The Södertälje trial costs taxpayers millions. Photo: Bertil Ericson/ Scanpix.

Costs for large court cases skyrocket

Court cases in Sweden have become more complicated and expensive as crimes become more organized and international, according to the National Courts Administration.

"Mostly it's the numerous large cases that are increasing, meaning the cases that take over 100 hours to complete," says Ann Härjelind, the head of the economic division at the National Courts Administration, to Swedish Radio News.

Most of the costs courts accrue in these complicated and large cases are due to additional personnel, including defense lawyers and counselors.

Courts that need to try large cases they cannot afford can ask the National Courts Administration for extra money. The most expensive cases, which can last six months, generally involve serious organized criminal activities with many suspects, witnesses, and victims.

One such case, the so-called Södertälje trial, cost the district court SEK 50 million.

The National Courts Administration gave courts throughout the country an additional SEK 9 million in 2011. That figure rose to SEK 11 million in 2012. In earlier years the National Courts Administration gave courts an additional SEK 1.5 to 3 million to help pay for expensive trials.

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