Judiciary of Norway
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. The structure of the courts of justice is hierarchical and hierarchic 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.
The structure of the courts of justice is hierarchical and hierarchic 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.
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.
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:
- Borgarting Court of Appeal in Oslo
- Eidsivating Court of Appeal in Hamar
- Agder Court of Appeal in Skien
- Gulating Court of Appeal in Bergen
- Frostating Court of Appeal in Trondheim
- Hålogaland Court of Appeal in Tromsø
The district courts (Norwegian: tingrett) are the first instance of the courts of justice. There are 83 district courts.
A conciliation board is allocated to each municipality. Each conciliation board consists of three laymen and an equal number of deputies elected or appointed by the municipality council for terms of four years. Conciliation boards are to mediate between disputing parties and are widely authorised to pronounce a verdict. The majority of civil disputes are resolved by the conciliation boards. Conciliation boards do not hear criminal cases, and the participation in their hearings are voluntary.
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.
In the district courts of Norway, lay judges sit alongside professional judges in mixed courts in most cases. In most cases, 2 lay judges sit alongside 1 professional judge, whereas for serious cases (where a penalty of more than 6 years may be imposed) 3 lay judges sit alongside 2 professional judges. Decisions are made by simple majority.
In the district courts of Norway, 10 jurors sit alongside 3 professional judges where a penalty of more than 6 years may be imposed. In complicated cases, the number of jurors may be increased to 11 or 12. The 3 professional judges may remove the case to a mixed court if they believe the evidence for the defendants guilt is insufficient.
- Malsch, Marijke (2009). Democracy in the Courts: Lay Participation in European Criminal Justice Systems. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-7405-4.
- Official website (English)