The Leaking Law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This chapter starts with the question of how damages for violation through crime are determined by law. Compensation for criminal injuries is the predominant type of nonpecuniary damages in Swedish tort law. Yet, a fundamental uncertainty exists regarding computation of damages and the legal meaning of ‘violation’. The general consensus in the legal profession is that norms for computation of damages for compensation of violation are lacking and that the violation and the financial compensation are incommensurable. The analysis and results of my empirical study show several central dichotomies between formal and informal norms and between the internal and external view of law. But this is not simply meant as a critique to show a ‘gap problem’ or a disconnect between ‘law in books and law in action’. Rather, I want to illustrate that what can be described as ‘leaking law’ is a central dimension of a normative system that deals with values, language and the application of general rules through interpretation in a certain context. Accordingly, the question here is how the law leaks rather than whether it does and, further, if in the eyes of legislators estimating such compensation should leak. These aspects raise questions regarding the law’s limits or boundaries and inflow to the legal system. My theoretical approach is inspired by analytical jurisprudence and analytical philosophy expressed by questions like ‘what is the law?’ and ‘what is the relationship between law and its context?’. And finally, I will detail later in this chapter with what is meant by ‘leaking’ and why it is relevant to compensation for violation of personal integrity.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw, Legal Culture and Society
Subtitle of host publicationMirrored Identities of the Legal Order
EditorsAlberto Febbrajo
Place of PublicationAbingdon & New York
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781138488366
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 12
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameStudies in the Sociology of Law

Related research output

Karl Dahlstrand, 2014, (Submitted) p. 1-9. 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding

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Related projects

Måns Svensson & Karl Dahlstrand

Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority (Brottsoffermyndigheten)


Project: Research

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