Although the Supreme Administrative Court - initially established as Regeringsrätten or "the Royal Supreme Administrative Court" - has only existed as a separate court since 1909, the court has roots in the old Privy Council which, together with the king exercises judicial power prior to 1789.
Here are some of the milestones in the history of the Court.
The former Supreme Administrative Court
The Supreme Administrative Court, which was formally referred to as Regeringsrätten or roughly the "Royal Supreme Administrative Court", is established for the purpose of reducing the workload of the Government and to augment the rule of law for citizens.
The Court consists of seven justices of whom one serves on the Council of Legislation. The jurisdiction of the former Supreme Administrative Court is outlined by a list of cases enumerated on the 1909 Act on the Supreme Administrative Court. The number of justices of the Court has changed throughout the years.
Leave to appeal limits the number of cases
In response to a substantial increase in the number of cases leave to appeal is required in certain tax cases. The Court is forced to adopt to an increase in the number of cases due to significant expansion of the Swedish welfare state and the public sector.
The Court becomes administratively independent
The Court becomes administratively independent from the Government, with its own secretariat and drafting staff. Formerly, cases were prepared by the ministry to which the matter related. In conjunction with the administrative law reform, it became necessary to obtain leave to appeal in most cases brought before the Court.
The Court moves to its own premises in the Stenbock Palace and old Parliament building on Riddarholmen islet.
The Court ceases adjudication in the name of the King
By virtue of the 1974 Instrument of Government, the Court ceases to adjudicate in name of the King and begins to adjudicate in its own name. Accordingly, the former custom of issuing customs and decisions at the Royal Palace of Stockholm and affixing them with a royal seal comes to an end. The new Instrument of Government is intended to modernize the Swedish political order and keeping up with Swedish parliamentarianism.
The institution of judicial review established, according to which the Court examines whether or not a decision by the Government, etc., in certain administrative matters conflicts with any rule of law. This is an important step taken by Sweden in meeting the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the right to judicial review.
Change in requirements regarding the composition of the Court
It is now possible for a justice to act alone in determining issues of leave to appeal. Other requirements relating to the composition of the Court in certain cases are also relaxed. The changes intended to reduce the workload of the Court.
The abolition of the Social Insurance Court of Appeal
The Social Insurance Court of Appeal is abolished and social insurance and welfare benefit cases are transferred to the Supreme Administrative Court.
Sweden becomes a member of the EU and the Court takes on a new role in part as one of the guarantors of correct application of Community law in Sweden. The majority of issues governed on a European level namely fall within the area of administrative law.
Regeringsrätten becomes the Supreme Admnistrative Court
Following a decision by the Parliament the former Royal Supreme Administrative Court or Regeringsrätten changes its name to the Supreme Administrative Court on 1 January 2011.The purpose of the change in name is to reflect to the purpose of the Court's activities as the independent, final instance in administrative cases. In conjunction with the Court's change of name, the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court take on the title of "Justice".
The Court is empowered to determine how many justices are to decide certain cases and matters.
The court moves to new premises on Riddarholmen islet
At the end of 2011/beginning of 2012, the Supreme Administrative Court moves into newly renovated premises on Riddarholmen islet in Stockholm. The premises are situated in the adjoining buildings of the Sparre Palace and the former Administrative Court of Appeal's building, at Birger Jarls torg 13.