Local governance, professionalism and court defiance in Swedish elderly care

The project investigates how municipalities act when courts overturn their decisions about the right of individuals to eldercare services.

  • Period: 2022-01-01 – 2026-12-31
  • Funder: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare


Elderly individuals who are dissatisfied with municipal decisions, such as being denied home care services, have the opportunity to appeal to court. If the court overturns the municipal decision and grants the individual right to eldercare services, the municipality is responsible for promptly implementing the court’s ruling. Previous research, however, has pointed out that political and professional decision makers under certain circumstances may perceive court decisions as unwarranted, suggesting that they occasionally would choose not to implement them.

For Swedish elderly care, this type of court defiance would mean that individuals in some cases do not receive the care they are entitled to. Although the way municipalities handle courts’ ruling is of great importance for the individual elderly, empirical knowledge about how they act when courts overturn their decisions is limited. The project therefore studies to what extent and under what conditions municipalities defy the rulings of courts. Moreover, it focuses on how professional care managers and local politicians perceive their responsibility to enforce court rulings that overturn their initial decision, and whether they find it legitimate for the municipality to sometimes defy court rulings.

Picture of project leader Linda Moberg standing in a park.

Linda Moberg


Email: linda.moberg@uu.se

The project is run in collaboration with Karin Leijon, researcher at the Department of Government, Uppsala University.

Project leader: Linda Moberg
Co-investigators: Karin Leijon