| Home|Acknowledgments |About Us |Contact Us |Resources |Jurisdiction Research |Research Summary |Terms of Use |

 

 

 

Norway[1] [print]

Last edited: December 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

Upon ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC] in December of 1991, Norway submitted a reservation to Article 40(2)(b)(v) regarding the right of children in criminal trials to appeal decisions to a higher court.  In September of 1995, after amending the Criminal Procedure Act, the government of Norway officially withdrew the reservation.  When the CRC was ratified, the Convention was given domestic legal authority, but domestic law had superior status.  As Norway explained in its report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, “International law serves as a source of law when determining national law, and Norwegian law must as far as possible be interpreted so as to be in accordance with international law.”[2]  In 2003, however, the legislature amended the 1999 Human Rights Law, giving the CRC “precedence over any other legislative provisions that conflict with them” and including the text of the CRC in its entirety in domestic law.[3] 

The child protection system in Norway is headed by the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, which is responsible for legislative endeavors related to children and general guidance to agencies working with children.  The regional Offices for Children, Youth, and Family Affairs, overseen by the Directorate for Children, Youth, and Family Affairs, are responsible for providing local welfare services to children and for investigating cases of maltreatment or neglect.  Protective proceedings take place before municipal Social Welfare Boards.  In 1981, Norway was the first country to create an Office of the Ombudsman for Children, responsible for monitoring law enforcement, administrative agencies, and the state of the country's children and for working to improve legislation relating to children's welfare.

In the past five years, Norway has passed a number of legislative amendments strengthening the right of children to state their opinions in protective proceedings.  Children aged 7 or older and children younger than 7 who are able to form their own opinions always have the right to express their views.  A child who is 15 or older is considered to be a party in the case.  The Social Welfare Board may also deem a child younger than 15 to be a party to the case in special cases or when the child has behavioral problems.  Children who are parties to the case receive free legal counsel.  Also, the Social Welfare Board may appoint a spokesperson to any child.  A spokesperson is required to present the case from the point of view of the child and also to present her own point of view.  It is unclear if the legal representatives appointed to children who are parties to the case are subject to the same rules as the spokespersons.  Still, the representative of a child who is deemed to be a party would presumably represent that child's wishes and, in fact, might not present her own point of view.

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

Original Text

International Law

Konvensjon om barnets rettigheter[4]

Artikkel 12

1. Partene skal garantere et barn som er i stand til å gjøre danne seg egne synspunkter, retten til fritt å gi uttrykk for disse synspunkter i alle forhold som vedrører barnet, og tillegge barnets synspunkter behørig vekt i samsvar med dets alder og modenhet.

2. For dette formål skal barnet særlig gis anledning til å bli hørt i enhver rettslig og administrativ saksbehandling som angår barnet, enten direkte eller gjennom en representant eller et egnet organ, på en måte som er i samsvar med saksbehandlingsreglene i nasjonal rett.

Statutes

Lov om styrking av menneskerettighetenes stilling i norsk rett (menneskerettsloven)[5]

§ 2. Følgende konvensjoner skal gjelde som norsk lov i den utstrekning de er bindende for Norge:

4. De forente nasjoners internasjonale konvensjon 20. november 1989 om barnets rettigheter med følgende tilleggsprotokoller . . .

§ 3. Bestemmelsene i konvensjoner og protokoller som er nevnt i § 2 skal ved motstrid gå foran bestemmelser i annen lovgivning.

 

 

Vedlegg 7. FNs konvensjon om barnets rettigheter med protokoller (autentisk engelsk tekst)

. . . Art 12.

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law . . .

Vedlegg 8. FNs konvensjon om barnets rettigheter med protokoller (norsk oversettelse)

. . . Art 12.

1. Partene skal garantere et barn som er i stand til å gjøre danne seg egne synspunkter, retten til fritt å gi uttrykk for disse synspunkter i alle forhold som vedrører barnet, og tillegge barnets synspunkter behørig vekt i samsvar med dets alder og modenhet.

2. For dette formål skal barnet særlig gis anledning til å bli hørt i enhver rettslig og administrativ saksbehandling som angår barnet, enten direkte eller gjennom en representant eller et egnet organ, på en måte som er i samsvar med saksbehandlingsreglene i nasjonal rett . . .  

Lov om barneverntjenester[6]

§ 6-3. Barns rettigheter under saksbehandlingen.

Et barn som er fylt 7 år, og yngre barn som er i stand til å danne seg egne synspunkter, skal informeres og gis anledning til å uttale seg før det tas avgjørelse i sak som berører ham eller henne. Barnets mening skal tillegges vekt i samsvar med barnets alder og modenhet.

Et barn kan opptre som part i en sak og gjøre partsrettigheter gjeldende dersom det har fylt 15 år og forstår hva saken gjelder. Fylkesnemnda kan innvilge et barn under 15 år partsrettigheter i særskilte tilfeller. I sak som gjelder tiltak for barn med atferdsvansker, skal barnet alltid regnes som part.

§ 7-1. Bruk av fylkesnemnda i barnevernsaker.

Følgende bestemmelser i lov om sosiale tjenester av 13. desember 1991 nr. 81 gjelder tilsvarende for saker etter denne loven . . .

d) § 9-5 om oppnevning av fullmektig . . .

§ 7-4. Barnets talsperson.

Fylkesnemnda kan oppnevne en egen talsperson for barnet i saker som skal behandles for nemnda.

Departementet kan gi forskrifter om den nærmere gjennomføring av ordningen.

Lov om sosiale tjenester m.v. (sosialtjenesteloven)[7]

§ 9-5. Oppnevning av fullmektig for den private part m.m.

Har den private part ikke allerede engasjert advokat, skal fylkesnemndas leder eller sekretariat sørge for at det blir utpekt advokat for parten. Advokaten skal omgående gjøres kjent med forslaget og de vedlagte dokumenter, og gis frist for skriftlig framstilling, framlegging av dokumenter, og opplysning om hvilke vitner han eller hun ønsker å føre. De begrensninger i partens rett til å se saksdokumenter som er fastsatt i forvaltningsloven § 19 første ledd bokstav c, og i annet ledd, gjelder ikke for disse dokumentene.

Lov om fri rettshjelp (rettshjelploven)[8]

§ 22. Fri sakførsel for visse forvaltningsorganer.

       ...Vedkommende forvaltningsorgan skal av eget tiltak og uten behovsprøving gi fri sakførsel i følgende saker:

1.   saker som skal behandles av fylkesnemnda etter kap. 9 i lov om sosiale tjenester m.v.

2.   saker som skal behandles av fylkesnemnda etter kap. 7 i lov om barneverntjenester . . .

Regulations

Forskrift om barnets talsperson i saker som skal behandles i fylkesnemnda[9]

§ 1.

Fylkesnemndas leder kan oppnevne en egen talsperson for barnet i saker som skal behandles i nemnda i henhold til lovens § 7-2.

§ 4.

Talspersonen skal etter samtale med barnet fremstille saken fra barnets synsvinkel og gi sin selvstendige vurdering av saken.

Talspersonen skal innkalles til fylkesnemndas forhandlingsmøte og avgi en muntlig rapport til nemnda. Han/hun avlegger forsikring som for vitner etter reglene i tvistemålsloven, og avhøres ellers etter de samme reglene så langt de passer.

Translation[10]

International Law

Convention on the Rights of the Child, [11] ratified Jan. 8, 1991.

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

Statutes

Human Rights Act[12]

§2

The following conventions shall have the force of Norwegian law insofar as they are binding for Norway: . . .

4. The United Nations International Convention of 20 November 1989 on the Rights of the Child and the following optional protocols . . .

§ 3

The provisions of the conventions and protocols mentioned in section 2 shall take precedence over any other legislative provisions that conflict with them.

Appendix 7. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and protocols (authentic English text) . . .

Art 12.

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law . . .

Appendix 8. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and protocols (Norwegian translation)

Art 12.

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law

The Child Welfare Act[13]

§ 6-3 Children's rights during processing of the case

A child who has reached the age of 7, and a younger child who is able to form his own viewpoints, shall be informed and given the opportunity to state his/her opinion before a decision is made in the matter which affects him or her.  The child's opinion shall have weight in accordance with the child's age and maturity.

A child may appear as a party in a case and bring to bear his or her rights as a party if he or she has reached the age of 15 and understands the subject-matter of the case. The county social welfare board may grant a child of less than 15 years of age rights as a party in special cases. In a case concerning measures for children with behavioural problems, the child shall invariably be regarded as a party.

§ 7-1 Use of the county social welfare board in child welfare cases

The following provisions of Act of 13 December 1991 No. 81 on Social Services apply correspondingly to cases pursuant to this Act . . .

d) section 9-5 regarding appointment of agents . . .

§ 7-4 The child's spokesperson

The county social welfare board may appoint a separate spokesperson for the child in cases that are to be dealt with by the board.

The Ministry may lay down regulations on the further implementation of the arrangement.

The Social Services Act[14]

§ 9-5 Appointment of counsel for the private party, etc.

If the private party has not already engaged counsel, the chairperson or secretariat of the county social welfare board shall ensure that an advocate is appointed for the party. The advocate shall at once be made acquainted with the proposal and annexed documents, and be given a time limit within which to submit a written presentation of the case, submit documents and provide information as to the witnesses he or she wishes to call. The restrictions laid down in section 19, first paragraph, litera c, and second paragraph, of the Public Administration Act on the rights of parties to see the documents in a case do not apply to these documents.

Act Relating to Free Legal Aid[15] 

§ 22. Free legal counsel for certain administrative agencies.

. . . The concerned administrative agency shall on its own initiative and without a means test provide free legal counsel in the following cases:

1.      cases which shall be handled by county committees pursuant to chap. 9 of the Act on Social Services.

2.      cases which shall be handled by county committees pursuant to chap. 7 of the Child Welfare Act . . .

Regulations

Regulations concerning the child's spokesperson in cases that are to be dealt with by the county social welfare board[16]

§ 1

The chairperson of the county social welfare board may appoint a particular spokesperson for the child in cases that are to be dealt with by the board pursuant to section 7-2 of the Act.

§ 4

After speaking with the child, the spokesperson shall present the case from the child's point of view and give his or her independent assessment of the case.

The spokesperson shall be summoned to the meeting of the county social welfare board to discuss the case and shall submit an oral report to the board. He or she shall make the same affirmation as witnesses pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Procedure Act, and shall otherwise be examined pursuant to the same provisions insofar as they are appropriate.

 

Additional Resources and Links

Barne- og Familiedepartementet— Ministry of Children and Family Affairs (In Norwegian and English): http://odin.dep.no/bfd/

Barneombudet— Office of the Children's Ombudsman (In Norwegian and English) http://www.barneombudet.no/

Barne-, Ungdoms-, og Familieetaten— Directorate for Children, Youth, and Family Affairs (In Norwegian and English): http://www.bufdir.no/

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Periodic reports of States parties due in 1998 : Norway. 12/11/98, Committee on the Rights of the Child, ¶29, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/70/Add.2 available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf, and also here.

[3] Act on the Strengthening of the Status of Human Rights in Norwegian Law (Human Rights Act), Act No. 30 of May 21, 1999, §3 (2005) (1999 version available at http://www.ub.uio.no/ujur/ulovdata/lov-19990521-030-eng.pdf and also as .pdf Document.

[4] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989) available at http://odin.dep.no/archive/bfdvedlegg/01/03/FNsBa050.pdf.

[5] Lov om styrking av menneskerettighetenes stilling i norsk rett (menneskerettsloven) [Act on the Strengthening of the Status of Human Rights in Norwegian Law (Human Rights Act)], Act No. 30 of May 21, 1999, , §2-4, 3, Append. 7- art. 12, 8- art. 12 (2005) available at http://www.lovdata.no/all/nl-19990521-030.html and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[6] Lov om barneverntjenester [Child Welfare Act], Act No. 100, Jul. 17, 1992, §6-3, 7-1(d), 7-4 (2003) available at http://www.lovdata.no/cgi-wift/ldles?doc=/all/nl-19920717-100.html&7-4 and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[7] Lov om sosiale tjenester m.v. (sosialtjenesteloven) [Act on Social Welfare], Act No. 81, Dec. 13, 1991, §9-5 (2004) available at http://www.lovdata.no/all/nl-19911213-081.html and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[8] Lov om fri rettshjelp (rettshjelploven) [Act Relating to Legal Aid], Act No. 35, Jun. 13, 1980, §22 (2004) available at http://www.lovdata.no/all/nl-19800613-035.html and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[9] Forskrift om barnets talsperson i saker som skal behandles i fylkesnemnda [Regulations concerning the child's spokesperson in cases that are to be dealt with by the county social welfare board], §1, 4 (1993) available at http://www.lovdata.no/for/sf/bf/tf-19931222-1430-0.html and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[10] The translations of the Child Welfare Act, the Social Services Act, and the Regulations concerning the child's spokesperson were official versions provided by the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs in Norway.  However, the translations from the Child Welfare Act were updated by our own translator.  The translations of the Human Rights Act and the Free Legal Aid Act are unofficial.  They were provided by the Faculty of the Law Library at the University of Oslo and updated by our own translator.

[11] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989).

[12] Human Rights Act, §2-4, 3, Append. 7- art. 12, 8- art. 12, supra note 2.

[13] Relating to Child Welfare Services (The Child Welfare Act), Act No. 100, Jul. 17, 1992, §6-3, 7-1(d), 7-4 (2003) (2000 version available at http://odin.dep.no/bfd/english/doc/legislation/acts/004021-200004/dok-bn.html and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[14] Act relating to Social Services (Social Services Act), Act No. 81, Dec. 13, 1991, §9-5 (2004) available at http://odin.dep.no/bfd/english/doc/legislation/acts/004021-200004/ind-bn.html.

[15] Act Relating to Free Legal Aid, Act No. 35 of Jun. 13, 1980, §22 (2004) (1991 version available at http://www.ub.uio.no/ujur/ulovdata/lov-19800613-035-eng.pdf and also as .pdf Document.

[16] Regulations concerning the child's spokesperson in cases that are to be dealt with by the county social welfare board, §1, 4 (1993) available at http://odin.dep.no/bfd/english/doc/legislation/acts/004021-200006/ind-bd and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

Representing Children Worldwide | Copyright 2005 Yale Law School |All Rights Reserved