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Karl Dahlstrand

Karl Dahlstrand

Senior lecturer

Karl Dahlstrand

How to compensate the irreplaceable? A socio-legal research project within victimology about the relation between formal and informal norms


  • Karl Dahlstrand


  • Håkan Hydén

Summary, in English

As an ambition to stress the construction of an external and an internal dimension within law I have chosen to study the non-pecuniary damages to victims of crime. The foundation for these damages came from the deep structure of law about the idea that the right to integrity of the human body and soul are one of the corner- stones in the state governed by law. But when it comes to estimating the amount, such that it gives the violated victim satisfaction and eventuality a preventive role, the application of the law becomes dependent on the knowledge about the external and the social norms that the law operates within. Compared with pecuniary or physical damages there are no formal norms from which we can appreciate that kind of damages we called non-pecuniary. This problem would maybe not become a big deal if the matter was not that the loss here is of a normative art and about “ought” related to human rights and the fact that individuals are carriers of these values. If the legal field stresses the closeness of the legal system that gives to a limited space for the possibility of discretion and reason and that undermines both the legitimacy of the law and the right to integrity. But if the external view and the possibility to interpret and create the content of the general sense of justice becomes to wide within the application of the law that will undermine and stress the professionalism of the legal profession but also central goals like predictable decisions. So the challenge is to find the balance that corresponds to the social norms within society and to generate knowledge about how people react upon the practise when it comes to the amount of damages. Therefore the topic is an example of how empirical facts about the social and political contexts become an important variable within the internal application of the law and how this creates an arena for socio-legal research and in a wider sense a debate about the role of legal decisions within a landscape of existential words like violations, satisfaction or human dignity. My method is both quantitative and qualitative and the aim is to provide both empirical knowledge about the general sense of the compensation to victims of crimes and an understanding of the impression in everyday life especially for victims of crimes through focusgroups.


  • Department of Sociology of Law

Publishing year







Norms between law and society. Lund studies in sociology of law, nr 37.

Document type

Book chapter


Lunds universitet, Rättssociologiska enheten


  • Law and Society


  • rättsteori
  • viktimologi
  • rättssociologi
  • skadestånd
  • ersättning
  • brottsoffer
  • kränkning
  • sociologi
  • juridik




  • Normforskningsprojektet, Sociology of Law, Lund University

Research group

  • Normvetenskap


  • ISBN: 91-7267-330-3