Norwegian courts system

Abalord

Member
Hebrew
Hey everyone, I'm trying to understand a trial scene in Knut Hamsun's Markens Grøde, and I'm not sure what exactly are the titles and positions of some of the elements here.
The words I'm struggling with are: Lagretten, Lagmannen, Dommerne.

My initial understanding was that this is a jury system, Lagretten are the jury who will eventually decide the guilt, and lagmannen is just the residing judge who keeps everything in order. however, in the end of the scene, Dommerne are those who go out of the court hall to consult and decide, and I thought this word means "judges". also, the English translation replaces Lagretten with "the court", and there is no mention of jury. Wikipedia states there were several transformation over the years from one system to another, so that just adds to my confusion.

Can anyone help me decipher this? thank you!
 
  • raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Hi Abalord,

    This depends on what kind of court and case it is. This must be the regional court (lagmannsretten), since there is a lagmann there. But is it a civil or a criminal case, and if it is a criminal case, how serious is the crime?
     

    Abalord

    Member
    Hebrew
    It's a criminal case, I suppose there are no juries in civil cases. the defendant is accused of murdering her baby, and the trial is held in Bergen, far from the rural community where the crime was committed, and I believe it's suppose to be late 19th or early 20th century.
     

    Abalord

    Member
    Hebrew
    If it will help, I can paste here the entire scene. it's from Gutenberg project so there are no rights violations.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I can try to answer first, without reading the text. Even though there have been changes in the system, I believe this case would have had a jury and three judges. Lagmannen is the leading judge (administrator of the court), and dommerne are the three professional judges (lagmannen and the two others).

    Lagrett is a more tricky word. It means jury, but it is a legal term and little known among non-lawyers (who use "jury" instead). Since this word is unusual, it is easy to confuse it with "lagmannsrett" (the regional court). Maybe the translator made this mistanke.

    The jury decides on the question of guilt. But if the defendant is found guilty by the jury, the three judges have to leave the room to discuss and decide on the sentence.

    Does this make sense?
     

    Abalord

    Member
    Hebrew
    I'm not sure. there is no mention of "lagretten" discussing anything. this word is mostly mentioned in the lawyers speeches, e.g."lagretten have heard the testimonies; lagretten must acquit" and so on.

    only after "Dommerne" consult in a separate chamber there is a statement that the accused is free, the text is quite obscure as to who exactly decide what:

    Det ble tændt Lys, et Par Lamper skinnet ned fra Loftet, et elendig Lys som Lagmannen ikke syntes å se sine Notater ved. Han påtalte nokså skarpt å ikke det lille Barns Dødsfald var blitt mældt til Autoriteterne; men — sa han — det måtte under de forhåndenværende Omstændigheter nærmest ha blitt Barnefarns Sak og ikke Morns, eftersom hun var for svak til det. Så var det da å Lagretten skulle avgjøre om her forelå Barnefødsel i Dølgsmål og Barnemord. Det ble atter engang forklaret fra Ende til annen. Derpå fulgte det sædvanlige Pålæg om å være seg Ansvaret bevisst, hva Lagretten var blitt indprentet før, og endelig det ikke ukjente Råd å i Tvilstilfelle skulle Avgjørelsen komme Anklagede tilgode.

    Nu var det hele klart.

    Så gikk Dommerne ut av Salen og inn i et Kammers. De skulle rådslå over et Papir med Spørsmål som en av dem hadde fått med seg. De var borte i fem Minutter og kom tilbake med Nei til alle Spørsmålene.

    Nei Piken Barbro hadde ikke dræpt Barnet sitt.

    Så talte Lagmannen et Par Ord igjen og sa å Piken Barbro var fri.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thanks for the text. It is clear from this text that lagretten is the jury and lagmannen the (leading) judge, and that he is giving the jury several instructions (about being responsible, about the principle of the benefit of the doubt, etc) .

    The problem is "dommerne". They are discussing the question of guilt, which is the task of the jury. Sentencing is not relevant here, since Barbro is found not guilty.

    Therefore, "Dommerne" seems to refer to the jury. Maybe Hamsun uses this word with an extended meaning: even though the jury aren't professional judges, they are making the judgement on the question of guilt.
     
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