Ministerial rule (Swedish: ministerstyre) is the informal term for when a public authority in Sweden -- including the Riksdag, or a decision-making body of a municipality -- tries to influence how an administrative authority (Swedish: förvaltningsmyndighet) decides in a particular case relating to the exercise of public authority vis-à-vis an individual or a local authority, or the application of legislation. This is a violation against the Instrument of Government, the main part of the constitution of Sweden.
Swedish public administration is dualistic, meaning governmental departments are under the direct control of a minister, but the administrative authorities (or government agencies in other words) under these departments are ostensibly autonomous. The agencies work according to laws and rules decided on by the Riksdag, but apply them on their own accord. So while the agencies are formally associated with some department, a minister cannot exert control over these agencies on individual matters, and they do not have the authority to direct daily operations. Ministers are thus expressly prohibited to intervene in matters relating to the application of the law or the due exercise of an agency's authority, quite unlike the situation in many other countries. If the government believes that an agency has not applied the law correctly, its only remedy is to change the relevant legislation.
The reasoning behind this is to prevent government corruption and to ensure that laws and regulations are applied equally. It also incentivises the Government and Riksdag to get rid of hard-to-interpret or problematic laws and regulations. There are rare exceptions to this distinction, such as when a natural disaster or war occurs and there is a need for a shorter chain of command.
Government-owned commercial companies are not formally covered by the rule of Ministerstyre. However, the government still generally instructs them to maintain themselves in a commercial way and turn a profit. This can create conflicts.
The agencies do not have complete freedom to interpret the law and the government has a right to influence the agencies, but only through strictly general policy instruments which are described in the constitution. These instruments are: