UPDATE: Legal Research in Norway

Rebecca J. Five Bergstrøm is an academic librarian at the Law Library of the University of Oslo. She has a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Oslo. She is a subject specialist at the library and part of the Teaching and Research Services Team. Rebecca teaches extensively courses in legal research methods and international legal research methods. She is especially interested in legal technology and programming. She is a board member of International Association of Law Libraries. She is also a published author.

Published September/October 2020

(Previously updated by Pål A. Bertnes on December 2009, January 2011, May 2012, and in October 2015)

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1. Introduction to Research in Norway

Anyone who wants to research Norwegian law has to know which sources are applicable and how they relate to each other. Further, he or she has to have some knowledge about the branches of Government, especially regarding its role in the legal system and the making of the law. Most of the legal sources are only available in one of the two official versions of the Norwegian language, Bokmål and Nynorsk.

This article is an introduction to Norwegian legal sources and where to find them. However, this article will not address how to assess and apply legal sources to specific legal problems. It will introduce the Government branches, legal education in Norway and some key literature, in addition to the primary sources. The links will point to translated sources when available. Otherwise, will the links point to the Norwegian text or source. Please note that the translated sources are not official language versions and are not applicable as authoritative sources of law.

1.1. Information Systems

Two databases are recommended as starting points for legal research: Lovdata and Gyldendal Rettsdata. Both contain primary and secondary sources, although both databases contain many similar sources, the content doesn’t entirely overlap.

1.1.1. Lovdata

The Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Ministry of Justice founded Lovdata in cooperation in 1981. Now they are a private and financially self-supporting foundation. Lovdata consists of two versions. One version, Lovdata, is free of charge and open to the public, and the other, LovdataPro, requires a subscription.

The free of charge database, Lovdata, provides access in Norwegian to:

Lovdata has collected available, non-authoritative English translations of Norwegian legislation and made them available to the public. LovdataPro, on the other hand, is a comprehensive resource of sources of law such as current and repealed legislation, case law, selected international instruments, administrative practice, articles in legal journals, just to mention some. It is an essential database for legal students, researchers and legal practitioners.

The Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo implemented in 2018 LovdataPro, Exam mode, as a digital resource for students who had digital exams. As of fall 2019, is LovdataPro is an available resource at all legal exams, except for courses taught in English. All students get training in LovdataPro from the Library and student-IT services at the faculty of law. When the students access LovdataPro with their username and password, can they annotate, cite and highlight. The students can access their mark-ups among other things in exam mode, as long as they keep to the examination rules for using LovdataPro.

The Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen and the University of Tromsø implemented LovdataPro as an available resource on some of the exams.

1.1.2. Gyldendal Rettsdata

Gyldendal Rettsdata is a subscription database that targets the professional market. The database, commonly known as Rettsdata, was established initially as IndexData in 1991. One of the cornerstones of Rettsdata is Norsk Lovkommentar, formerly known as Karnov: Norsk kommentert lovsamling. The Danish Karnov commentary issue, published since the 1930s, is the model for the Norwegian edition. Initially, Karnov: Norsk kommentert lovsamling contained all current Norwegian statutes with commentaries. Today that forms a small part of Rettsdata, which also contains case law, preparatory works, regulations, different statements and a selection of legal literature.

One can perform searches across all legal sources in Rettsdata or narrow down to one specific type of source. Rettsdata has subject collections where relevant sources are available sorted by topic, templates, among others.

1.1.3. Gateway to Law

Law librarians at the law faculties of the universities in Oslo, Bergen, and Tromsø created Juridisk Nettviser, an Internet gateway to legal information. The Law Library in Oslo administrates the gateway as of 2011. This tool facilitates access to Norwegian, foreign and international legal sources that are available on the Internet. The resources are organised in categories such as jurisdiction, sources of law, legal subject and the collective term “subject” which contains subcategories like research guides, organisations, lawyers and publishers, among others. Each category has subcategories, and each resource has a short description of its content.

1.1.4. Other Information Resources

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

1.2. The Governmental System – The Short Version

The Norwegian constitution, Grunnloven, 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 article 3 of the Constitution, the King or the Queen Regent. The central role of the Government, in the law-making process, is to present bills to theParliament and draw up regulations. The Government is led by the Prime minister and consists of cabinet ministers who are responsible for different ministries.

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. article 49 and articles 75 – 79 of the Norwegian Constitution. The judicial branch consists of the courts and has its foundation in chapter D of the Constitution, articles 86-91. It will be elaborated further on the Courts in the chapter below. The roles of the Storting and the Government in the legislative process will be addressed further in the chapters about legislation and preparatory works.

1.3. Norwegian Courts

The historical development of the judicial system is too diverse to address in detail in this presentation. However, it is useful to note that the Høyesterett, the Supreme Court, previously situated in Denmark, was established in 1815 under the Constitution and opened the 30th of June the same year.

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

The Supreme Court is the highest legal authority in Norway as expressed in the Norwegian Constitution, article 88. It is seated in Oslo and consists of twenty judges. The Appeal Committee of the Supreme Court decides if an appeal to the Supreme Court can proceed. The committee also decides appeals regarding verdicts and court decisions.

Usually the court is seated with five judges. Two additional judges can be assigned to a case if the case is time-consuming. A case or a question of law arising from it can be determined to be heard by a grand chamber of eleven judges. The decision depends 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 to which Norway is a party. The court can decide in exceptional cases that a case or a question of law arising from the case should be heard by all the 20 judges sitting in a plenary session.

According to The Court of Justice Act, Domstolsloven, article 5, some cases shall, if stated by law, be decided by the Appeal Committee. In those cases, the court is seated with only three judges. The primary function of the courts is obviously to solve disputes. Also, the Supreme Court has the power of constitutional review and, with the system of case law and judicial precedents; it is also a foremost interpreter of the statute and customary law.

Some special tribunals have the authority to settle specific conflicts in addition to the courts mentioned above:

An arbitration board is, in some cases, the court of the 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 court’s 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. Legislation is one of the central sources of law. 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 applied. (Eckhoff (2001) s. 22); legislation, preparatory works of the acts, other background material relating to the legislative process and subsequent legislative history, case law, administrative practice, customs, conceptions of law as expressed in legal literature and equitable considerations

International legal sources are relevant to consider in addition to the national sources due to Norway’s international obligations. For instance, Norway has implemented several human rights treaties through the Human Rights Act of 1999 (Lov om styrking av menneskerettighetenes stilling i norsk rett (menneskerettsloven)). Another example is the EEA-agreement, where Norway is a contracting party. It is implemented in Norwegian law through the EEA Act of 1992 (Lov om gjennomføring i norsk rett av hoveddelen i avtale om Det europeiske økonomiske samarbeidsområde (EØS) m.v. (EØS-loven)) EEA relevant EU-acts are incorporated in the agreement. Thus, different EU sources are relevant within different areas of law.

Legal sources from the other Nordic countries can also be relevant to take into account, especially in areas where there has been a Nordic law-making collaboration or where there are EU/EEA regulations. Furthermore, it can also be interesting to have a look at how the other Nordic countries have regulated legal matters in the cases where Norway does not have regulations. Alternatively, when there is uncertainty around the result after interpretation and weighting of the national sources. Ulf Bernitz’ article, What is Scandinavian Law, offers the reader a broader understanding of Scandinavian law as a legal family and its position to other legal systems/families.

There are several unwritten principles regarding sources of law. They serve as guidelines and should be taken into account when one evaluates a source, such as when determining whether a source is relevant, how to interpret the source and the importance of the norm. The last one is particularly essential regarding the situation of antinomy. Even though there is a relevant legal source, one still has to investigate and evaluate if there are other applicable sources and what the result would be if these were applied. In the end, it is necessary to do an overall assessment of the sources at hand before concluding what de lege lata is.

2.1. Legislation

One divides legislation into three types with reciprocally different ranks: The Constitution is the highest-ranked, ordinary statutes are subordinate to the constitution, and regulations that acquire their legal authority from statutes are subordinate to the statutes. The ranking has particular 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 excepted from by a lower-ranked source.

There are several stages in the process of making legislation. The process differs between the different types of legislation, but there is some similarity. The Norwegian Parliament, the Storting, is the legislator, either by practising its legislative competence itself or through an official organ which has its competence delegated from the Storting. Further on, all legislation is announced officially in the Norwegian Legal Gazette, Norsk Lovtidend. According to article 1 in Lov om Norsk Lovtidend m.v. – the Official Legal Gazette Act, all legislation (including Constitutional provisions, laws and decisions, provisional arrangements and decisions, and what is required by law or pursuant to law) shall be announced in the Norwegian Legal Gazette. Regulations are an example of the last category. Since 2001 has the electronic publication of Norsk Lovtidend in Lovdata been considered as a formal announcement. Norsk Lovtidend is available free of charge back to 2001 through Lovdata. Lovdata provides the Norwegian population, and others, easy access to rules and regulations.

2.1.1. The Constitution

The Norwegian constitution, Grunnloven, is influenced by both the French and the American constitutions, among other things. It is founded on the principles of popular sovereignty, separation of powers and human rights. The constitution was adopted at Eidsvoll on the 17th of May 1814 (Norway celebrated the Norwegian Constitution’s bicentenary in 2014). The Norwegian Constitution is the second oldest written constitution in the world, only preceded by the U.S. Constitution.

The original text has been revised several times since 1814. It is interesting to take note of the following revisions:

The revision procedure of the Constitution, as described in article 121 of the Constitution, differs from other legislation. A motion of a revision has to be put forward at the first, second or third Storting after a parliamentary election. The decision-making authority is held by the first, second or third Storting after the next parliamentary election. I.e. two compositions of elected Storting’s processes the motion. Article 121 states that the “...two thirds [sic] of the Storting must agree...” and “…such an amendment must never, however, contradict the principles embodied in this Constitution….”

Read more about: The Constitution on Stortingets webpage.

2.1.2. The Statutes

The most comprehensive Norwegian code of law was Norges Lover. It was funded thru Lovsamingsfondet, The Faculty of Law in Oslo Statute Book Fund, and published later on by Fagbokforlaget up until 2019. Its sales had declined significantly in the last few years due to electronically available legislation, among other things. The board of the fund decided not to publish anymore. After a short pause, the Storting decided to pick up the publishing and announced that they would publish Norges Lover every other year, but they have not published it yet. The next publication is due 2021.

The previous publication of Norges Lover was a one-volume standard work published annually and used by law students, lawyers and judges, among 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 more user-friendly than finding the legislation and possible amendments in different volumes of Norsk Lovtidend.

The Storting only passes completely new Acts, which abolish the old law, when there are extensive and fundamental changes. The statutes are sorted chronologically in Norges Lover based on their date of enactment. The only exception is that the constitution of 1814 is in front. Norges Lover has both a systematic and an alphabetic index to ease the use of the work.

The formal text of new statutes and amendments to old laws were until October 1st 2009, also made available in Lover vedtatt på det ordentlige Storting. 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 Storting’s web page.

The following is the correct way 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.]

Translated legislation: The demand for translated Norwegian legislation has increased for several years. There has not been any systematic translation of Norwegian legislation, nor are the translations official or considered an authentic source of law. The University of Oslo Law Library has a database, Translated Norwegian Legislation, where translations of Norwegian legislation, acts and 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.

Lovdata launched a small database of translated legislation in 2017. It contains 38 translations as of February 2020. Keep in mind that the translations in both databases are not necessarily up to date regarding amendments.

Selected central legislation: Below 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 databases, Translated Norwegian Legislation and Translated Acts.

Civil procedure

Criminal Law

Other Important Statute Laws

2.1.3. Regulations

Regulations, forskrifter, are rules issued by the central administration under powers given to them by Acts of Parliament. According to the Public Administration Act articles 38 and 39, is it a requirement that regulations are published in Norsk Lovtidend. They are published electronically by Lovdata in Norsk Lovtidend, available free of charge from 2001 and forward. Central regulations are published in Norsk Lovtidend part I, while regional and local regulations are published in part II. Some older regulations, both central and local, are also available free-of-charge. Those who have a subscription to LovdataPro can access a more considerable amount of old regulations.

Regulations are cited as followed (it is referred to by the title and date of enactment): Forskrift om endring i forskrift Om pyrotekniske artikler av 04. juni 2015 nr. 590.

Translated regulations: Lovdata has a database of translated regulations. It contains 25 central regulations as of February 2020.

2.2. Preparatory Work

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 on the Storting to pass the bills. A short version of the legislative procedure is available from the website of the Storting.

Preparatory works to a statute are the official documents produced during the legislation making process. It is a part of the Norwegian legal tradition that the legislator can keep the text of a statute short due to the preparatory works has a significant role as a source of law. Preparatory works are considered an expression of the will and intention of the legislator. They can be used as a supplement to legislation or as a basis for the interpretation of the legal text. It is necessary to be observant of the fact that different types of preparatory works carry different weights. For instance, newer documents are often more thoroughly prepared than the older ones. Furthermore, a later contradicted statement in a preparatory work should not necessarily be emphasised.

Moreover, several different documents constitute preparatory works. There are three document types that should be taken into account as a primary legal source: official Norwegian Reports (NOU), Proposition to the Storting and recommendation to the Storting.

Another thing a researcher has to be observant about is that the documents regarded as preparatory works differ whether the legislative process was before or after the abolishment of the Odelsting and Lagting, on the first of October 2009. Before October 2009, the Storting was organised as a two-chamber system whereas today it is a one-chamber body.

The old document terms and abbreviations were:

The new document terms and abbreviations are:

More information about the documents is available in Norwegian from the Storting's page Nye publikasjonsbetegnelser. Official documents originating from the Storting and the Government are published in Stortingsforhandlingene, the proceedings of the Storting. Stortingsforhandlingene was published annually as nine-part work until 2009. It changed to a seven-part work after 2009. Nowadays is it only printed in approximately five copies. The documents are all made available online.

Pay attention to the fact that Official Norwegian Reports (NOUs) are not published in the proceedings of the Storting. NOUs are publication series containing reports from a committee appointed by the Government or a ministry.

Preparatory works published after 1999 are available free of charge through the Storting’s Norwegian webpage, just as are some older preparatory works. Those who understand Norwegian can easily follow the legislative process of the different statutes. The NOUs are available free of charge thru the Government webpage.

Older documents, i.e. documents published before 2005, are accessible through two free-of-charge databases. The databases supplement each other:

A subscriber to LovdataPro or Rettsdata can access many preparatory works but far less than the two free-of-charge databases above. The advantage of using LovdataPro or Rettsdata is the cross-links to other legal sources. Statements given by the legislator regarding the interpretation of the statute after the legislation has entered into force are called etterarbeider, subsequent legislative history. This kind of statements are acknowledged as a source of law, but the degree of importance is debated.

2.3. Case Law – Law Reports

Case law is a significant source of law. Judges of the courts and especially the Supreme Court are central appliers of law. 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 the Court of Justice Act, Domstolsloven, 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 other countries as Germany, and especially the USA.

Supreme Court judgements and court orders before 2016 were published in print in Norsk Retstidende (abbreviatedRt). Norsk Retstidende also contained justified court orders and decisions form the Appeal Committee of the Supreme Court. Norsk Retstidende was published approximately 26 to 30 times a year. An example of a reference to a judgment in Norsk retstidende is Rt. 2014 s. 1334, where the last number refers to the page. Lovdata published Norsk Retstidende only electronic after 2016 and stopped using the Rt. abbreviation. To retrieve a judgement, one can also use the reference number assigned to the judgment. Reference numbers are also applied to the older ones and are independent of if the judgement 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, District Courts (tingrettene) or Courts of Appeal (lagmannsrettene), were published between 1933 and 2014 in Rettens Gang (RG). The selection contained key decisions from the courts. Today practitioners will access selections of lower courts judgments through subscriptions to LovdataPro or Rettsdata or by contacting the different courts. Lovdata introduced flaggsaker as of 2014 to call attention to lower court cases that noteworthy. Most of Norsk retstidende and Rettens Gang are available through subscriptions to LovdataPro or Rettsdata. They may not be complete regarding the oldest volumes.

Reasoned judgements from the Supreme Court and selected lower court judgements made the last year are available free-of-charge in Norwegian from Lovdata. Most case law is only available in Norwegian. Lovdata has published a webpage with translated decisions from the supreme court starting in 2019. However, as stated on their webpage “In most cases only a summary of the decision is translated. The complete text is available for selected decisions.”

Judgements from some special courts reports are published in different printed law reports, for example:

LovdataPro contains judgements from several other special courts in addition to those collected in publications. However, the coverage in time and extent varies from court to court:

2.4. Administrative Practice

There have been disputes about administrative practice as a source of law. An argument against emphasizing administrative practice as a source of law is that they are not necessarily accessible to the public. However, the practice of public administrative agencies is often referred to and relied on by the Courts and the civil service itself, especially.

There are several different types of documents from the public administration that constitutes the administrative practice:

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

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

Literature is not a primary source of law, but it can be used as an advisory source. Moreover, as for all research, the researcher has to be critical of the sources.

Commentaries to legislation and international instruments can be useful to form a general idea about a primary source of law. Most of the commentaries are only available in print. However, more and more commentaries are available for subscribers through databases:

Research libraries in Norway use Oria as their discovery tool for finding information. The purpose is that the user shall be able to find “everything” that is available from their library. Unfortunately, Oria does not meet the expectations for the legal discipline and especially Norwegian law. Oria is still the primary discovery tool to find books, journals, databases and many legal articles. Nevertheless, one does not necessarily find everything since many legal journals and databases lack indexing on article or source level. It is, therefore, essential, to have knowledge of other search tools than Oria such as Google Scholar.

Selected Norwegian e-Journals and Literature in Selected Databases: LovdataPro contains as of February 2020 approximately 8500 full-text law articles earlier published in journals, legal festschriften and other publications. Lovdata is a vital source to find older literature that is not otherwise electronic available. LovdataPro also contains other journals and literature:

Rettsdata is a source to other legal literature, besides Norsk Lovkommentar. They provide access to e-books searchable in Oria by title. See the overview of literature in Rettsdata. Rettsdata also contains four e-journals:

Idunn.no is a subscription database indexed and searchable in Oria. It is worth mentioning since it contains a wide range of academic journals within different subjects and some central legal journals. Legal journals in Idunn are:

Advokatforeningen, the Norwegian Bar Association, has more than 6500 members, and about 94 percent of the attorneys in Norway are members. The association publishes Advokatbladet with information about lawyers and short articles about recent legislation and case law. It also contains a separate section with news about legal sources. The other significant association of Norwegian lawyers, Norges Juristforbund, Norwegian Association of Lawyers, publishes Juristen, 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.

Rett24 is a wire service that publishes news and debates within the field of law.

2.6. Custom

The custom between private parties is of less importance today than before. Usage is, however, still an essential source of law within specific areas. Some of the private conflict-solving bodies publish their decisions. Among these are The Norwegian Financial Services Complaints Board (Finansklagenemnda (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 are not any lists of equitable considerations that are legitimate to take into account. Case law is a source to find out how the judges use equitable considerations. Which equitable considerations that are considered relevant will vary with the facts of the different cases.

2.8. Treaties

As mentioned earlier are international legal instruments relevant sources of law due to Norway’s international obligations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for Norges traktater, Norwegian treaties, a database hosted by Lovdata. The register provides an online overview of and information about all treaties Norway is a party. Full-text is available from 1992 and up to today. LovdataPro users have access to the same database with cross-links to other material in addition to other selected treaties in full-text.

The texts in the database Norges Traktater are derived from the publication Overenskomster med fremmede stater, Agreements with foreign states, often referred to as Overenskomster. The publication contains all Agreements with foreign states where Norway is a party. The text published is both in the authentic language of the treaty and an official Norwegian translation. However, even though the translation is official, is it not an authoritative source to Norway’s international obligations. Overenskomster dates back to 1879 and is published irregularly.

Treaty database is a collection of treaties edited by Professor Ole Kristian Fauchald at the University of Oslo. It is funded by the sales of Global and Regional Treaties, by Ole Kristian Fauchald and Bård Sverre Tuseth (eds.). The target group of the database are law students.

Important treaties were occasionally collected and issued. Examples of collections:

3. Legal Education in Norway

Legal studies in Norway have traditionally been programs of professional studies. In recent years, several university colleges and some new universities have begun offering a one-year program and bachelor programs in legal subjects. These do not necessarily result in qualifications to complete an ordinary law degree. Utdanning.no has a complete list in Norwegian of legal education in Norway. Three universities offer master’s degree programs in Norway. All three of them have high-quality research libraries that are excellent starting points for legal research.

3.1. University of Oslo – UiO

The Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo offers different master programs, a bachelor program in criminology and a one-year program also in Criminology. Master’s of Law, Rettsvitenskap, is a five-year program with the main-focus on Norwegian law but also some international law. The program leads to a master’s degree in law. Other master programs in law offered at the University of Oslo are:

The Faculty has as of December 2019 a Center for Excellence in Education called CELL. CELL is short for Centre on Experiential Legal Learning and works with developing new teaching methods in legal education.

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 location of the library is at the city centre campus that holds the Faculty of Law. It reopened January 2020 in the brand new faculty building, Domus Juridica. The library consists of two libraries, the Law Library in Domus Juridica and the Library for Legal History in the old Library building, Domus Bibliotheca. The Legal history Library is only accessible after an appointment. The library has a subject page for law used as a starting point during library courses for students, and by other library patrons.

3.2. University of Bergen – UiB

The Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen offers a program of professional study in law. It is also a five-year program, mainly taught in Norwegian, with the main focus on Norwegian law but also some international law. The program leads to a master’s degree in law. Also, do they offer a two-year master’s program for students with a bachelor in Law from the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, The University of Agder or The University of Stavanger

3.2.1. The Law Library in Bergen

The University of Bergen has a library for legal subjects and law. The location of the library is at Dragefjelletin the Faculty of Law building. The library 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, the program is also a five-year program, mainly taught in Norwegian, with the main focus on Norwegian law but also some international law. Graduates earn a master’s degree in law. Tromsø also offers a Master of Laws in Law of the Sea and a Joint Nordic Master´s Programme in Environmental Law.

3.3.1. The Library in Tromsø

While Oslo and Bergen have dedicated law libraries, Tromsø has combined the subjects’ psychology and law in one branch library located at the campus, the Psychology and Law Library. The University Library of Tromsø provides a joint start page for all their libraries.

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 edition is the 15th from 2019. The book is comprehensive with many contributing writers, and it contains brief introductions to various legal subjects.

Innføring i juss: juridisk tenkning og rettskildelære,(2010)by Erik Boe containsadvice on study methods, legal theory and a summary of certain areas of law. Innføring i rettsstudiet,(2002)by Johs. Andenæs, Rettskildelære, (2009) by Mads Henry Andenæs, Rettskildelære, (2001)by Torstein Eckhoff and Rettskilder og juridisk metode (1998) by Carl August Fleischer are selected introductory works on source of law theory and legal method. A more extensive and up to date presentation on sources of law theory, legal method and legal way of thinking is Juridisk metode og tenkemåte, (2019) edited by Alf Petter Høgberg and Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde

4.2. Bibliographies

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:

4.3. Law Bibliographies

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

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

BibJure 4.0 is an electronic library system developed especially for Norwegian lawyers and courts of justice by Jussystemer AS. Pål A. Bertnes has developed the legal part of the database. The legal part contains a detailed index, BibJure Index used in Norges Lover, Norsk Retstidende and Rettens Gang.

Many Norwegian legal publications issue annual indexes. The most central publications also issue general indexes, accumulated over long periods.

4.4. Dictionaries

4.4.1. Legal Dictionaries in Norwegian

Juridisk nettvisercontains links to dictionaries available on the Internet. Other published Norwegian law dictionaries are:

4.4.2. Legal Dictionaries in Foreign Languages

These may also be of interest to foreigners:

5. Statistics

The leading supplier of statistics in Norway is the public institution Statistics Norway, which publishes weekly, monthly, and annual statistics on most areas of society, including law and legal institutions, education, trade and business. The statistics are available 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 available 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