Friday, January 22, 2016

Norway 2015
Supreme Court Bicentenary

ISSUE DATE: 3 October 2015
PHOTO: © Fotograf Sturlason

The Supreme Court of Norway was officially opened on 30 June 1815, although it was laid out in the Constitution in 1814 that “the Supreme Court will be the final ruling”.

The Supreme Court is a court of appeal and decideson rulings made by a lower court. This applies to both civil and criminal cases, and the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in all areas of law. It is also worth noting that the Supreme Court does not take a position on issues related to guilt in criminal cases.

Before a case is heard by the Supreme Court, it is reviewed by the Appeals Selection Committee. The Committee is a body that reviews which cases are important enough to be heard by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is chaired by a Chief Justice. The first Supreme Court Chief Justice in Norway was appointed in September 1814. Johan Randolf Bull held the position until 1827, at which time Christian Magnus Falsen took over.

The Supreme Court played an important role duringthe German occupation of Norway during World War II. It established the Administrative Council six days after the German attack, and when the Germans were attempting to undermine the Norwegian legal system the Court wrote to Reich Commissioner Josef Terboven pointing out that the Germans were violating public law. When this letter proved to be ineffective, the justices resigned on 21 December 1940. This was a symbolic gesture that was important for the resistance movement in Norway.

The Supreme Court consists today of 20 justices. Individual cases are heard by five justices, and the Court is divided into two divisions that work in parallel. As of 2008 a change was made stating that particularly important cases could be heard by the Grand Chamber, a group of 11 justices of the Supreme Court. It may be decided that extraordinary cases must be heard by the Supreme Court in plenary session.

Stamp images and description thanks to Posten

Norway Post Stamps