28 December 2018
(6 June 2006)


Siv Westerberg - an introduction


Siv Westerberg holds a degree in law (jur.kand.) and one in medicine (med.lic), and is in practice as a lawyer in Göteborg (Gothenburg) in Sweden.

Before qualifying in law she worked as a medical doctor. She was active among other things in helping industrial workers who were ill or had sustained work-related injury, have their rights accepted by the social security agency. This irritated Swedish authorities to such a degree that they took her to court. In the courtcase they tried to get former patients to witness, but although she had been in practice for 20 years and had had about 100,000 patient appointments during that time, the authorities could not get anybody to witness against her. Still they managed to take her medical licence away. They also tried the same against Siv Westerberg's husband but did not succeed in this.

Instead of letting it break her, Mrs Westerberg took a law degree in just a year and a half, and has continued her efforts in questions of social concern through working for clients who are badly treated by the authorities. She has worked in her private practice as a lawyer, or jurist (i.e in international terms she is a lawyer but in Sweden the title "advokat" is only held by members of the advocates' association, which Siv Westerberg wants to be independent of). Her special fields of work are medical law and cases involving the social authorities' taking of children into compulsory care away from their families – child protection cases.

Siv Westerberg has brought a series of cases – most of them child protection cases or child protection related cases – to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. So far she has succeded in having 9 cases accepted and has won 7 of them.

In 1996 she took part in the establishment of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights (NKMR / NCHR), an organisation concentrating its work around fighting against the child protection authorities and the harmful treatment in the courts of children and their families in the Nordic countries. Siv Westerberg has contributed extremely importantly in the form of lectures, articles, and work on the board of the committee. She has also lectured about child protection and related topics in different fora in Sweden, Norway, Germany and England.