Visit a court
The Court proseedings is normally open for all visitors. If you want to visit a norwegian court you can find contactinformation (in norwegian) here.
Seeing at first hand how a case is conducted can be an important part of learning about the Norwegian legal system. This is a guide to teachers who want to bring a class to a court case.
Who do I contact?
Several courts have a dedicated contact for school visits, but the easiest way to start is to send a mail to the court, stating what you hope to get out of a visit. State how many will attend, which days are best and how long you will be there. You can also call the court's switchboard, who will be able to help you. Link to contact details for all courts
Guided tour or court case?
What is most interesting for students to follow is a criminal case in the criminal division of the District Courts, or a criminal case in the Courts of Appeal. Some of the larger courts can arrange guided tours for schools.
A court case suitable for the class
Teachers should make contact around two months in advance of their visit. This makes it easier for the court to find a suitable case. It is important that you are aware that cases are rarely postponed because of illness or other reasons. Larger courts can have rules for having a case in reserve, or that no decision is made on which case will be observed until just before your visit.
How long does a case take?
It’s not always easy to predict - but the expected duration is often stated, e.g. a full or half day. Court proceedings often start at 9 am. Classes observing a case do not usually follow the full proceedings, but usually leave during a recession (break). If you want to follow a full case, you must inform the court of the time you have available.
To get the most out of your visit, we recommend briefing the students on the division of powers, impartiality of the courts and the roles of the principals in a case. Providing as much information in advance about the court is also an advantage. Here at domstol.no their are lots of facts, quizzes and a glossary your students can use before and after their visit. If you know well in advance which case you want to observe, you can ask for an anonymised indictment to be sent to see what the case is all about. The indictment will also make it easier to follow the actual proceedings. To get the most our of your visit, we also recommend exploring the possible sentence and discuss the case in advance.
Attending the court
Being in place in the courtroom on time is important. Late arrivals cannot always be let in. Arrange a briefing with the court 20-30 minutes before the case is to start. The judge may be able to tell you something of the court's work and what could happen during the case you will observe. This can also give the students a chance to ask questions. Naturally, this will not be possible once the case has started. The judge(s) have to attend a judge’s conference after the case is closed, which means the judge will not be available. It may be possible to put questions to the prosecution or defence once the proceedings have been closed.
Conduct in court
Most court cases are held in public. Respect for all involved and the court is essential. The following rules therefore apply in the courtroom.
All mobile phones must be switched off.
Food and drink are not permitted in the courtroom.
Once the main hearing has started, any form of communication or activity that can cause a disruption is forbidden. If you need to leave the court, you should ideally wait for a recession.
When the judge(s) enter and leave the court, everyone must stand up.
The judge is the supreme head of the court. If he or she forbids whispering in court for example, the instruction must be obeyed.
After the case
You can ask the court to send its judgement after the case in anonymised form.