The häradsrätt was the first level of court for civil and criminal cases from medieval times up to 1970 when it was replaced by the tingsrätter. The area the jurisdiction covered was called a tingslag. The courts head was the häradshövding, who could also be over a domsaga (multiple härads.) The häradsrätten included twelve men called nämndemän, or tolvmän. The häradsrätt was also responsible to oversee taxation. See the Records Page

To print a copy of this chart with the definitions see: Add PDF here


Asker, Björn, Hur riket styrdes, Förvaltning , politik och arkiv 1520 – 1920, Edita, Stockholm 2007 (further reading on p.103

Clemmensson, Per & Kjell Andersson. Släktforska vidare. Natur och Kultur/LTs förlag, Falköping 2003