Right of reservation for a regular general practitioner

Supreme Court judgment 11 October 2018, HR-2018-1958-A (case n0. 2018/199), civil case, appeal against judgment. I. Sauherad municipality (Counsel Frode Lauareid) v. A, Norges Kristelige Legeforening (intervener) (Counsel Håkon H. Bleken), II. A, Norges Kristelige Legeforening (intervener) (Counsel Håkon H. Bleken) v. Sauherad municipality (Counsel Frode Lauareid)

Justices: Møse, Bull, Berglund, Bergsjø, Endresen

A physician was dismissed from her job as a regular general practitioner (RGP) in a municipality because she, for reasons of conscience, refused to insert IUDs. The Supreme Court found that a binding oral agreement had been entered into between the doctor and the municipality under which her right of reservation for reasons of conscience had been recognised. The state of the law with regard to RGPs' right of reservation was unclear when the agreement was entered into, so the oral agreement was not contrary to applicable law at the time of employment. Since the physician was dismissed for breaching her duties under the RGP agreement, the grounds were unreasonable, and the termination was declared unlawful. The Supreme Court also commented on the application of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights to situations where a RGP, for reasons of conscience, refuses to insert IUDs. The municipality was held strictly liable. The Supreme Court pointed out that the dismissal took place in a contractual relationship where the individual party carries the risk of any mistake of law, the physician had lost her job as a RGP, and the notice of termination was worded in a sanction-like manner.

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