Counsel for the injured party
Counsel for the injured party are there to protect the rights of the victims and next of kin in a criminal case. This applies during the investigation stage and during court hearings. This page provides details of the counsel for the injured party scheme.
Who is entitled to counsel for the injured party?
The victims of a criminal act (the victims) and next of kin of a deceased victim can be entitled to counsel for the injured party. For example: the victims in cases on certain types of sexual assault are entitled. Next of kin in cases in which a person under the age of 18 is dead as a result of a criminal act have the same entitlement. The court can also appoint counsel for the injured party in other instances, when special circumstances apply.
The role of the counsel for the injured party
The counsel for the injured party protects the interests of the victim and deceased's next of kin during the investigation and court case. During the court case, they can put questions to the accused, witnesses and experts on behalf of the victims and next of kin. The same applies regardless of whether a claim for compensation has been made in the case.
In cases when the victims and next of kin of a deceased victim are entitled to the services of a counsel for the injured party, a claim for compensation will be submitted by the counsel. Having counsel for the injured party is not a criterion for being able to claim compensation. The difference is simply that in other cases, the victim and next of kin will have to direct a claim for compensation to the prosecuting authority that will then decide whether the claim should be pursued.
The rules governing such civil claims in a criminal case are described in chapter 29 of the Criminal Procedure Act (lovdata.no).
What happens in the court case?
In instances when a victim and next of kin are entitled to counsel for the injured party, victims will give evidence before the accused during the main hearing. The court can decide that the next of kin of a deceased victim can give their evidence before the accused Victims and next of kin with counsel for the injured party have the right to comment on evidence given during the hearing and to make a final comment. This should be done in consultation with the counsel for the injured party.