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Legal and public documents can be laws, Swedish government official reports and government bills but also parliamentary bills, minutes or decisions from various departments.

The following are instructions for how to cite Swedish legal and public documents. For instructions on how to cite legal and public documents from other countries, we suggest finding a citation guide from the country in question since these documents differs a lot between countries. You can also choose to follow the instructions below as far as possible. The most important thing is to be consistent in how you format the references.

These are some Swedish abbreviations used when citing legal and public documents:

Skr. = Official communications
Bet. = Report
Dir. = Committee terms of reference
Ds = Ministry publication series
Prop. = Government bills
SFS = Swedish code of statutes
SOU = Swedish government official reports

Laws, bills and reports

In-text citation


(SFS/Prop./SOU Year:reference number)


When you cite a law you should write the name of the law in your text:

According to the Work Environment Act (SFS 1977:1160) it's...

If you want to cite a specific section of a law, you write the number of the section and paragraph in your text:

According to sect. 4 § 1 in the Work Environment Act (SFS 1977:1160)...


Reference list entry


SFS/Prop./SOU Year:reference number Title. Place of publication: Publisher. URL [Accessed: date].

Prop. 2010/11:155 En ny lag om elcertifikat. Stockholm: Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.

SFS 1977:1160 Work Environment Act (Arbetsmiljölagen). Stockholm: Ministry of Employment.

SOU 2008:104 Självständiga lärosäten: Betänkande av autonomiutredningen. Stockholm: Ministry of Education and Research. [Accessed: 2023-07-24].

Other documents from the government or the Riksdag

In-text citation


(Department, Year)

Parenthetical citations
... (Ministry of Justice, 2019).
... (Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, 2021).

Narrative citations (when the author is mentioned in the text)
According to the Ministry of Justice (2019) it's...
The Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation (2021) claims...


Reference list entry


Department (Year). TitlePlace of publication: Publisher. URL [Accessed: date].

Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation (2021). Verksamhetsberättelse för bolag med statligt ägande 2020. Stockholm: Regeringskansliet. [Accessed: 2021-07-20].

Ministry of Justice (2019). Uppdrag till Polismyndigheten att förstärka bekämpningen av illegal handel med narkotika. Stockholm: Regeringskansliet. [Accessed: 2020-09-30].



  • The date of retrieval should be stated for all electronic sources, in addition to the year of publication. This is written as shown above, in square brackets with the word "Accessed:". The reason for this is that electronic sources may theoretically get edited and the information in them can then change. For this reason it is important to indicate at what time you studied an electronic source.