Courts of Appeal (Jury Courts)
There are six Courts of Appeal in Norway, each covering a certain geographical area, called a circuit.
Each Court of Appeal is chaired by a president.
The Courts of Appeal adjudicate appeals against decisions from the District Courts in their circuits. They decide both civil and criminal cases.
Six Courts of Appeal
Borgarting Court of Appeal. Sits in Oslo and covers the following counties: Oslo, Buskerud, Østfold and the southern part of Akershus.
Eidsivating Court of Appeal. Sits in Hamar, and covers the following counties: Hedmark, Oppland and the northern part of Akershus.
Agder Court of Appeal. Sits in Skien, and covers the following counties: Vestfold, Telemark, Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder.
Gulating Court of Appeal. Sits in Bergen, and covers the following counties: Hordaland, Sogn and Fjordane and Rogaland.
Frostating Court of Appeal. Sits in Trondheim, and covers the following counties: Møre and Romsdal, Sør-Trøndelag and Nord-Trøndelag.
Hålogaland Court of Appeal. Sits in Tromsø, and covers the following counties: Nordland, Troms and Finnmark.
In the Courts of Appeal the individual case is always heard by a panel of three appellate judges. This Appeal Screening Committee, screens appeals and decides which cases that should proceed. They may refuse an appeal if their view is that the appeal will not be successful, but cases with a sentencing limit that exceeds 6 years imprisonment can not be refused.
In criminal cases the appeal may be against various aspects of the District Court’s decision. If the appeal concerns the question of guilt, the case shall be decided by a jury or a bench consisting of three professional and four lay judges (meddomsrett). The lay judges are laymen selected at random from a panel; there shall always be two women and two men. The professional and lay judges take all decisions collectively, and all votes are equal.
In cases where the sentencing framework is more than six years, the question of guilt shall be decided by a jury (lagrette). The jury consists of ten persons, if feasible five women and five men. Members of the jury for a particular case are drawn from a panel at random, fourteen plus two alternates. Then the accused and the prosecution can, in accordance with specific rules, challenge (exclude) up to two jury members each. If this method of eliminating jury members is not used, lots are drawn to decide who is to sit on the jury.
When the jury has decided on the question of guilt, four of the jury members participate in the sentencing together with the three professional judges.
If the appeal to the Court of Appeal only concerns the sentencing for offences in which the framework is imprisonment for up to six years, the case shall be determined by three professional judges, as a rule after oral proceedings. When hearing appeals against sentencing where the framework is more than six years’ imprisonment, the Court of Appeal is constituted with three professional and four lay judges.
If the appeal concerns application of the law or procedure, the Court of Appeal shall only decide whether the District Court has applied the law correctly or has made procedural errors. In such cases the court is constituted with three professional judges.
A civil case is as a rule heard by three professional judges. In certain types of case there must be lay judges as well. The parties can also demand that two to four lay judges be empanelled.
The Court of Appeal’s decisions – other than decisions on the question of guilt in criminal cases – can be appealed to the Supreme Court.