Comparative law and justice/Norway

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Basic Information[edit | edit source]

"Population 4,676,305 (July 2010 est.)

Age structure 0-14 years: 18.5% (male 441,508/female 422,050) 15-64 years: 66.2% (male 1,564,482/female 1,522,519) 65 years and over: 15.2% (male 305,120/female 404,860) (2010 est.)

Median age total: 39.7 years male: 38.8 years female: 40.5 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate 0.334% (2010 est.)

Birth rate 10.9 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)

Death rate 9.26 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)

Net migration rate 1.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)

Urbanization urban population: 77% of total population (2008) rate of urbanization: 0.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio at birth: 1.054 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate total: 3.55 deaths/1,000 live births male: 3.88 deaths/1,000 live births female: 3.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth total population: 80.08 years male: 77.42 years female: 82.89 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate 1.77 children born/woman (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.1% (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 3,000 (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths fewer than 100 (2003 est.)

Nationality noun: Norwegian(s) adjective: Norwegian

Ethnic groups Norwegian 94.4% (includes Sami, about 60,000), other European 3.6%, other 2% (2007 estimate)

Religions Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1% (2004)

Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 100% male: 100% female: 100%

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) total: 17 years male: 17 years female: 18 years (2008)

Education expenditures 6.7% of GDP (2007)"Norway Demographics Profile 2011." Index Mundi - Country Facts. Web. 02 May 2011. <>.[1]

Area: 385,252 square km, 148,746 square miles. Capital City: Oslo" "The climate is changeable throughout the year. Rainfall usually falls as snow in winter. Inland areas have colder winters than the Atlantic coast but summers are warmer and drier. The interior highlands and Spitzbergen archipelago have an Arctic type climate, winters bring snow, severe frost and strong winds although summers have fine spells with fairly high temperatures and long sunshine hours.Norway has for a long time been a popular location for the industry because of its extraordinary geography; the fjords, the steep mountains, the glaciers and year-round snow. The Nordic light is not only a photographer's dream, its duration may also be a blessing for the director. Modern infrastructure makes easy travel to and within Norway. Available are professionals trained in all aspects of film production and access to technical resources that meet the standards of the international film industry. Together with extensive experience with international productions and few restrictions on filming and film-related work permits Norway makes your choice easy. Situated in the capital of western Norway the Norwegian Film Commission offers assistance in setting up productions for visiting television and film crews. They provide production facilities, pre location scouting and other services in accordance with the film industry's needs.""Country Demographics for Norway('NO')." Kemps Film and Television - A Comprehensive Production Guide to Film, Television and Commercial Production Industries. Web. 02 May 2011. <>. "Norway Demographics Profile 2011." Index Mundi - Country Facts. Web. 02 May 2011. <>. [2]

"Over 99% of the 4.3m population of Norway speak the official language, Norwegian. Norwegian has 2 written forms, "Bokmal" (Book Norwegian) and "Nynorsk" (New Norwegian) and they enjoy the same legal recognition, although "Bokmal" is increasingly more common. Minority languages include Finnish, spoken by 0.2% of the population, mainly in the northern region of Finnmark, as well as "Sami", a language closely related to Finnish, spoken by 0.9% of the Norwegian population." [3]

"Ethnically, Norwegians are predominantly Germanic, although in the far north there are communities of Sami who came to the area more than 10,000 years ago, probably from central Asia. In recent years, Norway has become home to increasing numbers of immigrants, foreign workers, and asylum-seekers from various parts of the world. Immigrants now total nearly 300,000; some have obtained Norwegian citizenship." [4]

"The history of Norway before the age of the Vikings is indistinct from that of the rest of Scandinavia. In the 9th cent. the country was still divided among the numerous petty kings of the fylker. Harold I, of the Yngling or Scilfing dynasty (which claimed descent from one of the old Norse gods), defeated the petty kings (c.900) and conquered the Shetlands and the Orkneys, but failed to establish permanent unity. Harold's campaigns drove many nobles and their followers to settle in Iceland and France. In the next two centuries Norsemen raided widely in W Europe and established the Norse duchy of Normandy. Harold himself concentrated on developing a dynasty; before he died (c.935) the country was divided among his sons, but one of them, Haakon I, defeated (c.935) his brothers and temporarily reunited the kingdom.Christianity, brought by English missionaries, gained a foothold under Olaf I and was established by Olaf II (reigned 1015–28). Olaf II was driven out of Norway by King Canute of England and Denmark, in league with discontented Norwegian nobles; however, his son, Magnus I, was restored (1035) to the Norwegian throne. Both Magnus and his successor, Harold III, played a vital part in the complex events then taking place in England and Denmark. After Harold died while invading England (1066), Norway entered a period of decline and civil war, precipitated by conflicting claims to the throne.Among the major events of 12th-century Norwegian history were the mission of Nicholas Breakspear (later Pope Adrian IV), who organized the Norwegian hierarchy, and the rule of Sverre, who created a new nobility grounded in commerce and, with the help of the popular party, the Birkebeiner, consolidated the royal power. His grandson, Haakon IV, was put on the throne by the Birkebeiner in 1217; under him and under Magnus VI (reigned 1263–80) medieval Norway reached its greatest flowering and enjoyed peace and prosperity. During this time Iceland and Greenland recognized Norwegian rule." [5]

Brief History[edit | edit source]

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit | edit source]

Governance[edit | edit source]

Norway is a constitutional monarchy, which means they have a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state under a written, unwritten or mixed constitution. They have a constitution that was written in 1814. There is an exectutive branch run by the Cheif of State, a legislative branch, run by a modified unicameral Parliament, and a judicial branch run by the Supreme Court.[6]

"In the same way UK citizens are entitled to vote for MPs, so too are they entitled to vote for MEPs (Members of the European Parliament). The European Parliament is part of the EU (European Union) and it meets in Brussels. It consists of MEPs from the 15 ‘Member States’ of the EU: Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Holland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Greece and the UK. The UK joined the EU in 1973 and since then European law has played an increasing source of laws in our country. An important example of a European law which has affected the UK is the right to equal treatment for men and women at work. This ensures that they are paid the same for the same type of work, they retire at the same age and more recently, that men are entitled to paid time off work when their babies are born, in the same way that women have been for some time." [7]

The order of succession is family oriented, so that only a child that has been produced by a King or Queen can take power. The only exception is if another family member in the line is entitled to taking power they are eligible to do so, and elder will take precedent over the younger. An unborn child is also entitled to the succession, and is added to the line as soon as they are born.[8]

You must be 18 years of age or older to vote. The 1814 constitution gave the King in Norway special executive powers, but they are also often practiced by the King's council as well. The Council of Ministers consists of a prime minister--elected by the political parties represented in the Storting--and other ministers.The 169 members of the Storting are elected from the 19 counties, which make up norway for 4-year terms according to the electoral system in Norway. The special High Court of the Realm hears impeachment cases; the regular courts include the Supreme Court (18 permanent judges and a president), courts of appeal, city and county courts, the labor court, and conciliation councils. Regular judges are appointed by the King of council, whom is selected by the Justice Administration .Each county is headed by a leader (governer) appointed by the king in council, with one governor exercising authority in both Oslo and the nearby county of Akershus.[9]

Parliamentary elections in Norway consists of elections through 19 seperate counties, which make up Norway. The number of members returned to the Storting is 169. The number of members to be returned from each constituency depends on the the size of the county, and the amount of people that populate that one county. Each voter counts one point, while each square kilometer counts 1.8 points. Of the 169 members returned, 150 are elected as constituency representatives while 19, one seat from each county, are elected as members with power. In the case of local government elections, members are returned to municipal councils and county councils. Each municipal authority area and each county represents one electoral division. The municipal/county council itself lays down the number of members within statutory minimum requirements in relation to the population of the municipal authority area/county. These rules have been incorporated into the Local Government Act. Every electoral term in Norway lasts for four years.. Elections to municipal and county councils are conducted at the same time and are conducted half way through the term of the Storting. Election Day is fixed by the King to a Monday in September, usually in one of the first couple of weeks of the month. Norway does hav judicial review in their court system.[10]

Courts and Criminal Law[edit | edit source]

"The Supreme Court is Norway's most superior court. The Supreme Court has general jurisdiction and hears issues of both civil law, criminal law, administrative law and constitutional law Based on Article 88 of the Norwegian Constitution the Supreme Court pronounces judgement in the final instance. Any matter brought before the Supreme Court must initially be considered by the Appeals Selection Committee. The court consists of 18 judges lead by the chief justice.The Court of Appeal is the appellate court for decisions made by the district courts in criminal and civil cases. The court is composed of 17 judges. In each case three judges will serve. The district court is the first instance court for matters relating to criminal and civil cases. The special High Court of the Realm hears impeachment cases."[11]

"In both district courts and courts of appeal it is the judges who determine questions of guilt and punishment. Judges can be professional judges, co-judges, or lay judges.Professional judges are lawyers. Co-judges and lay judges are ordinary people who are appointed to the position. In serious cases a court of appeal will sit with a jury of 10 civilian members. This jury consists of five women and five men. The jury decides whether the defendant is guilty or not. It is an important principle in the Norwegian legal system that questions of guilt must be determined by a defendant’s peers."[12]

"All judges are appointed by the King in Council upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice. To be appointed, judges must be Norwegian citizens, financially solvent, and have achieved high university grades when studying for their law degree. Jurists from all professional backgrounds can be appointed as judges. There is no formal system of promotion through the court hierarchy. Deputy judges tend to be relatively young and often have just graduated law school. Lay judges can participate in the hearing of cases. Usually one professional judge and two lay judges hear criminal cases at the District and City Courts."[13]

Punishment[edit | edit source]

Punishment consists of either: a fine, waiver of prosecution, suspended prison sentense, immediate prison sentense, or community service. Corporal punsihment has been abolished in Norway. Norway is opposed to capital punishment. "October 10 was The World Day against the Death Penalty, and Norway was among the countries to use the day to convince others to abandon capital punishment. "The campaign against the death penalty is working," said Norwegian State Secretary Vidar Helgesen".[14]

"The number of people held in custody is about 3,500, and there were 12,774 receptions in 2007. The imprisonment rate is 75 per 100,000. Most prison sentences are short, the average length being 100 days and three out of ten being under one month. Five per cent of sentences are over three years and while there are no life sentences, preventive detention has operated since 2002."[15]

"Living conditions for inmates in Norwegian prisons are far worse than for the population at large. The majority of inmates are men aged 25–44 (65 per cent). They report difficult and complex living conditions. Many were unemployed and without permanent accommodation before imprisonment. Only half have completed education beyond lower secondary school and 25 per cent often have problems covering current expenses. Almost one third of the inmates suffer from mental health problems and approximately the same number have not been visited in prison in the last three months."[16]

Legal Personnel[edit | edit source]

Law Enforcement[edit | edit source]

"The main body is The National Police, including six special agencies which render expert assistance to the local police districts, and in some cases act as a prosecution authority.The National Police in Norway is subordinate to the Ministry of Justice and the Police and is completely independent from the military forces. In certain emergency situations, such as rescue operations and natural catastrophes, the police can seek the assistance of the military when there are insufficient civilian resources to cope with the situation. In such cases, the military forces are under the command of the police and must follow the laws which regulate police actions. There are 27 local police districts, each under the command of a Chief of Police who has full responsibility for all policing in his district. Each police district has its own headquarters, as well as several police stations (71 all told.) The Norwegian Police University College is the central educational institution for the police service in Norway. Basic training for police officers is a three-year university college education aimed at providing a broad practical and theoretical foundation. The first and third years of the study programme are taken at the College, while the second is a year of on-the-ground training, in which the students are divided into groups at training units in police districts around the country. The National Police Immigration Service (PU) is the Norwegian police`s expertise centre and ancillary body in immigrant cases. Their main task is to register and identify asylum seekers arriving in Norway. Further, the unit co-ordinates the repatriation of asylum seekers who have had their request for asylum refused. The National Police Immigration Service is also responsible for the transportation of other foreign nationals who are to be removed or deported from Norway." [17]

Norway ranks 8th (out of 156 countries) with an 8.9% of police corruption occuring. [18]

"In Norway today the Military Police are small, but effective units serving at army garrisons, naval bases or Air Forces Bases around the country. Downsizing the Norwegian armed forces is changing the Military Police as well, and there are ongoing efforts to restructure the Military Police's peace support units and combat support units. For the time being the Norwegian Military Police (Army) wartime strength are 3 battalions, 6 independent companies, and 3 independent platoons." [19]

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit | edit source]

Adults prosecuted 12,009 [28th of 28]

   Adults prosecuted (per capita)  2.61463 per 1,000 people  [26th of 33]  

Assaults 14,727 [28th of 49]

   Assaults (per capita)  3.2064 per 1,000 people  [17th of 57]  

Believe in police efficiency 70% [9th of 17] Burglaries 5,297 [40th of 38]

   Burglaries (per capita)  1.15328 per 1,000 people  [37th of 54]  

Car thefts 23,339 [21st of 46]

   Car thefts (per capita)  5.08143 per 1,000 people  [5th of 55]  

Convicted 10,782 [42nd of 34]

   Convicted (per capita)  2.34749 per 1,000 people  [41st of 56]  

Death penalty > Abolition date 1,979 [48th of 64] Death penalty > Abolition for ordinary crimes 1,905 [17th of 20] Death penalty > Last executed 1,948 [29th of 55] Drug offences 987.1 per 100,000 people [1st of 46] Embezzlements 2,425 [17th of 36]

   Embezzlements (per capita)  0.527977 per 1,000 people  [4th of 44]  

Frauds 12,295 [22nd of 48]

   Frauds (per capita)  2.6769 per 1,000 people  [7th of 61]  

Jails 46 [26th of 80]

   Jails (per capita)  0.0100152 per 1,000 people  [12th of 62]  

Manslaughters 41 [25th of 42]

   Manslaughters (per capita)  0.00892663 per 1,000 people  [16th of 43]  

Murders 49 [53rd of 49]

   Murders (per capita)  0.0106684 per 1,000 people  [54th of 62]  

Murders committed by youths 11 [64th of 73] Perception of safety > Burglary 68% [6th of 17] Police 11,134 [35th of 47]

   Police (per capita)  2.42412 per 1,000 people  [27th of 48]  

Prisoners 2,914 prisoners [109th of 168] Prisoners > Female 5.3% [43rd of 134] Prisoners > Foreign prisoners 15% [31st of 86] Prisoners > Per capita 64 per 100,000 people [119th of 164] Prisoners > Pre-trial detainees 22.1% [98th of 143] Prisoners > Share of prison capacity filled 98.3% [95th of 128] Rapes 555 [34th of 50]

   Rapes (per capita)  0.120836 per 1,000 people  [18th of 65]  

Reporting to police 43% [14th of 17] Robberies 1,781 [45th of 47]

   Robberies (per capita)  0.387764 per 1,000 people  [40th of 64]  

Software piracy rate 29% [93rd of 107] Total crimes 330,071 [27th of 50]

   Total crimes (per capita)  71.8639 per 1,000 people  [13th of 60][20]

Rights[edit | edit source]

Family Law[edit | edit source]

"The parliament passed a Registered Partnership Act in 1993 that gave same-sex couples almost all of the rights and obligations of married couples. Not included was the ability to adopt children or to undergo artificial insemination."[21]

Any marriage containing a male or female under the age of 18, must be approved by a parent/guardian. In order for a divorce to be allowed, the male must be 20 years of age or older and the female must be 16 years of age or older. It is also illegal to marry any relative that is in your direct line of blood. In other words a brother and sister are not allowed to be married. After death of a husband, widows must wait 9 years before they are allowed to marry again. This amount of time can be cut down, if the widow can prove to authorities that she is not pregnant. Divorce rights can only be granted either by royal authorities, or by judicial authorities, and there must be a valid and plausible reason for the divorce. [22]

"Inheritance tax is levied on the net amount of the inheritance received by beneficiaries, which is generally calculated at market value. The beneficiaries are liable to pay the inheritance tax.The rates are progressive, depending on the relationship between the deceased and the beneficiary. Inheritances between spouses and cohabitants are not taxable."[23]

"If the deceased was married, the deceased’s share (usually half) of the community property and any separate property of the deceased will constitute the inheritance to be distributed. If the deceased had children, grandchildren or great grandchildren, the spouse will receive a fourth (as of this time, at least NOK 251,000) of this estate. (There is a bit more on minimum inheritance in section 2.) If the closest relatives of the deceased were parents, siblings or their descendants, the spouse will inherit half (or, as of this time, at least NOK 377,000, see the section on testamentary inheritance). Otherwise, the spouse will inherit everything. Most often, the spouse will retain an undivided life estate in marital property, which will normally not be distributed until the surviving spouse dies. This also means that the surviving spouse does not inherit from the deceased spouse. If the deceased had any children from another relationship, such children may elect not to allow the surviving spouse to retain that portion of the deceased’s estate they are to inherit. Such children may, thus, claim their share of the inheritance to be paid from the estate. If the deceased had children, they will usually inherit everything the deceased leaves behind, after the spouse of the deceased, if any, has received his or her distribution. Grandchildren and great grandchildren will inherit, if the children of the deceased are dead or renounce their inheritance. Such grandchildren or great grandchildren will receive that portion of the estate that their parents would have received." [24]

"Norway has a high degree of social and family stability and provides a model for health, child care, and social equality. Children under age 15 receive no punishment for crimes and no special courts have been established to try criminal cases against juvenile offenders. Older teenagers can be tried in ordinary courts, which usually give them only suspended sentences, probation, or several months in an open prison. In practice, the public prosecutor or the judge refers youths to the "barnevern" -- the child protection service. The social workers receive police information to aid in treatment rather than in prosecution. As a result, children have no legal safeguards or due process. They are often sent far away from home to juvenile institutions, often based on minimal evidence. The public is unaware of how individual cases are decided, because the process takes place behind closed doors. Thus, juveniles accused of crimes or behavioral problems receive harsh treatment that contrasts with the strikingly lenient criminal justice system."[25]

Social Inequality[edit | edit source]

Human Rights[edit | edit source]

"The Constitution is the most important law in Norway. It sets out who is to govern the country and how it is to be governed. The Constitution also sets out the fundamental rights of those who live in Norway. In Norway, it is not permitted to discriminate against someone on the grounds of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Women and men are of equal status and must be accorded equal rights in all areas of society. Gender equality means that women and men have the same opportunities, rights and obligations, at home, in the workplace, in politics and elsewhere in society. Everyone in Norway pays tax on what they earn. The people who earn most pay the most in tax, while those who earn least pay the least tax. Tax revenues enable the government to provide us with a variety of welfare services and benefits. For example, the asylum reception centre where you are living, the school that your children go to and the hospital at which you may receive treatment are all paid for out of the taxes everyone in Norway pays. Because taxes pay for public services that benefit everybody, it is important that everyone who earns money contributes their share by paying tax. If you do not pay the tax that you owe, you could be given a fine, be sent to prison or have to pay a punitive tax assessment. In order to get a job in Norway you must either have a Norwegian personal identity number or a Norwegian work permit. You will be given a personal identity number if you are granted a residence permit. You must also obtain a tax card if you undertake paid work in Norway. The card indicates how much tax should be deducted from your wages. You can get a tax card from your local tax office. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to take paid work. After their thirteenth birthday, children may undertake light work, e.g. delivering newspapers. The work must not affect the child's safety, health or development, nor should any job negatively affect his/her schoolwork. Children have clear and important rights. They have the right to food, housing, medical care, clothes and an education. They have the right to think and believe what they want and to get the best help society can give them. Children have the right to be heard in all matters that affect them. The weight given to a child's opinion shall be proportional to his/her age and level of maturity. The Norwegian authorities are responsible for ensuring that the rights of all children in Norway are upheld. The state shall protect all children against all kinds of abuse. Children who are not together with their families have the right to additional protection and help. The state shall help children who are seeking asylum and work to reunite them with their families.[26]

Works Cited[edit | edit source]