Judiciary of Norway

The judiciary of Norway is hierarchical with the Supreme Court at the apex. The conciliation boards only hear certain types of civil cases. The district courts are deemed to be the first instance of the Courts of Justice. Jury (high) courts are the second instance, and the Supreme Court is the third instance.

Oslo IMG 3980 Supreme Court
The Supreme Court building in Oslo

Courts

The structure of the courts of justice is hierarchical, with the Supreme Court at the apex. The conciliation boards only hear certain types of civil cases. The district courts are deemed to be the first instance of the Courts of Justice. Jury (high) courts are the second instance and the Supreme Court is the third instance.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is Norway's highest court of justice and the instance of appeal for verdicts handed down by courts of a lower level. The court is situated in Oslo. The decisions made here are final and cannot be appealed or complained against. The only exception is for cases that can be brought before the Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg. The King of Norway has sole authority to appoint judges to the country’s Supreme Court and other senior courts. He does so on the advice of the country's Judicial Appointments Board, a body whose members are also appointed by the King.[1]

Interlocutory Appeals Committee

Three of the Supreme Court judges form the Interlocutory Appeals Committee. This committee has to agree that a case is to be brought before the Supreme Court.

Courts of appeal

The country is divided into six appellate districts. Each court of appeal (Norwegian: lagmannsrett) is headed by a senior judge president and each court of appeal has several appellate judges. The courts are:

District courts

Hamar tinghus 0
A district court building in Hamar

The district courts (Norwegian: tingrett) are the first instance of the courts of justice. There are 60 district courts.

Conciliation boards

A conciliation board is allocated to each municipality. Each conciliation board consists of three lay members and an equal number of deputies elected or appointed by the municipal council for terms of four years. Conciliation boards mediate between disputing parties and are generally authorised to pronounce a verdict. Conciliation boards resolve the majority of civil disputes, but they do not hear criminal cases and participation in their hearings is voluntary.

Special courts

There are special courts that hear or process issues not covered by the District Courts:

  • The Industrial Disputes Tribunal: This court deals with cases pertaining to labour legislation, for example wage disputes.
  • The Land consolidation courts: Their main task is to find acceptable solutions for ownership disputes and issues concerning correct land usage.

Law

The king has the right in the Council of State to pardon criminals after sentence has been passed. This right is seldom used and always by the elected government in the name of the King.

Administration

The Ministry of Justice and Public Security is the government ministry in charge of justice, police and domestic intelligence.

The National Courts Administration is the government agency responsible for the management and operations of the courts. It is purely an administrative organisation, and does not interfere with the judicial processes nor the appointment of judges or other judicial positions in the court system.

Norwegian prisons are humane rather than tough with emphasis on rehabilitation. At 20% Norway's reconviction rate is among the lowest in the world.[2]

Officers

Judges

The Judicial Appointments Board nominates judges for appointment, who are officially appointed by the Council of State.

Lay judges

In the district courts of Norway, lay judges sit alongside professional judges in mixed courts in most cases.[3] In most cases, two lay judges sit alongside one professional judge. The court leader may decree that a case have three lay judges sit alongside two professional judges if the workload on that case is high or if there are other compelling reasons.[4] Decisions are made by simple majority.[3]

In the courts of appeal, criminal cases where the maximum penalty is less than six years are tried by a panel consisting of three professional judges and four lay judges.[5]

Lay judges are not considered to be representative of the population.[3] About 75% of lay judges are nominated by the political parties in Norway.[3]

Jurors

Juries were used from 1887 to 2019.[6][7]

In the Court of Appeals (Lagmannsrett), ten jurors determined the issue of guilt where a penalty of six years or more could be imposed.[6] In complicated and lengthy cases, the number of jurors could be increased to eleven or twelve in case a juror is unable complete the trial. If there were more than ten jurors after the closing arguments, the number was reduced to ten by dismissing jurors by lot.[8] The jury verdict was not final, and the three professional judges could set aside both convictions and acquittals for a retrial in a court of appeal. Retrials would have three professional judges and four lay judges instead of a jury.[9]

Jurors were selected from the lay judge roster for that court of appeal. The municipalities were responsible for assigning people to the roster.[10]

The last case tried before a jury in Norway was the case against Eirik Jensen. The decision of the jury was set aside by the three judges. [11]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The World's Least Political Courts Jacobite
  2. ^ Anders Breivik: Just how cushy are Norwegian prisons? BBC
  3. ^ a b c d Malsch 2009, p. 47.
  4. ^ "Lov om rettergangsmåten i straffesaker (Straffeprosessloven). Femte del. Saksbehandlingens enkelte ledd" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 1 August 2014. §276
  5. ^ "Meddomsrett" (in Norwegian). domstol.no. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  6. ^ a b Malsch 2009, pp. 47–48.
  7. ^ "Ikraftsetting av lov 16. juni 2017 nr. 58 om endringer i straffeprosessloven mv. (oppheving av juryordningen) med overgangsbestemmelser" (in Norwegian). Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Lov om rettergangsmåten i straffesaker (Straffeprosessloven)" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  9. ^ "8.12.5 Tilsidesettelse av juryens kjennelse" (in Norwegian). Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Domstolene i samfunnet" (in Norwegian). Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Accused cop faces a brand new trial". News in English. Retrieved 29 January 2019.

References

External links

Impeachment in Norway

In Norway, impeachment, also known as the Constitutional Court of the Realm (Norwegian: Riksrett), is a judicial process with the power to convict Members of Parliament, Members of the Council of State, and Supreme Court Justices for criminal acts performed in line of duty. Impeachment is based on the Constitution of Norway §§ 86 and 87. Parliament authorizes the impeachment process, which establishes a tribunal consisting of five members of the Supreme Court and six lay members appointed by the Parliament of Norway. Impeachment has been used eight times, the last case being held in 1927.

Law of Norway

The law of Norway can be regarded as a hierarchy of norms. The highest level is the same Constitution of 17 May 1814. Statutes made under the Constitution are subordinate to it. Regulations made under such a statute are subordinate to such law.

The first state-issued national Law-Code for Norway was Magnus Lagabøtes landslov (or the 'Code of the Norwegian Realm'), issued in 1274 by Magnus VI of Norway. It was followed in 1276 by the Magnus Lagabøtes bylov, issued by the same king.(1683(827egv)

Ministry of Justice and Public Security

The Royal Ministry of Justice and Public Security (Norwegian: Det kongelige justis- og beredskapsdepartement) is a Norwegian government ministry that oversees justice, the police, and domestic intelligence. The main purpose of the ministry is to provide for the maintenance and development of the basic rule of law. An overriding objective is to ensure the security of society and of individual citizens. The ministry was founded in 1818 and currently employs about 400 people in the central government department. Its subordinate agencies include the Norwegian Police Service, the Norwegian Correctional Service, the Norwegian Police Security Service, the Norwegian Prosecuting Authority, the Judiciary of Norway, and the Directorate of Immigration, and employ around 30,000 people. The Ministry of Justice of Norway oversees the administration of justice in Svalbard.

Norwegian National Courts Administration

Norwegian National Courts Administration (Norwegian: Domstoladministrasjonen) is a Norwegian government agency responsible for the management and operations of the Courts of Justice of Norway. It is purely an administrative organisation, and does not interfere with the judicial processes nor the appointment of judges or other judicial positions in the court system. The agency is based in Trondheim and was created on November 1, 2002 when the responsibilities were transferred from the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police.

Appointment of judges is nominated by the Judicial Appointments Board, and officially appointed by the Norwegian Council of State.

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