Swedish Radio News reports that the total number of Sweden Democrat lay judges in immigration courts has nearly doubled since the last mandate period a year ago. This worries Anne Ramberg, from the Swedish Bar Association.
"This is a deeply troubling development. It risks undermining confidence in the immigration courts," Ramberg told Swedish Radio News.
Sweden's immigration courts are organized into four administrative courts in Luleå, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Lay judges, who decide immigration cases together with court judges, are appointed by elected councils in each region. The allocation of lay judge appointments usually follows election results, which saw the Sweden Democrats receive a large increase in votes in this September's national election. They received the largest number of lay judge positions in the southern region of Skåne, where they now make up 48 of that court's total 312 lay judges.
Sweden Democrat Patrik Jönsson told Swedish Radio News that he does not think that affiliation with his party will bias any of the lay judges in immigration court decisions.
"I can of course only speak for myself but what I have seen with other lay judges and the decisions they have made, I cannot see any kind of partisanship," Jönsson said.