Fourteen judges assume their posts today in the newly formed Land’s Court, which adds a third tier to Iceland’s judicial system, RÚV reports.
The Land’s Court, or Landsréttur, is a mid-tier court created to handle cases in between the District Courts and the Supreme Court of Iceland. Decisions by one of the eight District Courts in Iceland are appealed to Landsréttur and its decisions will be final. In exceptional cases, and with the permission of the Supreme Court, decisions by Landsréttur can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Iceland.
Landsréttur consists of 15 judges, 14 of whom assume their post today. The fifteenth, Hervör L. Þorvaldsdóttir, began working several months ago to prepare for the court’s opening. The court will now take over all outstanding cases that have been appealed to the Supreme Court of Iceland, which number around 70.
Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Andersen received heavy criticism this year from opposition MPs for failing to follow the recommendations of a selection committee in her nominations to the new court. The four individuals who were passed over by the minister have all sued the state for compensation and damages. In the cases of nominees Ástráður Haraldsson and Jóhannes Rúnar Jóhannsson, the Supreme Court recently ruled they be compensated ISK 700,000 (USD 6,800/EUR 5,600) but denied their claim to liability for damages.