These are the courts the government wants to reverse. Creates five new district courts.

These are the courts the government wants to reverse. Creates five new district courts.
These are the courts the government wants to reverse. Creates five new district courts.
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Among other things, the government will restore one of the country’s smallest district courts. The Conservative Party believes it is “hair-raising and shocking”.

Tomorrow, the government will present its proposal for a revised national budget. Then the government will reverse court mergers Erna Solberg carried out in 2021. Photo: Javad Parsa / NTB

Published: 13/05/2024 11:16 | Updated: 13/05/2024 13:20

Several sources told Aftenposten on Monday morning. A few hours later, Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl (Sp) herself confirmed the change to NRK.

Tomorrow, the government will present its proposal for a revised national budget. Before the weekend, Aftenposten mentioned that the government will then reverse parts of the Solberg government’s court reform from 2021.

Then we went from 60 to 23 district courts. The old district courts were retained as courts in new, larger court districts.

The government will now propose to restore five district courts – an increase of 22 per cent from the current 23 district courts.

These are the changes the government is proposing:

  • Møre and Romsdal District Court is divided into Kristiansund/Molde and Volda/Ålesund.
  • Hordaland district court is divided into Bergen district court and Hardanger district court.

Old Hardanger district court was one of the smallest district courts in the country, with only one judge. The government will now ensure a minimum of two official judges at each court, according to NRK.

  • The Telemark district court is divided into Skien and Notodden/Vågslid.
  • The Vestre Innlandet district court is divided into Lillehammer/Vågå and Fagernes/Gjøvik.
  • The latest move is a kind of innovation: Nesbyen is taken out of Buskerud district court. The same is happening with Hønefoss in Ringerike, Asker and Bærum District Court. These two courts are merged into a new district court.

This gives a total of five more district courts than today. Six of today’s district courts are affected.

Right: Hair-raising and shocking

Høre refers to the reversal as both “hair-raising and shocking”.

– These are hair-raising priorities from the government. Crime skyrockets while they sit and watch, while at the same time they spend time, money and energy opening courts that all professional bodies are against, writes Ingunn Foss in an e-mail to Aftenposten.

Revised national budget is normally used to make adjustments to the current budget, not major reforms. The Conservative Party reacts strongly to the fact that the government will use the audit to change the court structure in Norway.

– The government puts the expert committee on the sidelines. In addition, of course, the justice committee should have received a case in which the structural changes were properly investigated, and not least heard what the sector and the relevant bodies themselves think three years after the change came into force, writes Foss.

She believes the court reform is working as intended.

– Case processing times have decreased, the professional environments have become larger and more robust and resources are better utilized. It is completely incomprehensible, sad and regrettable that this is happening, completely contrary to all professional advice, she adds.

The Liberal Party also reacts strongly.

– If this is true, we can establish once and for all that this government is a walking disaster for the rule of law. Should the government really spend time, money and human resources on splitting up courts that work very well? asks Storting representative Ingvild Wetrhus Thorsvik.

Tug of war in the government

The reversal takes place after a tug-of-war and negotiations within the government.

According to Aftenposten’s information, Sp would restore more and Ap far fewer than what the parties have now agreed to.

Both Ap and Sp strongly opposed the court reform introduced by the Solberg government at the time. They therefore jointly agreed to reverse it when they formed a government in 2021.

But since then, Ap’s eagerness to restore the old court structure has died down, as Aftenposten reported last summer.

In parts of Labor, there is strong dissatisfaction that this is happening now. “Money out the window,” says an Ap source.

Mehl: – Very satisfied

Minister of Justice Emilie Enger Mehl (Sp) confirms the changes to NRK.

– I am very satisfied with what we are presenting now. I think it will be a good solution, she says.

The promise to reverse the court reform is enshrined in the government’s political platform, the Hurdals declaration.

– You were supposed to restore 37 district courts and end up with five? asks NRK’s ​​journalist.

– I am satisfied that we have settled this case, and that we can accommodate a good number of the local input that has come.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: courts government reverse Creates district courts

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