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Nordic countries: IALS Library Guides

An introduction to legal research in the Nordic jurisdictions

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Last updated:

Hester Swift, November 2017

About the author HS

This guide was created by Hester Swift, Foreign & International Law Librarian at the IALS Library.


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This research guide covers Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, five countries with close cultural, historical and administrative links.

The Nordic region has a somewhat complicated political history, with Denmark and Sweden dominating for many centuries. Norway in its modern form gained independence in 1905 (it had previously been independent in the Middle Ages, until 1380). Finland declared independence in 1917 and  Iceland attained full independence in 1944. Denmark, Sweden and Norway are constitutional monarchies, while Iceland and Finland are republics. Finland has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish.

The Nordic legal systems can be classed as a branch of the civil law family, although some scholars put them in their own category, distinct from civil law, common law and other types of legal system. Roman law has had less influence in the region than in Continental Europe, and the Nordic states do not have systematic codes comparable to those of jurisdictions such as France and Germany.

There has been a tradition of legislative unification, or cooperation, in the Nordic region since the latter part of the nineteenth century. Norway, Denmark and Sweden began the process and Finland became involved later; Iceland has participated to a lesser extent in the drafting of uniform laws, but has often enacted the laws agreed on by the other four states. The work continues under the aegis of the Nordic Council, which was established in 1952. 

Three of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, are members of the European Union. Both Norway and Iceland apply a large proportion of EU laws, since they are members of the European Economic Area (EEA).

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library collects both primary and secondary legal material for Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden; very little is held relating to Iceland, however. 

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HeinOnline's World Constitutions Illustrated provides English translations of the current and past constitutions of all the Nordic countries, together with associated laws, scholarly commentary and other documents. 

Norway's constitution was adopted in 1814. An English version, as amended, is available on the website of the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting.  The constitution is also included - in Norwegian - in Norges Lover, a set of revised Norwegian laws, successive editions of which are held at IALS.

Sweden's Constitution is made up of four fundamental laws: the Instrument of Government (1974), the Act of Succession (1810), the Freedom of the Press Act (1949) and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (1991). These are accompanied by the Parliament Act (1974), which is not classed as a fundamental law, but has superior status to ordinary laws. All are available in English on the website of the Swedish Parliament, or Riksdag.

Finland enacted a new constitution in 1999. There is an English-language introduction to it on the Finnish Ministry of Justice website, with a link to an English translation (dated 2012) of the Constitution itself on FinLex. Previously Finland had several constitutional laws, like Sweden.

Denmark's Constitution was adopted in 1953. An annotated English version, published in 2013, is available on the website of the Danish Parliament (Folketing).

Iceland's Constitution dates from 1944. An English translation amended to 1999 is available on the website of the Icelandic governmentA new draft constitution was passed to the Icelandic Parliament (Althing) by the Constitutional Council in 2011, but, at the time of writing, has not been adopted.

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Legislation - Norway

Norwegian statutes (lover) and regulations (forskrifter) are cited by title, date and number. The preferred form of citation for statutes is shown below: -

Lov 24. juni 1988 nr. 64 om utlendingers adgang til riket (utlendingsloven)

Lov 24. mars 2003 nr. 15 om beskyttelse av design (designloven)

(Note that “Lov” in the examples above is only capitalized because it is at the start of a line: the only Norwegian law that is capitalized is Grunnloven, the Constitution.)

Statutes may be referred to using abbreviations, such as 'al' for arveloven (Inheritance Act). Abbreviations can be looked up in Knophs oversikt over Norges rett, or in Norges lover, both held at IALS; some Norwegian abbreviations are also listed online by Scandinavian Studies in Law

Norway does not have a set of codes comparable to those of France, Germany, Italy and so on. However, some of the most important statutes are often described as codes, for example lov av 22. mai 1902 nr 10 almindelig borgerlig straffelov (straffeloven) (Penal Code); lov av 22. mai 1981 Nr 25 om rettergangsmåten i straffesaker (straffeprosessloven) (Criminal Procedure Code); lov av 17. juni 2005 nr 90 om mekling og rettergang i sivile tvister (tvisteloven) (Civil Procedure Code).

Printed sources
IALS Library's main source of Norwegian statutes is Norges lover, a one-volume collection of revised primary legislation produced by the University of Oslo's Law Faculty. It is published annually by Fagbokforlaget. IALS has the current edition and selected previous editions going back to 1963.  We do not
 have current Norwegian regulations, but they are available on the internet (as are statutes - see below).

Limited runs of two official statutory publications are available at IALS:

  • Norsk lovtidend (published 1877 onwards, but held at IALS 1949–62 only; available at the British Library). This is the Norwegian official gazette. Since 1974, national statutes, ordinances and regulations have appeared in avd. I (part 1) and local statutes, ordinances and regulations in avd.2. Before 1974, part 1 had statutes, ordinances and regulations arranged by subject and part 2 had the same legislation in chronological order. 
  • Lover: vedtatt på det…ordentlige storting. Published annually, at the end of each parliamentary session, this contains the text of each new law, plus amendments to old laws. Held at IALS 1970/1971 - 1980/1981 only (with gaps).

IALS also has a five-volume set of ancient Norwegian laws, Norges gamle love indtil 1387 (published by C. Gröndahl, 1846-95). 

Online sources
Statutes and regulations are available free on the Lovdata website, as amended. The official gazette, Norsk lovtidende, is also on Lovdata (2001 onwards). Lovdata is a private foundation which was established by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo.

English translations of many Norwegian statutes and regulations are also available on Lovdata.

Norsk lovkommentar , a collection of Norwegian legislation with commentary, is available online via Gyldendal's Rettsdata service, for a fee, but IALS does not subscribe.

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Legislation - Sweden

Swedish statutes and regulations are published in the series Svensk författningssamling (SFS), or Swedish Code of Statutes. Each instrument is cited by year and number, for example: 

  Lag om Diskrimineringsombudsmannen SFS 2008: 568

Printed sources
IALS Library's main source of Swedish legislation is the one-volume compilation of laws in force, Sveriges Rikes Lag. It is published annually by Norstedts / Wolters Kluwer Scandinavia and IALS has it from 1948 onwards (with some gaps).

IALS has Svensk författningssamling from 1955 to 1990 only (plus an index going up to 2004), but it is available online

Revised legislation with commentary is found in the three-volume work Karnov...svensk lagsamling med kommentarer, published by Thomson, but this is not held at IALS. 

IALS has an up-to-date looseleaf collection of translated commercial laws, Swedish Commercial Legislation (Norstedts / Wolters Kluwer).

The concise way in which Swedish legislation is drafted means that the travaux préparatoires (preparatory documents) are an important tool for interpretation. They are published in one of two series: either Statens offentliga utredningar (SOU) or Departementsserien (Ds). IALS has a few issues of SOU but none of Ds, but they are available online as part of the Swedish Parliament's Documents and Laws database. Summaries of the travaux for selected laws can be found in part II of the series Nytt juridiskt arkiv, which is in IALS Library up to 1990. 

Online sources
Svensk författningssamling is available free on the official Swedish law website, Lagrummet. For laws as originally published, choose 'Svensk författningssamling (SFS) i tryckt format' (1998 onwards); for laws as amended, choose 'Svensk författningssamling (SFS) i fulltext'.

Preparatory legislative material is available in the Swedish Parliament's Documents and Laws database. his includes the series Statens offentliga utredningar (SOU) and Departementsserien (Ds); to limit a search to one of these series, use the 'Dokumentyp' filters.

Notisum provides a large amount of free information, including legislation (under 'Lagboken'), but some of its data is only available by subscription. 

Selected Swedish statutes translated into English can be found on the websites of the Riksdag, the Ministry of Justice (laws on migration and criminal law and the judicial system) and the Ministry of Employment.

IALS does not subscribe to any Swedish law databases, but the databases in existence include Infotorg Juridik and Karnov-Plus.

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Legislation - Finland

Finnish acts and decrees are cited by year and number, for example: 503/2008 Laki rahanpesun ja terrorismin rahoittamisen estämisestä ja selvittämisestä (Act on Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism Prevention and Investigation). 

Printed sources
IALS Library's source of Finnish legislation is Suomen laki, which is published annually by Talentum and is now in three volumes. A collection of Finnish legislation as amended, it is very widely used by Finnish lawyers, although it is not an official publication. Suomen laki started in 1955 and is held at IALS from 1995 onwards (with some gaps); we also have two old copies of the Swedish-language version, Finlands lag

Finnish primary and secondary legislation is published by the Ministry of Justice in the legal gazette, Suomen säädöskokoelma (Statutes of Finland, Finnish-language edition) / Finlands författningssamling (Swedish-language edition). Neither edition is held at IALS. Statutes of Finland was the official source of Finnish legislation until the end of 2010, but the online version, Electronic Statutes of Finland (on FINLEX - see below) was given official status instead from 2011 onwards.

Official notices, circulars and similar documents are published in the official gazette, Virallinen lehti / Officiella tidningen (not held at IALS).

Online sources
FINLEX, a free website provided by the Ministry of Justice and Edita Publishing, provides Finnish acts and decrees both in their original form and as amended, as well as secondary legislation and treaties. Electronic Statutes of Finland, which has been the official source of Finnish legislation since January 2011, is available on FINLEX. English (and other) translations of many acts and decrees are also provided.

Edilex, a subscription service produced by Edita Publishing, includes legislation as amended. IALS does not subscribe.

Suomen laki is available online, but IALS only has the printed version.

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Legislation - Denmark

Danish acts are cited by number, date and title, for example: Lov nr. 1003 af 8.10.2008 om finansiel stabilitet. Abbreviations are often used for major acts, such as Kbl for Koebeloven (Sale of Goods Act) and Aftl for Aftaleloven (Contracts Act). The Themis website has a glossary of Danish legal abbreviations (forkortelser).

Denmark has a criminal code (Straffeloven). There is also a procedural code, Retsplejeloven, covering both civil and criminal proceedings.  These codes and their annual consolidations are published in the legal gazette, Lovtidende. IALS has an English translation of the criminal code and other criminal legislation: Malene Frese Jensen's The Principal Danish Criminal Acts (3rd edn, DJØF 2006).

Printed sources
IALS Library's main source of Danish legislation is Karnovs lovsamling, an exhaustive compilation of laws (love) and regulations (bekendtgørelser) in force, with annotations. It is published annually by Thomson Reuters.  

The Danish legal gazette, Lovtidende, publishes both laws and regulations. IALS has it from 1939 to 1959 only; since 2008 it has only been published online (see below).

Administrative circulars and official guidance are published in the series Ministerialtidende, which IALS holds from 1965 to 1974. Ministerialtidende, like Lovtidende, is no longer published in hard copy.

Online sources
The official Retsinformation website provides Danish legislation free of charge. It includes consolidated laws. Users can search for legislation by title, number and/or year.

Lovtidende, the Danish legal gazette, publishes laws and regulations. It is available free online from 2008 onwards (print publication ceased in 2008). It can be searched by title, number and/or year. To browse by year, click on 'Årgange'. Most legislation appears in Afdeling A (part A); fiscal and some other instruments are published in Afdeling B; there is also an Afdeling C, containing treaties. Frequent official consolidations of legislation, called 'lovbekendtgørelser', appear in Lovtidende, as well as the original texts. 

Ministerialtidende, which publishes official circulars and guidance, is also free online from 2008 (when it ceased print publication) onwards. 

Selected unofficial translations of Danish legislation are available via the University of Copenhagen's Danish Law in English webpage.

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Legislation - Iceland

Icelandic acts are cited by number and year, for example Lög [act] nr. 44/2005.

Iceland has a criminal code, the General Penal Code, Lög nr.19/1940.  

Printed sources
Icelandic legislation is not held at IALS. For information about print holdings in other UK libraries, see the FLAG Foreign Law Guide.

Legislation is published in the Icelandic official gazette, Stjórnartídindi (not held at IALS). There are three sections: A for acts of parliament, B for delegated legislation (regulations and decrees) and C for treaties. Since 2005 the gazette has been an online-only publication. 

A consolidated set of legislation used to be published every few years by the Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs (Dóms- og kirkjumálaráduneytid), under the title Lagasafn: íslensk lög... (not held at IALS).

Electronic sources of Icelandic legislation
Acts are available on the website of the Icelandic Parliament, Althingi

The Icelandic official gazette is also available on the internet. Parts A and B are provided from 2001 onwards, part C from 1995 onwards.

English translations of a large number of Icelandic acts can be found on the websites of the various government departments: see the Government Offices of Iceland portal.

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Law reports - Nordic region

There are two series of law reports covering decisions from all five Nordic countries:

  • Nordisk domssamling (Nordic Court Reports), published in Oslo by Universitetsforlaget; whole series in IALS (1958 onwards).
  • Nordiske domme i sjøfartsanliggender (Nordic Decisions on Maritime Matters), published in Oslo by Nordisk Skibsrederforening; not in IALS.

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Law reports - Norway

An English-language description of the Norwegian judicial system can be found on the Norwegian courts website. 

Printed sources
Almost all decisions of the Norwegian Supreme Court (Norges Høyesterett) are published in the series Norsk Retstidende. This title is held at IALS from vol.115 (1950) to vol.130 (1965), with some gaps, and from 1999 to 2015; it ceased print publication at the end of 2015. Cases published in the print edition are cited by the abbreviation 'Rt', the year of publication and the page number, for example 'Rt 2007 s. 4145'; cases in the online-only edition are cited by the case number, for example 'HR-2016-106-A'.

Selected decisions of the lower courts were published in Rettens Gang (RG) from 1933 until the end of 2013; this series is not held at IALS Library.

There are also Norwegian reports focusing on particular areas of law, for example Dommer, uttalelser m.v. i skattesaker og skattespørsmål ('Decisions and Rulings etc. on Tax Matters'; not in IALS).

Online sources
The Supreme Court website provides cases from 2008 onwards (links to the full decision appear at the end of each case summary) and summaries only from 2000 to 2007. Selected cases are available in English from 2012 onwards.

Lovdata has some free case content:

  • recent cases from the Supreme Court (Høyesterett) and appeal courts (lagmannsrettane), in Norwegian;
  • a few cases translated into English, 2003 onwards.

Lovdata's subscription service covers cases from 1945 onwards (in Norwegian), including the series Norsk Retstidende. IALS does not subscribe to Lovdata, however.

Gyldendal Rettsdata, another commercial database, also has Norwegian cases. (IALS does not subscribe.)

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Law reports - Sweden

The Swedish courts website provides an English-language introduction to the judicial system. 

Printed sources
Decisions of the Supreme Court (Högsta domstolen) are published by Norstedt in Nytt juridiskt arkiv: Avd. I (part I), which is cited with the abbreviation 'NJA'. The entire series (1874 onwards) is held at IALS.

Selected decisions of the six courts of appeal (Hovrätterna) from 1981 onwards appear in Rättsfall från hovrätterna (RH); this series is not held at IALS. Until 1980, court of appeal cases were published in the law journal Svensk juristtidning (SvJT), which IALS holds from vol. 3 (1918) onwards.

Cases from the Supreme Administrative Court (Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen, formerly Regeringsrätten) appear in its yearbook, Högsta förvaltningsdomstolens årsbok (previous title Regeringsrättens årsbok). This series is not held at IALS, but is available online

Cases of general interest from the Labour Court (Arbetsdomstolen) are published in Arbetsdomstolens domar (not held at IALS). 

Cases from the Market Court were published in Marknadsdomstolens avgöranden (not held at IALS) until 2016; the court ceased to exist on 1 September 2016 (replaced by the new Patent and Market Court and Patent and Market Court of Appeal).  

Online sources
The official Lagrummet portal includes a database of important cases (vägledande avgöranden: guiding decisions) by the Supreme Court, appeal courts, Supreme Administrative Court, special courts, other higher courts and official boards. Further information about this database is available on the Swedish Courts website (in Swedish).

Important Supreme Court decisions from the last five years are available on the Court's website

Cases from the Supreme Administrative Court appear in its yearbook, Högsta förvaltningsdomstolens årsbok / Regeringsrättens årsbok, which is on the Notisum website from 1993 onwards. 

Labour Court cases are available on the court's website from 2003 onwards.

Notisum, a commercial database, provides a large collection of free case summaries from the Supreme Court, appeal courts and special courts: see 'Notisums Lagbok' page - 'Regelsamling' - 'Rättsfall' - select required court. Much more case law is available to subscribers, but IALS does not subscribe.

InfoTorg Juridik's Swedish law database also includes cases, but IALS does not subscribe.

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Law reports - Finland

An English-language introduction to Finland's judicial system is available on the Finnish courts website. 


Printed sources
Finnish court decisions may be found at IALS Library in the journals Defensor legis (held 1920-1958 and 1960 onwards) and Lakimies (1962 onwards).

The Supreme Court (Korkein oikeus in Finnish, Högsta domstolen in Swedish) publishes selected decisions in its yearbook, Korkeimman Oikeuden ratkaisuja (Swedish title Avgöranden av Högsta domstolen).The yearbook is not held at IALS, but cases from it are available on the FINLEX website (see below). Supreme Court cases are cited by the yearbook's abbreviation, KKO (or HD), the year and the case number, for example, KKO:2007:211. Before the mid-1980s, the part number of the yearbook is also given, with hyphens instead of colons, for example, KKO:1977-II-76.  

The Supreme Administrative Court (Korkein hallinto-oikeus / Högsta forvaltningsdomstolen) has its own yearbook: Korkeimman hallinto-oikeuden vuosikirja (KHO) / Högsta förvaltningsdomstolens årsbok. This is not held at IALS, but cases from it are on FINLEX - see below. Supreme Administrative Court cases are cited by date and case number, for example, 29.12.2006/3616, or by yearbook citation, for example, KHO: 2005:87.

Online sources
The free FINLEX website, run by the Ministry of Justice and Edita publishing, provides cases from the Finnish Supreme Court, Supreme Administrative Court, appeal courts, regional administrative courts, Market Court, Labour Court and Insurance Court (in Swedish and Finnish). English-language summaries of selected cases are available from the Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court.

FINLEX also provides a database of references to case law in secondary legal literature, Rättspraxis i litteraturen (English version available here).

Edita Publishing's law database, Edilex, includes case law (IALS does not subscribe).

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Law reports - Denmark

English-language information about the judicial system can be found on the Danish Courts website.

Printed sources
The main source of Danish cases is the series Ugeskrift for retsvæsen, cited with the abbreviation 'UfR' (or 'U'). Originally published by Gad, it is now a Thomson title. It publishes decisions of the Supreme Court (Højesteret), the two high courts (Østre Landsret and Vestre Landsret) and the Maritime and Commercial Court (Sø- og Handelsretten). IALS Library has UfR from 1874 onwards (with some 1920s-1940s issues missing).

Specialist law reports include the tax series Tidsskrift for skatter og afgifter (TfS), and the employment series Arbejdsretligt Tidsskrift. Neither title is held at IALS. Print publication of TfS ceased at the end of 2016.

Online sources
The Danish Supreme Court website provides cases from September 2009 onwards (it also has summaries from June to August 2009).

The Maritime and Commercial Court website provides cases from 2002 onwards. includes a database of administrative decisions (afgørelser) going back many years.

Forsikrings- og erstatningsretlig domssamling (FED), a collection of insurance and compensation decisions, allows non-subscribers to search the database and download up to three cases.

Ugeskrift for retsvæsen is available online from Thomson, by subscription. Tidsskrift for skatter og afgifter is available online from Karnov Group (subsrciption required). IALS does not subscribe to any Danish case databases.

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Law reports - Iceland

Information in English about the Supreme Court of Iceland (Hæstiréttur Íslands), including its composition and procedures, can be found on the Court's website.

Printed sources
All decisions of the Supreme Court are published in the series Hœstaréttardómar, with the first instance cases. IALS does not hold this title.

Online sources
Supreme Court decisions from January 1999 onwards can be found on the Court's website. 

District court decisions are available on the website of the Judicial Council. 

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IALS Library holds books about the law of the Nordic region and its component jurisdictions, in English and other languages. A selection of recent English-language titles are listed below; for details of the full collection, in all languages, see the Library Catalogue.

Nordic region / Scandinavia
Zweigert, Konrad, and Kötz, Hein, Introduction to comparative law (3rd edn, OUP, 1998), Part IV, 'The Nordic Legal Family'

Håstad, Torgny (ed.)., The Nordic contracts act: essays in celebration of its one hundredth anniversary (DJØF Publishing, 2015)

Asland, John,  et al, Nordic cohabitation law (Intersentia, 2015)

Bull, Hans Jacob, et al, Transport law in Norway (Kluwer Law International, 2013)

Nielsen, Ruth and Tvarnø, Christina D. (eds.), Scandinavian women's law in the 21st century (DJØF Publishing, 2012)

Tonry, Michael, and Lappi-Seppälä, Tapio (ed.s)Crime and justice in Scandinavia (University of Chicago Press, 2011)

Nergelius, Joakim, Constitutionalism: new challenges: European law from a Nordic perspective (Martinus Nijhoff 2008) 

Redden, Kenneth Robert (ed.), Modern legal systems cyclopedia (W.S. Hein, 1984 - ), vol. 4, ch.6

Henning Jakhelln, Labour law in Norway, 3rd ed. (Kluwer Law International, 2016)

Giuseppe Franco Ferrari (ed.), Two centuries of Norwegian constitution: between tradition and innovation (Eleven International Publishing, 2015)

Bugge, Hans Christian, Environmental law in Norway, 2nd ed. (Kluwer Law International, 2014)

Bull, Hans Jacob, et al, Transport law in Norway (Kluwer Law International, 2013). 

Aune, Helga, Norwegian employment law: an overview (Damm, 2008)

Redden, Kenneth Robert (ed.), Modern legal systems cyclopedia (W.S. Hein,1984 - ), vol. 4, ch.10

Nyström, Göran, et al, The Swedish takeover code: an annotated commentary (Routledge, 2017).

Persson, Annina H., Commercial and economic law in Sweden, 2nd ed. (Wolters Kluwer, c.2016)

Nergelius, Joakim, Constitutional law in Sweden, 2nd ed. (Kluwer Law International, 2015)

Westerlund, Li, Intellectual property law in Sweden (Kluwer Law International, 2012)

Bogdan, Michael (ed.), Swedish legal system, (Norstedts Juridik, 2010)

Redden, Kenneth Robert (ed.), Modern legal systems cyclopedia (W.S. Hein, 1984 - ), vol. 4, ch.4

Niemi-Kiesiläinen, Johanna, Civil procedure in Finland, 2nd ed. (Kluwer Law International, 2016)

Alén-Savikko, Anette, and Korpisaari, Päivi, Media law in Finland (Wolters Kluwer, 2016).

Husa, Jaakko, The constitution of Finland: a contextual analysis (Hart, 2010)

Pylkkänen, Anu, Trapped in equality: women as legal persons in the modernisation of Finnish law (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, [c.2009])

Pöyhönen, Juha, An Introduction to Finnish law, 2nd ed. (Kauppakaari, 2002) 

Redden, Kenneth Robert (ed.), Modern legal systems cyclopedia (W.S. Hein, 1984 - ) vol. 3, ch. 2(A), section 2

Andersen, Paul Krüger, and Sørensen, Evelyne J.B., The Danish Companies Act: a modern and competitive European law (DJØF, 2012)

Langsted, Lars Bo, Criminal law in Denmark (Kluwer Law International, 2011)

Pedersen, Hans Viggo Godsk, Family law in Denmark (DJØF, c.2011)

Blume, Peter, Legal method in Danish law (Jurist- og økonomforbundets forlag, 2011)

Werlauff, Erik, Civil procedure in Denmark (Kluwer Law International, c2010) 

Redden, Kenneth Robert (ed.), Modern legal systems cyclopedia (W.S. Hein, 1984 - ) vol. 4, ch.4(A)

Elín Blöndal, Labour law in Iceland, 2nd ed. (Kluwer Law International, 2014)

Evelyn Ellis and Kristín Benediktsdóttir (ed.s), Equality into reality: action for diversity and non-discrimination in Iceland (University of Iceland Press, 2011).

Stefan Mar Stefansson, The EEA agreement and its adoption into Icelandic law (Universitetsforlaget, c.1997)

Eser, Albin, et al (ed.s), Old ways and new needs in criminal legislation: documentation of a German-Icelandic Colloquium on the Development of Penal Law in General and Economic Crime in Particular (Max-Planck-Institut für Ausländisches und Internationales Strafrecht, 1989)

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IALS subscribes to the following Nordic journals (this list excludes a few very old series - see Catalogue for full holdings): 

NIR: Nordiskt immateriellt rättsskydd, 1965 onwards

Nordic journal of human rights, 1983 onwards with 5-year embargo - via HeinOnline

Nordisk administrativt tidsskrift, 1960 onwards

Nordisk tidsskrift for kriminalvidenskab, 1967-68, 1975 onwards

Scandinavian studies in criminology, 1965-1993

Scandinavian studies in law, hard copy 1957 to date; on HeinOnline up to 2013 only

Tidsskrift for Rettsvitenskap (TFR), 1888 onwards       

Lov og rett: norsk jurdisk tidssdrift (LoR), 1962 onwards

Oslo Law Review, 2014 onwards (open access e-journal, also on HeinOnline)

Juridisk tidskrift vid Stockholms universitet, 1991/92 and 1997/98 onwards

Advokaten (formerly Tidskrift för sveriges advokatsamfund), 1936 onwards

Svensk juristtidning,1918 onwards 

Förvaltningsrättslig tidskrift, 1938 onwards

Lakimies, 1962 onwards; abstracts (and some whole articles) are available in English

Defensor Legis, 1920 onwards

Tidskrift utgiven av Juridiska Föreningen i Finland (JFT), 1951 onwards

Juristen: udgivet af Danmarks jurist-og okonomforbund, 1938 onwards (see library catalogue for title variations)

The library does not subscribe to any Icelandic law journals.

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Research guides and bibliographies

New York University's Globalex website has research guides for each Nordic jurisdiction.

The University of Copenhagen has Danish and Nordic legal research guides on its website; they are mainly in Danish, with sections in English.

 Winterton, Jules, and Moys, Elizabeth, Information sources in law, 2nd ed. (Bowker-Saur, 1997), includes a chapter on each Nordic jurisdiction. IALS holds several copies.

The University of Bergen Law Library has compiled a bibliography of Norwegian law in foreign languages

Strømø, Hanne E, and Kongshavn, Halvor, Nordic legal festschriften: a bibliography of the essays written in English, German and French until 1999 (Det Juridske Fakultetsbibliotek, 1999). Available at IALS.

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Online resources

Subscription databases
Although IALS Library does not subscribe to any databases focusing on the law of Nordic jurisdictions, the following multi-jurisdictional resources have relevant content:

  • Foreign Law Guide: current sources of codes and basic legislation in jurisdictions of the world: available via the IALS Electronic Law Library), Foreign Law Guide includes outlines of the legal systems of each of the five Nordic countries, together with information about their legal publications and  websites; English-language sources are listed as well, where available.
  • World Constitutions Illustrated, part of HeinOnline (see Electronic Law Library), includes coverage of all the Nordic countries.

Free web resources



  • Lovdata: legislation as amended; the official gazette, Norsk lovtidende; cases (some in English translation).

  • The University of Oslo's Faculty of Law provides English translations of hundreds of Norwegian statutes and regulations.

  • The Supreme Court website provides cases from 2008 onwards and case summaries from 2000 to 2007; some cases are available in English from 2012 onwards.


  • Lagrummet (official Swedish law site): Swedish Code of Statutes (Svensk författningssamling), including legislation as amended and as originally passed; important cases from the Supreme Court and lower courts. 

  • Swedish Parliament website: some translated legislation; preparatory legislative material, in the Documents and Laws database.

  • Notisum's free content includes: legislation; case summaries from the Supreme Court, appeal courts and special courts; cases from the Supreme Administrative Court (as published in its yearbook, Högsta förvaltningsdomstolens årsbok / Regeringsrättens årsbok). Other content is restricted to subscribers.

  • Some translated legislation is available on the websites of the Ministry of Justice (laws on migration and criminal law and the judicial system) and Ministry of Employment.

  • Supreme Court website: key cases from the last five years


  • FINLEX:  has legislation it its original form and as amended; some translated legislation; treaties.


  • Retsinformation (official law site): legislation, including consolidated laws; administrative decisions (afgørelser).

  • LovtidendeDanish legal gazette, which publishes laws and regulations (2008 onwards).

(See Legislation and Law Reports, above, for further details of these free sites.)

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