20. og 21. mars 2018 kl. 09.00, 22. mars 2018 kl. 09.00 - kl. 11.45, Høyesteretts Annen avdeling

Sak nr. 2017/1119, sivil sak, anke over kjennelse : Assuranceforeningen Gard - gjensidige mot A Line Corporation Trust Company Complex og Marship MPP GmbH. Co. KG. Sak nr. 2017/1124, sivil sak, anke over kjennelse: Stolt Commitment B. V. og Stolt Tanker B. V. mot A Line Corporation og Marship MPP...

Case list

Plenary session judgment

The scope of the collective rights of use held by the inhabitants on the Finnmark Estate Agency's land in Nesseby, Finnmark. Judgment of 9 March 2018. 

The case concerns clarification of the rights of use of the Sami and other inhabitants to land owned by the Finnmark Estate Agency (FeFo), pursuant to the special procedural rules in the Finnmark Act chapter 5. The Supreme Court heard the case in plenary, and judgment was given with no dissenting opinions. 

Finnmarkseiendommen - domsavsigelse i plenum 93.2018

Judgment of 9 March 2018  Photo:Sturlason

On 13 February 2013, the Finnmark Commission issued its report on the rights to the land in the municipality of Nesseby. The Commission concluded that the inhabitants have original rights to various forms of land use, acquired irrespective of the Finnmark Act. At the same time, the Commission concluded that reindeer herders of Reindeer grazing district 6/5D have a general right of use. 

A substantial part of Nesseby is inhabited by Sea Sami. Nesseby regional society brought an action before the Finnmark Land Tribunal representing the inhabitants, claiming that the established rights to use the land resources also involve rights of management, including management of the hunting, trapping and fishing activities within this part of the municipality. It was held that FeFo, within the disputed area, was not to manage the land resources pursuant to the general provisions of the Finnmark Act. 

On 23 January 2017, Finnmark Land Tribunal gave judgment largely in favour of Nesseby regional society. FeFo appealed the judgment to the Supreme Court. The reindeer herders, represented by Reindeer grazing district 6/5D, have supported FeFo both before Finnmark Land Tribunal and before the Supreme Court expressing a wish that FeFo continue to manage the land resources. Before the Supreme Court, another regional society, Meskelv, also declared support for FeFo. 

The Supreme Court found in favour of FeFo. 

The Supreme Court noted that the inhabitants' rights of use are independent and original and therefore protected, which means that FeFo must prioritise the inhabitants when resources are scarce. However, the Supreme Court found that the inhabitants have not historically exercised their rights of use in a way that they have acquired rights of management. Here, the Supreme Court considered the actual use of the inhabitants against the previous acts taken by the state on the basis of perceived ownership. The Supreme Court also mentioned that the reindeer herders and the rest of the population living outside the disputed area have made, and are still making, substantial use the natural resources in the area. 

The Supreme Court examined rules under international law on the protection of indigenous peoples, in particular the ILO Convention no. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, concluding that the inhabitants' rights as described in the judgment have been recognised and protected in accordance with international law. 

During the hearings, FeFo acknowledged that the inhabitants' rights of use will limit and regulate FeFo's property rights in Nesseby, meaning among other things that FeFo cannot receive payment from the inhabitants' use beyond what is necessary to cover the management costs. The Supreme Court supported this approach, but pointed out that the further balancing between FeFo's management and the inhabitants' established rights of use was not an issue in this case.  

The Supreme Court in 2017

In 2017, the Supreme Court received 2141 appeals, of which 800 were appeals against judgments.
Annual Report 2017

Full-text rulings in English

The Supreme Court now has its own legal translator, which allows us to provide a larger number of translated full-text rulings. These rulings are selected based on what we believe may be of interest outside Norway.

Under Summaries you will find a summary of all rulings.
Translated rulings

Chief Justice Toril Marie Øie

Chief Justice Toril Marie Øie of the Supreme Court of Norway was appointed in March 2016. She is the 20th Chief Justice in the 200-year history of the Supreme Court. 
Toril Marie Øie is the first woman to hold this office.
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The Supreme Court

The main function of the Supreme Court is to ensure clarity and development of the law.

The Supreme Court has general jurisdiction and hears all types of cases, civil as well as criminal, and cases pertaining to administrative law and constitutional law.

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