Background

The Norwegian legal system consists of four main tiers: The Supreme court which deals with appeals from lower levels, decisions made here cannot be appealed unless they violate human rights. There is only one supreme court, located in Oslo, Norway’s capital. Below this is the Court of Appeal, there are six of these courts in six districts. The court of Appeal deals with problems from lower level courts, decisions here can only be appealed at the Supreme Court. The second lowest level is the District court level, these courts are the first instance of criminal courts and deal with most cases in the system. The lowest level is the Conciliation boards, this is where civil cases are heard, it consists of three laymen and three either elected or appointed deputies from the municipality. Norway has long been regarded as the forefront of forward thinking legal systems, focusing on rehabilitation and reintegration, rather than making criminals pay for what they have done for society, they help them realize what they have done is wrong, as well as helping them become a part of society again. Inmates in Norway frequently can receive education, proper medical treatment, job training and experience, and a level of freedom that would likely frighten citizens in Canada and the US.

Key Legal Issues

In Norway, there were fewer than 4000 people out of the country’s Population of over 5 million. This makes Norway’s incarnation rate around 75 per 100,000 in Canada that number is over 140 per, and in the US, that number is over 700 per 100,000. The main goal of incarnation in Norway is deterrence rather than punishment, only 20% of released inmates are rearrested within 5 years compared to a still relatively low rate in canada (over 35%), and a huge rate of 76% in the US. This is mainly due to the approach taken by prisons in Norway. Even in high security prison Bastoy Prison inmates are reintegrated into society from day one. Instead of being locked up for hours on end, prisoners are given jobs working on farms or in a small store that serves the other prisoners. The rooms are closer to low income housing than locked cages, which gives the inmates a sense of community, that helps for when they will be released into regular communities (Norway does not have the death penalty). By giving inmates responsibilities to look after farms that feed them, to work hard to earn money to spend at small stores, and letting the inmates interact with each other, and the guards at all times, Norway has found a way to temporarily separate those who have done wrong, and then reintegrate them into society with extremely low risk that they will return. Though some prisons in Norway may seem like a nice get away, the inmates there know that they cannot leave, and don’t wish to be separated from society for too long. As far as travelling to norway goes, many of the laws are the same or similar to Canada and the united states. There are few ‘weird’ laws to watch out for, unless someone challenges you to a fist fight to the death; if this happens you must either accept the challenge, or pay a due of 4 deer to the challenger, though this law hasn’t been enforced for quite a few years, so you will probably be okay.

Case

Norway v Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik was accused of acts of terror against Norway when he exploded a bomb in an Oslo government building, killing 8 people, and then proceeded to a summer camp on an island, killing almost 70 youth and leaders. The main issue discussed at his trial was whether he was criminally responsible or not due to possible criminal insanity. Though initially he was found criminally insane and not criminally responsible for his actions, this was reversed after a second panel of experts examined Anders and his actions, he was then found not criminally insane and was charged with the crimes resulting in the highest possible sentence in Norway of 21 years, however despite outcries that the sentence was too lenient, it was a special ‘containment’ sentence which means it can be extended by 21 years indefinitely, therefore it is likely that he will end up spending most, if not all of his life in prison.