A majority in Parliament asked the government in 2015 to replace its appeals court jury system with a combination of professional and lay judges. Now the historic reform has taken shape, reports newspaper Aftenposten.
Instead of having a 10-member jury decide on guilt or innocence in Norway’s most serious criminal cases, they’ll now be heard in Norwegian appeals courts by two professional judges and five lay judges chosen from the public.
The reform changes the way cases have been decided for 130 years. The goal was to improve the rule of law, but some lawyers and judges were objecting on Friday. They had favoured a composition of three professional judges and four lay judges.
At least five of the seven judges must vote for convictions, including one of the professional judges. Sentencing will continue to be determined by the professional judges in cases with maximum jail terms of less than six years, but by all seven in cases with longer prospective jail terms.
The reform was signed by representatives for the Conservative, Progress and Christian Democrats parties and will be forwarded to Parliament for a final vote later this spring.