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Norway: Big Win for Unions against the State in the Supreme Court

The question before the Supreme Court was whether a party – with legal assistance from his union had made an administrative complaint in a social security case – could claim the legal costs associated with the complaint covered under the Public Administration Act section 36, even though the party itself would not bear the costs due to union membership.

The membership in the union meant that the party would not be charged for the legal assistance he received, and that any legal costs he possibly would be awarded from the other party would go in full to the union.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Public Administration Act section 36 must be interpreted so that a party can claim costs incurred by a third party when successfully changing an administrative decision in the party’s interest on behalf of the party, even if the party has not suffered any costs.

What does the Supreme Court ruling means for unions and other equivalents? It means that establishments will be able to recover their costs when, on behalf of a party, they are able to modify a previous administrative decision in the party’s interest. This obviously has a great financial impact which, in turn, makes the unions able to provide legal assistance to even more of their members. The result is a better legal aid scheme, which is highly valued.


For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Norway, please contact Kari Andersen (Partner) of Storeng, Beck & Due Lund: SBDL at kari.andersen@sbdl.no or visit www.sbdl.no.