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NCJ Number: 200827 Find in a Library
Title: Lay Participation in Norway
Journal: International Review of Penal Law  Volume:72  Issue:1-2  Dated:2001  Pages:225-252
Author(s): Asbjorn Strandbakken
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 28
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: This article describes lay participation in the criminal trial in Norway.
Abstract: There is lay participation in the criminal trial both in the courts of first instance and in the Court of Appeal. There is no lay participation in the Supreme Court. In the courts of first instance, there is a mixed court consisting of either one professional judge and two lay judges or two professional judges and three lay judges. In the Court of Appeal, there is a mixed court when the case concerns a petty offense and a jury trial if the appeal concerns a more serious offense. The Norwegian criminal procedure is based on the adversary system. The general rules of the criminal trial include the principle of immediacy, hearing both sides of a case, free evaluation of the evidence, the duty of the courts to clarify the facts of the case, and the institute of plea bargaining. In the courts of first instance, the professional judges conduct the evidentiary portion of the trial. The lay judges have the right to question the defendant and witnesses. The professional judge conducts the deliberations. The lay judges are advised about the law by the professional judge. In the Court of Appeal, the jurisdiction of the 10-member jury is to determine the issue of guilt. The jury has no jurisdiction with respect to sentencing. The professional judges examine the verdict of the jury and decide whether the verdict will form the basis of the final judgment. In order to serve as a lay judge, the person has to be at least 18 years old and eligible to be elected to the local council. There have been several reform proposals since the jury system was adopted in 1887. A possible reform would be to replace the jury with a mixed court. The cooperation between the professional judges and the lay judges is a strong argument in favor of the mixed court. An argument in favor of replacing the jury with a mixed court is that this would bring with it written reasons for the verdict. 178 footnotes, bibliography
Main Term(s): Juries; Lay judges; Norway
Index Term(s): Court personnel; Judges; Jury selection; Mixed court system; Trial procedures; Verdicts
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