Institutions that Define the Policy-Making Role of Courts: A Comparative Analysis of the Supreme Courts of Scandinavia

Forthcoming, International Journal of Constitutional Law

38 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2023

See all articles by Anna Wallerman Ghavanini

Anna Wallerman Ghavanini

University of Gothenburg - Department of Law

Gunnar Grendstad

Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen

Johan Karlsson Schaffer

University of Gothenburg - School of Global Studies; University of Oslo - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 11, 2022

Abstract

Scandinavian supreme courts have been described as deferential to the elected branches of government and reluctant to exercise their limited review powers. However, in recent years these courts have increasingly decided cases impacting public policy making. Yet we lack comprehensive, comparative knowledge about the legal rules and judicial practices that govern the policy-making role of courts in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Addressing this gap, this article develops an analytical framework and systematically compares the evolving laws, rules and practices that regulate the supreme courts’ constitutional review powers and court administration, the appointment and tenure of judges, access to the supreme courts, and their decision-making procedures during the last 50 years. The comparison reveals notable institutional differences across these judiciaries and finds that judicial expansion in Scandinavia has coincided with institutional changes that enhance judicial autonomy. This suggests that consequential reforms of domestic origin may have played a larger part in this development than previously appreciated.

Keywords: judicial independence, Scandinavia, supreme courts, judicial politics, judicial review, judicialization, court administration, judicial appointments

Suggested Citation

Wallerman Ghavanini, Anna and Grendstad, Gunnar and Karlsson Schaffer, Johan, Institutions that Define the Policy-Making Role of Courts: A Comparative Analysis of the Supreme Courts of Scandinavia (March 11, 2022). Forthcoming, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4343049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4343049

Anna Wallerman Ghavanini

University of Gothenburg - Department of Law ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg
Sweden

Gunnar Grendstad

Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen ( email )

N-5008 Bergen
Norway

Johan Karlsson Schaffer (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg - School of Global Studies ( email )

POB 700
Gothenburg, SE 40530
Sweden

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavsplass
Oslo, 0130
Norway

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