The Supreme Court opens its doors during child welfare cases

Supreme Court Sleep RapeThe Norwegian Supreme Court Building. Photo: Høyesterett
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Normally, child welfare cases take place behind closed doors, but for three cases that are to be dealt with in the coming weeks, the Supreme Court has arranged for open doors.

The decision is related to the fact that there is currently a great deal of public interest in the handling of child welfare cases in general for Norwegian courts, the Supreme Court states.

The trials of the three Supreme Court cases start on Tuesday and continue until the following Monday.

This is happening after Norway has been involved in several child welfare cases in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

ECHR critical of Norwegian practice
The ECHR has been particularly critical of the Norwegian practice with strict conditions for parenting rights at care transfers. The Supreme Court’s decisions may lead to a new practice in both the District Court and the Court of Appeal in such cases in the future, especially with regard to conditions of access.

“The aim of the Supreme Court is to provide guidance for child welfare authorities and the courts in future cases, and to look at the need for adjustment after the judgments in Strasbourg,” Supreme Court Justice Toril Marie Øie told FriFagbevegelse recently.

The Supreme Court emphasizes that the interests of privacy for both parties and children must be safeguarded, but the court has wanted to make arrangements for as many as possible to follow the trials. But it will not use names of the children, parties or municipalities.

Also for the public
In addition to the parties and journalists, there will be room for some common audience in the hall where the cases are being handled, as well as in two rooms that will transmit sound and image.

“To ensure privacy, sensitive information will also not be read out in court, but the attorneys will be able to refer to page numbers and paragraphs, so that the court can mark what is said. If the court-appointed experts are to explain themselves to the court, it will be appropriate to close the doors under this explanation,” the Supreme Court states.

There will be a ban on photography and filming – with the exception of the press that can apply for this. There will also be a ban on audio recording, which also includes recording with a mobile phone.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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