UPDATE: Guide to Legal Research in Norway


By Pål A. Bertnes

Updated by Rebecca J. Five Bergstrøm


Rebecca J. Five Bergstrøm is an academic librarian at the Law Library of the University of Oslo. She is the subject specialist at the main library and among other things she teaches law students within retrieval of and use of legal sources. 


Pål A. Bertnes, a former Law School Library Director at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo, is an author, a lecturer, and an editor and publisher of books and articles. His professional interests relate to matters concerning remedies for the retrieval of sources of law. His list of his publications (1979-2011) is available online.


Published October 2015
(Previously updated by Pål A. Bertnes on December 2009, January 2011 and
May 2012)
See the Archive Version!


Table of Contents

1.      Legal Research in Norway, an Introduction

1.1.    Information Systems

1.2.   The Governmental System The Short Version

1.3.   The Norwegian Courts

2.     Legal Sources

2.1.   Legislation

2.1.1. The Constitution

2.1.2.The Statutes


2.2.  Preparatory Work

2.3.  Judgments – Law Reports

2.4.  Administrative Practice

2.5.   Conception of Law, Especially as Expressed in Legal Literature

2.6.  Custom

2.7.   Equitable Considerations

2.8.  Treaties

3.     Legal Education in Norway

3.1.   University of Oslo

3.1.1. University of Oslo Law Library

3.2.  University of Bergen

3.2.1.University of Bergen Law Library

3.3.  University of Tromsø

3.3.1.University of Tromsø Law Library

4.     Reference Books and Standard Works

4.1.   Introductory Works on The Legal System and Legal Research

4.2.  Directories

4.3.  Bibliographies

4.4.  Law Bibliographies

4.5.   Dictionaries

4.5.1. Legal Dictionaries in Norwegian

4.5.2.    Legal Dictionaries in Foreign Languages

5.     Statistics

6.     Index of Sources

6.1.   Literature

6.2.  Websites

6.3.  Legislation

6.4.  Court Reports

6.5.   Electronic Resources


1.     Legal Research in Norway, an Introduction

Researching Norwegian law requires knowledge of the sources that are applicable in Norwegian law, and how they relate to each other. You also need some knowledge about the branches of government, especially regarding their role in the legal system and in the making of the law. Last but not least, you need to have knowledge of the Norwegian language, since most of the sources are only available in one of the two official versions of Norwegian language, Bokmål and Nynorsk. This article is meant to give an introduction to how to do research in Norwegian law. This article will, however, not describe how to apply the legal sources to explicit legal problems. There will be links to translated sources when available, please note that these are not authentic language versions. When no translation is available, the Norwegian text/source will be used. It is not possible to give a complete presentation of all the aspects of legal research in one article, but the key points will be described.


1.1.   Information Systems

There are two main databases, Lovdata and Gyldendal Rettsdata, which those who are doing legal research need to get acquainted with. Both offer access, to a vast amount of legal sources including legal papers. Even though the sources are much the same, they don’t overlap.


Lovdata is a private foundation and its main source of income is based upon subscriptions to the professional part of the database, Lovdata Pro.  Lovdata was established in 1981 in cooperation between the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Ministry of Justice.


Lovdata consists of two versions: «Free of charge” Lovdata which is open to the public and Lovdata Pro that requires a subscription. The later one contains a larger amount of available sources than the free one and is an essential database for legal researchers and legal practitioners. Lovdata Pro provides access to legislation, both current and repealed, case law, selected international instruments, administrative practice, articles in legal journals and much more. “Free of charge” Lovdata provides access to: Legislation, parliamentary resolutions, last four months case law from the Supreme Court and a selection of cases from the Court of Appeal. They also provide Norwegian summaries of last year’s judgments from the ECHR.


Gyldendal Rettsdata targets the professional market and is also a subscription database. Rettsdata, as the database is commonly known as, was original established as IndexData in 1991. One of the foundations of Rettsdata is Norsk Lovkommentar, formerly known as Karnov: norsk kommentert lovsamling. The Norwegian edition is modeled on the Danish Karnov commentary issue, which has been published since the 1930's. Traditionally, it contained all current Norwegian statutes with commentaries. Today it also includes case law, preparatory works, regulations, different statements and a selection of legal journals.


Keep in mind that Norsk Lovkommentar is just a part of Rettsdata. A subscription to the total package provides users with much more, such as, e-books, subject collections where relevant sources are made available sorted by topic, templates and more.


Law librarians at the law faculties of the universities in Oslo, Bergen, and Tromsø have created Juridisk Nettviser, an Internet gateway to legal information. From 2011, the gateway is operated by the Law Library in Oslo. This tool facilitates access to Norwegian, foreign and international legal sources that are available on the Internet. The different sources are organized in different categories such as; jurisdiction, sources of law, legal subject and the collective term “subject” which contains sub categories as research guides, organizations, lawyers and publishers, among others . Each category has sub-categories and the content of each resource is described.


There are a few other Norwegian databases available online. Most of them require a subscription in order to access the resources. Examples:



1.2.   The Governmental System – The Short Version

The Norwegian constitution divides the power between three branches of government: the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch.


The executive branch is the Government, Regjeringen. The head of the state is, according to §3 of the Constitution, the King or the Queen Regent. The key role of Regjeringen, in the law making process, is to present bills to the Parliament and also to draw up regulations.


The legislative branch is the Parliament, the Storting. One of the main functions is to “pass new legislation, and amend and repeal existing legislation.” Cf. § 49 and §§ 75 - 79 of the Norwegian Constitution.


The judicial branch consists of the courts and is based upon chapter D of the Constitution, §§ 86-91. I will elaborate some more on the Courts below, whereas the roles of the Storting and Regeringen in the making of legislation will be presented further in the part regarding legislation and preparatory works.


1.3.   The Norwegian Courts

The development of the judicial system is too diverse to be addressed in detail in this presentation. However, it is important to note that the Høyesterett, the Supreme Court, previously situated in Denmark, was established in 1815 in accordance with the Constitution. And 200 years later, 15th of June, is the right and duty to examine if legislation is unconstitutional codified. See § 89 in the Constitution.


There are three ordinary judicial authorities within the Norwegian court system:


·       District Courts – court of the first instance (Country Courts, City Courts)

·       Courts of Appeal

·       The Supreme Court


The Supreme Court is the highest legal authority in Norway as expressed in the Norwegian Constitution §88. It consists of twenty judges and is seated In Oslo. All cases are brought before the Appeal Committee of the Supreme Court who gives their approval, or not, before an appeal can be proceeded. They also decide appeals regarding verdicts and court decisions.


As stated in Domstolsloven §5, Court of Justice Act, shall some cases, if fixed by law, be decided by the Appeal Committee. In those cases is the court seated with three judges. Otherwise is the main rule that the court is seated with five judges. If the case is time consuming, are up to two additional judges assigned to the case.  In particularly important cases, can it be decided that the case or a question of law arising from it, should be heard by a grand chamber of eleven judges. The decision is based on whether the Supreme Court may divert from an earlier precedent, or if the case raises questions of conflicts between laws, provisional statutory instruments or parliamentary decisions and The Constitution or treaties Norway is part of. In very special cases, the court may decide that a case or a question of law arising from the case should be heard by all the 20 judges sitting in plenary session.

The main function of the courts is obviously to solve disputes. In addition, the Supreme Court has the power of constitutional review and, with the system of case law and judicial precedents; it is also an important interpreter of statute and customary law.


In addition to the courts mentioned above, some special tribunals have the authority to settle specific conflicts:


·       Land questions, Jordskiftedomstolene, Land Consolidation Court.

·       Labor disputes, Arbeidsretten, Labor Court of Norway.

·       Social security disputes, Trygderetten, National Insurance Court.

·       Disputes regarding rights to property in Finnmark, Utmarksdomstolen for Finnmark, Finnmark outfield Court.


An arbitration board is in some cases the court of first instance. The arbitration board has a limited jurisdiction for civil cases.


A list of the Norwegian Courts, alphabetically organized is available from the Norwegian courts website and provides contact information and links to the different web pages of the courts.


2.     Legal Sources

The Norwegian legal system is a civil law system. Hence legislation is a central source of law, but not the only one. Torstein Eckhoff (1916 – 1993), a highly esteemed legal scholar and author within the subject of Norwegian sources of legal theory, listed seven sources of law that can be applicable. (Eckhoff (2001) s. 22). The sources are as follows (mark that the order is not an expression of importance or applicability):


·       Legislation

·       Preparatory works of the acts, other background material relating to the legislation process and subsequent legislative history.

·       Case law

·       Administrative practice

·       Custom

·       Conception of law, especially as expressed in legal literature.

·       Equitable considerations


Due to Nordic cooperation and internationalization the list is not necessarily exhaustive. Ulf Bernitz’ article, What is Scandinavian Law offers the reader a broader understanding of Scandinavian law as a legal family and its position in relation to other legal systems/families.


Norway is committed to a vast amount of international law through both the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which is implemented in Norwegian law by legislation, the Human Rights Act, and the EEA-agreement, among others. Due to that can, and often will, international law be taken into account when researching or solving national justiciable questions.


There are several unwritten source of law principles that serve as guidelines when considering whether a source is relevant, how a source should be interpreted, and the importance of the norm, among others. The last one is particularly essential regarding the situation of antinomy. And even though you have found one legal source that is applicable for your problem for discussion you still have to investigate and evaluate if there are other applicable sources and what the result would be if these were applied. In the end you have to do an overall assessment of the sources at hand before you conclude what is de lege lata.


2.1.   Legislation

We can divide legislation into three sections with reciprocally different ranks. The Constitution has the highest rank, ordinary statutes are subordinate to the constitution and regulations that acquire their legal authority from statutes are subordinate to these statutes. The ranking has special importance in the situation of antinomy. The Lex Superior principle states that a source of higher rank shall be applied. The principle also states that a legal rule cannot be changed, deviated from or made exceptions from by a lower ranked source. §17 of the Constitution explicitly rank statutory law higher than provisional laws.


There are several stages in the process of making legislation. The process differs between the different types. They all have in common that the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting, is the legislator, either by practicing it is legislation competence itself or through an official organ which the Storting has delegated it’s competence to. They also have in common how legislation is officially announced. § 1 in Lov om Norsk Lovtidend m.v. – the Official Legal Gazette Act, establishes, among other, that all legislation either the Constitution, statutes or that which is ordered by law or with statutory authority must be announced in the Norwegian Legal Gazette, Norsk Lovtidend. Regulations are an example of the last category. Since 2001, the electronic publication of Norsk Lovtidend in Lovdata is considered a formal announcement. Norsk Lovtidend is available free of charge through Lovdata. Thereby the Norwegian population, and others, has an easy access to rules and regulations.


2.1.1.The Constitution

The Norwegian constitution is influenced, among other things, by both the French and the American constitutions. It is based in the principle of popular sovereignty and the principle of separation of powers.


Norway celebrated the Norwegian Constitution Anniversary in 2014. It was 200 years since the adoption of the Constitution at Eidsvoll, 17th of May 1814. This makes the Norwegian Constitution the second oldest written constitution in the world, only preceded by the U.S. Constitution.


Even though the Constitution is 200 years old, the text has been revised several times since 1814. The three latest revisions occurred 6th of May 2014, 13th of May 2014 and 15th of June 2015. The one of 6th of May was a passing of a total linguistic revision of the Constitution. The result was that the Language of the Constitution was brought up to date and became available in both of the two written standards of the Norwegian language, Bokmål and Nynorsk. The May 13th revision resulted in several human rights becoming constitutional. And the one of 15th June 2015 was a codification of the courts right to judicial review if there is antinomy between legislation and the Constitution.


The procedure regarding revision of the Constitution differs from other legislation and is described in § 121 of the Constitution. A motion regarding a revision has to be put forward at the 1st, 2d or 3d Storting after a parliamentary election. The decision-making authority is held by the 1st, 2d or 3d Storting after the next parliamentary election. I.e. two different elected Storing’s processes the motion. Article 121 also states that the “...two thirds of the Storting must agree...” and “…such an amendment must never, however, contradict the principles embodied in this Constitution….”

A non-official translation of the Constitution with the 2014 amendments is available from the web page of The Storting: Read more about: The Constitution. The Bicentenary of the Norwegian Constitution 2014.


2.1.2.     The Statutes

The most comprehensive Norwegian code of law is Norges Lover, which is published privately by The Faculty of Law in Oslo and Fagbokforlaget. It is a one volume standard work that is published annually and used by law students, lawyers and judges, as well as others. Norges Lover contains the Constitution, formally enacted legislation in force, adopted legislation that has yet to take effect and also some pre 1814 legislation that is still valid. All statutes are consolidated, i.e. amendments are adopted in new editions of the code. It is therefore more user friendly than finding the legislation and possible amendments in different volumes of Norsk Lovtidend.


The main provisions are often old, but amendments are usually integrated in the existing statutes. The Storting only passes completely new Acts, which abolish the old law, when comprehensive and fundamental changes are made. The statutes are presented in a chronological order in Norges Lover based on their date of enactment, except the constitution that is in front. The code of law contains both a systematic and an alphabetic index to ease the use of the work.


Until October 1st 2009, the formal text of new statute laws and amendments to old laws were also made available in Lover vedtatt på det ordentlige Storting, in addition to Norsk Lovtidend and Norges Lover. It was published annually, at the end of each Parliamentary session in part 8 of Stortingsforhandlingene. After October 2009, the decisions regarding legislation, lovvedtak, are available from the Parliament’s web page.


How to cite a statute: Lov 17. juni 2005 nr. 85 om rettsforhold og forvaltning av grunn og naturressurser i Finnmark fylke (Finnmarksloven). [The text in the brackets is the short title of the statute. Authors often reduce the reference to the short title in the text and use the complete reference In the index of legislation.]


The demand for translated Norwegian legislation has been increasing over some years. There has not been any systematic translation of Norwegian legislation, nor are the translated statutes considered authentic. The University of Oslo Law Library has for some years now maintained a database, Translated Norwegian Legislation, where translations of Norwegian legislation, acts and/or regulations, are made accessible to the public.


Most entries have links to the acts in full text, either as html, word-files or in PDF-format. Electronic versions are not available for all acts. For some printed versions, there are links to bibliographic records. Keep in mind that the translations are not necessary up to date regarding amendments.

Beneath follows a list of selected central legislation. (A link from the English title indicates that an English version exists and where to find it. For the Norwegian version, click the Norwegian title.) For other translated statutes and regulations, search the already mentioned database, Translated Norwegian Legislation.


Civil Procedure:


·       The Enforcement Code (Tvangsfullbyrdelsesloven av 26. juni 1992 nr 86).

·       Courts of Justice Act – Domstolloven av 13. august 1915 nr 5 (unofficial English translation)


Criminal Law:


·       The General Civil Penal Code (With subsequent amendments, the latest made by Act of 21 December 2005 No. 131. Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police) (Straffeloven av 22. mai 1902 nr 10).

·       The Criminal Procedure Act with subsequent amendments, the latest made by Act of 30 June 2006 No. 53. Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police (Straffeprosessloven av 22. mai 1981 Nr 25) (English translation).


Other Important Statute Laws:


·       Public Administration Act (Forvaltningsloven av 10. februar 1967)

·       The Sale of Goods Act (Kjøpsloven av 13. mai 1988 Nr 27).

·       Consumer purchase act (Forbrukerkjøpsloven av 21.juni 2002 Nr 34)

·       The Human Rights Act (Menneskerettsloven av 21. Mai 1999 nr 30)

·       The EEA act (EØS-loven av 27. November 1992 nr 109)

·       Finnmark Act > (Finnmarksloven av 17. Juni 2005 Nr 85)

·       Act relating to Conclusion of Agreements (Avtaleloven av 31. mai 1918 Nr 4)

·       The Taxation Act (Skatteloven av 26. mars 1999 nr 14)  


2.1.3.     Regulations

Forskrifter, regulations, are rules issued by the central administration under powers given to them by Acts of Parliament. According to the Public Administration Act §§ 38 and 39 it is a requirement that a regulation is published in Norsk Lovtidend. As already mentioned, they are published electronically by Lovdata in Norsk Lovtidend, which is available, free of charge, back to 2001. Central regulations are published in part I of Norsk Lovtidend, and regional and local regulations are published in part II. Some older regulations are available for free, both central and local. If you have a subscription to Lovdata Pro, you can access a broader range of older regulations.


A regulation is referred to by the title and date of enactment: Forskrift om endring i forskrift Om pyrotekniske artikler av 04. juni 2015 nr. 590.


2.2.  Preparatory Work

NOU, Norsk offentlig utredning, Official Norwegian Reports, are made by committees and expert groups appointed by the Ministry. And are sometimes the foundations for a bill.


Bills are often introduced to the Storting by a member of the Government. The ministry responsible for the subject matter is in charge of examining and doing the preparative work. It lies to the Storting to pass the bills after they have been introduced to the Storting. A short version of the legislative procedure is available from the website of the Storting.


Preparatory works to a statute are all the official documents produced during the legislation making process, not only the one from the ministry or expert groups. It’s been a part of the Norwegian legal tradition that the legislator can keep the text of a statute short since preparatory works are important supplements to the law. They are an expression of the will and intention of the legislator and hence they are used both as a supplement and as a ground for interpretation of the legal text. Even though they have a central role as a source of law, it is important to be aware of the quality of the preparatory works:  newer documents are often more thoroughly prepared than the older ones.

The documents that are regarded as preparatory works differ according to whether the legislative process was before or after the 1st of October 2009, when the Odelsting and Lagting were abolished. The old document terms were:



The new document terms are:



More information about the documents is available in Norwegian from the Storting's page Nye publikasjonsbetegnelser. Official documents origin from the Storting and the Government are published in Stortingsforhandlingene, the proceedings of the Storting. It is important to know that the NOU are not published there. An exception is if a NOU was an appendix to an Ot.prp, then it was published in Stortingsforhandlingene. Stortingsforhandlingene were published annually as a seven part work. Before 2009, the publication consisted of nine parts. Today each document is published separately in paperback and is available for purchase through Fagbokforlaget.


New preparatory works, i.e. after the late nineties, are available free of charge, through The Storting’s Norwegian webpage, as well as some older preparatory works. If you read Norwegian you can also easily follow the legislative process of the different statutes. Since the ministries are responsible for the introductory preparatory work, you will find the NOUs, also free of charge, at the Government webpage.


Older documents, i.e. prior to 2005, are accessible through two free of charge databases that supplement each other: 



If you are a subscriber, both Lovdata Pro and Rettsdata provide you with a wide range of preparatory works but far less than the two databases above.


Statements given by the legislator regarding interpretation of the statute after the legislation has entered into force, is called etterarbeider, subsequent legislative history. It is acknowledged that this kind of statements is a source of law, but the degree of importance is debated.  How much weight, as a source of law, the statements shall be imputed has to be established after an overall assessment of the applicable sources.


2.3.  Judgments – Law Reports

Case law is an important source of Norwegian law, particularly the judgments of the Supreme Court, since it is the foremost exegete of legal instruments. The courts began acting as lawmakers at the end of the 19th century, exercising constitutional review on statutory law as well as developing customary law.


In 1915 Domstolsloven, Court of Justice Act, was passed requiring the Supreme Court to publish reports of its decisions, including arguments and how they voted. These reports are considerably briefer than what is common in Germany and especially in the USA.


In Norsk retstidende (Rt.) all the Supreme Courts judgments and court orders, and also justified court orders and decisions form the Appeal Committee of the Supreme Court, are publishedNorsk Retstidende (Rt.) appears approximately 26 to 30 times a year in print. A typical reference to a judgment in Norsk retstidende is Rt. 2014 s. 1334, the last number refers to the page. All judgments receive a reference number that can be used to retrieve the judgment, independent of if it is published or not. An example of such a reference is HR-2014-2530-U.


A selection of judgments and decisions from the lower courts, tingretten or lagmannsretten, were published from 1933 until 2013 in Rettens Gang (RG). The selection contained principal decisions from the courts. Today practitioners will access selections of lower courts judgments through subscriptions to Lovdata or Rettsdata or by contacting the different courts.


Most of Norsk retstidende and Rettens Gang are available through subscriptions to Lovdata or Rettsdata. They may not be complete regarding the oldest volumes.


Some special court reports are also published, including:



2.4.  Administrative Practice

Administrative practice can be a relevant source of law within different fields of law, and is often taken into account internally in public administration. An argument against emphasizing administrative practice as a source of law is that they are not necessary easily available for the public. However, the practice of public administrative agencies is often referred to and relied on by the Courts. This applies especially to tax legislation, and decisions and rulings on tax issues. Dommer, uttalelser m.v. i skattesaker og skattespørsmål (1918-) is an important collection. As mentioned above, is the collection available both in print and online via Rettsdata.


Administrative practice can be expressed through several different types of documents and publications. A couple of examples follow:



The Ministry of Justice has an expert organ for the administration regarding legal questions. They offer advisory legal interpretations based on enquiries from the administration, foremost from other ministries. A collection of the interpretations, Tolkingsuttalelser, also known as Prinsipputtalelser og fortolkninger, are available from the website of the Government. Older printed interpretations are collected in Lovavdelingens Uttalelser and are available as following volumes 1976-1988, 1988-1991 and 1992-1995.


For interpretations from other ministries see: Finn Document: Tolkningsuttalelser or the different websites of the ministries.


Juridisk nettviser, the gateway to law, contains links to several bodies exercising administrative practice.


2.5.  Conception of Law, Especially As Expressed In Legal Literature

Legal literature plays an important part in legal research even though literature is not considered a primary source of law. And as for all research, the researcher has to be critical of the sources.


There exists a vast amount of commentaries to legislation and international instruments. Many of these are only available in print. However, several commentaries are available for subscribers, such as:


·       Norsk Lovkommentar, commented Norwegian Legislation available through Rettsdata. This is of several commentaries available in Rettsdata

·       Kommentarutgaver.no, a range of the “blue commentaries” from Universitetsforlaget.

·       Arbeidsrett.no, commentaries on labor law related legislation


Most research libraries in Norway use Oria as their search tool for literature. The intention is that the user shall be able to find “everything” that is available from their library. For law as a discipline, and especially Norwegian law, you do not necessarily find everything. Many legal journals and databases are not indexed on article level, but Oria can be used to find books and journals. Therefore it is important for a legal researcher in Norway to have knowledge of where to search for relevant literature.


Please note that the following is a selection of available e-journals that can be relevant for Norwegian legal research. Idunn.no contains a wide range of academic journals within different subjects. The legal journals available in Idunn are:


·       Arbeidsrett, articles in Labour law

·       Jussens Venner, different subjects of special interest for law students

·       Kritisk Juss, an interdisciplinary journal for fundamental questions regarding law and other subjects

·       Lov og rett (LoR), articles within all fields of law; the authors are mostly jurists in academic positions, lawyers or judges

·       Nordic Journal of Human Rights, a Routledge journal from 2014

·       Nordisk domssamling: selected Supreme Court decisions from Nordic countries

·       Nordisk politiforskning: journal of knowledge and research regarding the police in the Nordic countries

·       Skatterett, Tax law, legal aspects of taxation

·       Tidsskrift for rettsvitenskap (TfR) a Nordic publication issued in Norway. More academic than other Norwegian journals and contains long scholarly theses as well as reviews of Nordic legal literature


Rettsdata is also a source of legal literature in addition to a large amount of commentaries and e-books, searchable in Oria by title. Rettsdata also contains a range of full text e-journals:


·       Nordisk tidsskrift for Selskabsret (NTS), Company law in the Nordic countries

·       Tidsskrift for Eiendomsrett (TFEi): law on property

·       Tidsskrift for Erstatningsrett (TFE):  articles on different themes concerning damages

·       Tidsskrift for familierett, arverett og barnevernrettslige spørsmål (FAB): family law

·       Tidsskrift for forretningsjus: primarily articles on contract law and company law

·       Tidsskrift for strafferett: articles and reports on sentences from criminal law

·       Nytt i privatretten (NiP): short articles and information regarding private law issues

·       Arctic Review on Law and Politics: legal and social science articles regarding the Arctic areas


Lovdata Pro includes about 5000 full text law articles that have earlier been published in journals, legal festschriften and other publications. And is an important source to find older literature that is not electronic available otherwise. Some publications are entirely available thru Lovdata. For example:


·       Eurorett: a guide to new EC and EEA rules and legal decisions of importance to Norway

·       Lov&Data: articles from the Scandinavian countries regarding law and informatics

·       Skattebetalingshåndboken: handbook of tax payment


Advokatforeningen, the Norwegian Bar Association publishes Advokatbladet with information about lawyers and short articles about recent legislation and case law. It also contains a separate section of news about legal sources. The other important association of Norwegian lawyers, Norges Juristforbund, Norwegian Association of Lawyers, publishes Juristkontakt, which is available online. Besides information about the association itself, the journal also consists of relatively short scholarly articles. Both publications are issued monthly, and are up to date.


2.6.  Custom

The custom of private parties is of less importance today than before. Usage is, however, still an important source of law within certain areas, including commercial law other than contract law, and in relation to usufruct. Some of the private conflict-solving bodies publish their decisions. Among these are Finansklagenemda (FinKN), the complaint board for insurance, bank, finance and securities Lovdata publishes decisions and opinions made by several committees and boards electronically in Lovdata Pro, in addition to reports by several other organizations.


2.7.  Equitable Considerations

Equitable considerations are, as expressed in Eckhoff (2001), the evaluation of the suitability of a given result.  There aren’t any lists of equitable considerations that are legitimate to take into account. Case law can be a source to find out how the judges use equitable considerations. Keep in mind that the equitable considerations which are considered relevant or can be emphasized will vary with the facts of the different cases.


2.8.  Treaties

Norway has many international obligations due to international law. And hence are treaties an important source of law to establish the obligations to the international community and also to establish the content of national law.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs produces Traktatregisteret where you get an online overview of all treaties Norway is a part of. The database is hosted by Lovdata and the treaties are available in full text from 1992 and up to today. In every circumstance, they link to the depositary of the treaty if it is available online.


Global and Regional Treaties, 2012, by Ole Kristian Fauchald and Bård Sverre Tuseth (eds.), is a collection of fundamental treaties of practical application. The Treaty Database developed by the editors offers selected basic treaties from different areas of law. This database is relevant for law students throughout their law studies and also for a broad range of professionals.


Important treaties are occasionally collected and issued, e.g. for students' purposes. Examples are, the already mentioned: Global and regional treaties and Folkerettslig tekstsamling: 1883-2007 (2008) by Magnus Buflod, Knut Anders Sannes and Kristoffer Aasebø (eds.) Norges traktater, Norwegian treaties (1967-88) in five volumes is a printed source of international treaties ratified by Norway. The last volume contains the ever-important index. Norges traktater is cited from Traktatregisteret and is still a publication to be reckoned for older treaties. The collection contains most of the treaty texts organized chronologically in both Norwegian and the language of origin, whether English, German, or French.


3.     Legal Education in Norway

The law studies in Norway have traditionally been programs of professional studies. In recent years, several university colleges and some new universities, offer bachelor programs in legal subjects. These do not result in or qualify to complete an ordinary law degree.   Three universities offer master degree programs in Norway. All three of them have high quality research libraries which are excellent starting points for legal research.


3.1.   University of Oslo – UiO

The Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo, offers several different master programs. Master of Law, Rettsvitenskap, is a five year programs with the main focus on Norwegian law but also some international law. The program leads to a law degree. Other master programs in law are:



3.1.1.The Law Library

The Law Library at the University of Oslo is one of the largest law libraries in Northern Europe. The main library is open for the public. It is located at the city centre campus which holds the Faculty of Law. The library consists of six departmental libraries, a learning centre and a main library. As of the summer 2015 is the special collections of private and maritime law a part of the main library collection.



The library provides information resources webpage which is used as a starting point during library courses for students and also by other library patrons.


3.2.  University of Bergen – UiB

The Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen offers programs of professional study in law. This is also is a five year programs, mainly taught in Norwegian, with the main focus on Norwegian law but also some international law. This program also leads to a law degree.


3.2.1.     The Law Library In Bergen

The University of Bergen has a library for legal subjects and law. It is located at Dragefjellet in the Faculty of Law building and it is open for the public. The Law library has a subject page for law with a collection of relevant resources.


3.3.  University Of Tromsø – Uit – The Arctic University Of Norway

The Faculty of Law at the University of Tromsø offers a program of professional study in law. As in Oslo and Bergen, also a five year programs, mainly taught in Norwegian, with the main focus on Norwegian law but also some international law. Graduates earn a law degree.


3.3.1.     The Library In Tromsø

While Oslo and Bergen has dedicated law libraries, Tromsø has combined the subjects’ psychology and law in one branch library located at campus, the PJ-library. The University library of Tromsø provides a Norwegian subject page.


4.     Reference Books and Standard Works


4.1.   Introductory Works on The Legal System and Legal Research

The major introductory work is Knophs oversikt over Norges rett, Knoph on Norwegian Law, the most recent one is the 14th edition from 2014. This is a comprehensive book with many contributing writers, and it contains brief introductions to the various legal subjects.


Innføring i juss: juridisk tenkning og rettskildelære by Erik Boe contains advice on study methods, legal theory and a summary of certain areas of law. The most recent edition is from 2010. Innføring i rettsstudiet by Johs. Andenæs, Rettskildelære by Mads Henry Andenæs), Rettskildelære by Torstein Eckhoff and Rettskilder og juridisk metode by Carl August Fleischer are all theoretical works on how to apply legal sources.


Rebecca J. Five Bergstrøm and Hilde Westbye have written Hvordan finne rettskilder: en innføring i rettskildejungelen. The book describes legal sources and how to find them. It also contains introductory theory regarding source of law theory, public international law, human rights etc. The book is from 2012 and even though some user interfaces has changed since then it is still a useful handbook for legal novices. The authors, who are academic librarians, have long experience in educating law students and supporting researchers, in legal information.


Another example of this subject is Praktisk rettskildelære. Juridisk informasjonssøking by Bertnes, Kongshavn and Trygstad from 2012. The publication also refers to legal literature and sources of law, and provides guidance on how to do legal research for the advanced user.


Birger Stuevold Lassen is the author of Presentasjon av rettsvitenskapelige arbeider på norsk, A Presentation of Works of Jurisprudence in Norwegian.


The Ministry of Justice, among others, has formerly published Administration of Justice. From the Governments web site, find document, you can find documents in English. Kirsti Lothe Jacobsen, an academic librarian at the Law Library, University of Bergen Library, has compiled Norwegian law in foreign languages, a bibliography.


4.2.  Directories

The Norwegian Bar Association, Advokatforeningen, has more than 6500 members, and about 94 percent of the attorneys in Norway are members. You can read about their work in The Report from the Board for the Norwegian Bar Association from last year.


Juridisk nettviser contains links to several similar directories.


Information about the Ministries is available in English and includes information on the separate government ministries, their departments, and individuals in charge. 


4.3.   Bibliographies

There are still some bibliographic resources that can be useful when it is hard to locate older resources.

Guide to Nordic bibliography by Munch-Petersen is a descriptive guide in English covering the Nordic countries.


The National Library provides access to several catalogues and bibliographies such as:


·       Norsk bokfortegnelse, the Norwegian National Bibliography, is the most comprehensive bibliographic tool from 1814 to 2002. The electronic version, Norbok contains references to Norwegian books, journals, maps, dissertations, audio, sheet music, and online and offline resources. The databases cover from 1921 until 2011.

·       Norper, the database Norwegian List of Serials, contains references to journals, microforms, and newspapers, mainly from 1970 onwards.

·       Norart, Index to Norwegian and Nordic Periodical Articles covers references to articles from about 400 Norwegian journals, mainly from 1982 onwards.


4.4.  Law Bibliographies

Among the many international law bibliographies covering Nordic law, three are of particular importance:



In most Norwegian legal festschrifts, you find a bibliography of the person to whom the festschrift is dedicated. Because most festschrifts are about well-known legal researchers, and the festschrifts are published at the end of the researcher’s career, these books often offer important access to legal literature.



BibJure is an electronic library system developed especially for Norwegian lawyers and courts of justice by Jussystemer AS. It contains a database of references to law literature, primarily Norwegian and some Nordic titles, as well as legal articles in series and articles in Nordic legal festschriften. Pål A. Bertnes has developed the legal part of the database, which contains a detailed index with a keyword register to the index. This system has been used in Norges Lover, Norsk Retstidende and Rettens Gang.


Many Norwegian legal publications issue annual indexes. The most important publications also issue general indexes, which are cumulated over long periods. As to the collections of case law in Rt., cumulated 5-year indexes are issued along with the annual ones.


4.5.  Dictionaries


4.5.1.     Legal Dictionaries in Norwegian

Juridisk nettviser contains links to dictionaries available on the Internet. Important published Norwegian law dictionaries are:



All of the above provide short explanations in Norwegian of selected legal terms.


4.5.2.    Legal Dictionaries in Foreign Languages

·       Engelsk-norsk økonomisk-juridisk ordbok, English-Norwegian economic law dictionary by Hansen and Lind, 2008.

·       Norsk-engelsk økonomisk-juridisk ordbok  by Hansen and Lind, 2010.

·       Engelsk-norsk juridisk ordbok, English-Norwegian dictionary of law by Lind 2013.


These may also be of interest to foreigners:



5.     Statistics

The main supplier of statistics in Norway is the public institution Statistics Norway, which publishes weekly, monthly, and annual statistics pertaining to most areas of society, including law and legal institutions, education, trade and business. The statistics are written in both Norwegian and English. The institution also published the annual series Statistical Yearbook of Norway: until 2013, containing updated information about the Norwegian society. Both the contents and a detailed index are written in English and Norwegian. All public institutions are obliged to supply Statistics Norway with statistics. 


6.     Index of Sources


6.1.   Literature



6.2.   Websites



6.3.   Legislation



6.4.  Court Reports



6.5.  Electronic Resources