The ordinary courts of Norway

This page gives an overview for the norwegian court system.
To the left, you will find more information about the different courts instances etc.

The main courts of justice in Norway are: The Supreme Court, The Courts of Appeal, and the District Courts. All of these can rule on both civil and criminal cases. In addition there are certain courts of law restricted to limited areas of competence. Examples of so called special courts are the Land Consolidation courts (land disputes) and the Industrial Tribunal in Oslo.

The court system in a democratic society

The function of the Courts of Justice is to settle civil disputes brought to court and to be responsible for a society's right to respond to and punish whoever breaks Norwegian Law. The Courts of Justice have a vital role in maintaining law and order in a state based on democratic principles. The principle of the sovereignty of the people: the idea that the power resides with the people, is the basis of our constitution, with the National Assembly (the Storting) as the state's highest elected body.

Three instances

The Supreme Court

This is the highest court in Norway. The decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

The Courts of Appeal
This is the second instance and there are six Courts of Appeal in Norway, each covers a geographical area called a circuit. The Courts of Appeal adjudicate appeals against decisions from the District Courts in their circuits.

The District Courts
This is the first instance.

The country is divided into judicial districts, with one District Court in each. They consist of one or more municipalities. In Oslo there are two courts of first instance. Oslo District Court (Oslo tingrett) handles criminal and civil cases. Oslo City Registrar (Oslo byfogdembete) handles inter alia enforcement cases, bankruptcy, probate, marriages and the issue of official certification.