Choice of law. Claim for aggravated damages under section 3-5 cf. section 3-3 of the Compensatory Damages Act

Supreme Court judgment 4 May 2021, HR-2021-955-A, (case no. 20-160019SIV-HRET), civil case, appeal against judgment. 
A (Counsel John Christian Elden) v. B (Counsel Marie Nesvik)

Justices: Matningsdal, Falkanger, Ringnes, Arntzen, Bergh

A US woman was raped by a Norwegian citizen on a Bahamas-registered cruise ship sailing in international waters. The assailant was convicted in the District Court and the Court of Appeal of violation of section 292, cf. section 291, cf. section 5 of the Penal Code. The aggrieved person was also awarded aggravated damages of NOK 150 000, cf. section 3 of the Criminal Procedure Act. In the-choice-of-law question in the claim for aggravated damages, the Supreme Court found that the basic rule on the place where the wrong took place could not automatically apply to such claims arising from serious violations of someone's integrity, submitted in connection with criminal proceedings. The choice of law must consequently be made based on the starting point in Norwegian international private law – the Irma Mignon formula. The EU's choice-of-law rules in Rome II could not lead to any other result. The Supreme Court also found that the case was most strongly connected with Norway. It was emphasised that the wrongdoer is a Norwegian citizen, and that the claim for aggravated damages had been decided by a Norwegian court in connection with the criminal proceedings. The connection to The Bahamas was remote, and was only due to the ship being registered in this state. The wrongdoer's appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision of the claim for aggravated damages was dismissed.

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