Norway in Europe

Outline of the Country´s Legal System

According to the work “Guide to Foreign and International Citations”, by the Journal of International Law and Politics (New York University School of Law):

Executive power is vested in the Government. The King is the head of state, although this role is primarily ceremonial. Executive power is almost always exercised by the Council of Ministers in the name of the King (the King’s Council). The King’s Council consists of the Prime Minister and other Ministers (collectively, the Government). The Prime Minister, who heads the Government, is selected by the party or parties that hold a majority of seats in the Parliament (Storting). Parliament may remove the Government by a vote of no-confidence.

Legislative power is vested in Parliament. The 165 Members of Parliament are elected from the counties to four-year terms according to a complex system of proportional representation. After elections, the Storting divides into two chambers, the Odelsting and the Lagting, which meet separately or jointly depending on the legislative issue under consideration.

Its legal system is a mixture of customary law and the civil and common law traditions.

Judicial power is vested in the courts. The courts are administered by the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for budget, personnel, organizational development, and other purely administrative matters. Courts include the regular courts and the High Court of the Realm, which hears impeachment cases. The regular courts include the Supreme Court, which is composed of seventeen Judges and a President; Courts of Appeal; City and County Courts; the Labor Court; and conciliation councils, which are composed of laypersons and function both as a mediation body and a court.

In addition to the regular courts, there are several specialized tribunals, including the Severance Tribunal, which hears cases involving, inter alia, agricultural land area and boundary disputes; the Industrial Tribunal, which hears labor disputes relating to wage agreements; and the Social Security Tribunal, which is a quasi-judicial administrative body that hears appeals from decisions rendered pursuant to the National Insurance Act. Judges of the regular courts are appointed by the King’s Council after nomination by the Ministry of Justice.

All regular courts have jurisdiction over both civil and criminal cases. The courts may set aside laws enacted by Parliament if they conflict with the Constitution, and may also rule on the validity of decisions made by State and municipal authorities.”

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Description of Norway

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes norway in the following terms: [1] A founder member of NATO, EFTA and the EEA, Norway has twice applied successfully for membership of the Community and twice (in 1972 and in 1994) narrowly rejected its own Accession Treaty in bitterly contested referendums that pitted a sceptical rural community against the pro-EC urban élites. Both rejections were fuelled by a strong grass-roots sense of independence, allied to a legitimate concern over the Common Fisheries Policy and some suspicion of the sophisticated mores and political horse-trading of more southerly European capitals.

In the light of the conventional wisdom that exclusion from the Communityspells painful economic isolation, it is ironic that Norway, despite high social spending, shares with Switzerland the distinction of being the wealthiest country in Europe (other than tiny Luxembourg). This is, however, mainly because of cheap hydroelectric power and the country’s North Sea oil resources, which have enabled it to extinguish its external debt and to establish a fund (forecast at $60 billion in 2001) for future obligations, including pensions.


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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