Tingsrätt (Swedish), käräjäoikeus (Finnish) or tingrett (Norwegian) is a term used for district courts in Sweden, Finland and Norway. In all three countries, the tingsrätt is the first instance court for both criminal and civil cases.
While relatively recent creations in their current form, the term tingsrätt refers to the ting ("thing"), the ancient term for governing assemblies in these and other Nordic and Germanic countries, where disputes would be brought up to be settled. The specific term tingsrätt was used for courts already in 17th century Sweden, but was later discontinued.
In 1971, the tingsrätt became the district courts of Sweden, replacing the previous distinction between rådhusrätt in larger cities and häradsrätt for other parts of the country. Later reforms have substantially reduced the number of these courts from around 100 to currently (2014) 48.
Private cases against decisions by the public authorities are generally handled by the tingsrätt or the förvaltningsrätt (administrative court), depending on the authority in question.
- See also Judicial system of Finland
Tingsrätt has been the Swedish-language term for district courts in Finland since December 1, 1993. The corresponding Finnish language term is Käräjäoikeus.
The term tingrett was introduced in 2002, and replaced the previous terms byrett and herredsrett as designations for district courts.