Department of Comparative Politics

Judicial Behavior

Norwegian Supreme Court
Sturlason: Norges Høyesterett.

Main content

Supreme Court justices are overlooked, but important, national policy-making players who render final and consequential decisions across a wide range of cases. The decisional behavior of an individual justice is a function of his or her notion as to what makes ‘good’ law, pursued in a cultural-collegial setting that is oriented by majoritarian requirements, while constrained by the legal nature of the case being considered.

Since the 1990s, the Norwegian Supreme Court has transformed itself from a court of resolving individual cases into a powerful policy-making court of precedents. A key part of the research project on judicial behavior includes the Doranoh database that links cases, justices and votes. 


Gunnar Grendstad

William R. Shaffer

Eric N. Waltenburg

Henrik Litlerè Bentsen

Jon Kåre Skiple


Key publications:

Bentsen, H. L. (2014). Dissenser i Norges Høyesterett. Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning, 55(1), 3-22.

Bentsen, H. L. (forthcoming). Court Leadership, Agenda Transformation, and Judicial Dissent: A European Case of a 'Mysterious Demise of Consensual Norms'. Journal of Law and Courts.

Grendstad, G., Shaffer, W. R., Skiple, J. K., & Waltenburg, E. N. (2015). Statsvennlighet i Norges Høyesterett 1963-2013. Norsk Statsvitenskapelig Tidsskrift, 31(4), 305-332.

Grendstad, G., Shaffer, W. R., & Waltenburg, E. N. (2010). Revealed Preferences of Norwegian Supreme Court Justices. Tidsskrift for Rettsvitenskap, 123(1), 73-101.

Grendstad, G., Shaffer, W. R., & Waltenburg, E. N. (2011). When justices disagree. The Influence of Ideology and Geography on Economic Voting on the Norwegian Supreme Court. Retfærd, 34(1), 3-22.

Grendstad, G., Shaffer, W. R., & Waltenburg, E. N. (2015). Policy Making in an Independent Judiciary. The Norwegian Supreme Court. Colchester, UK: ECPR Press.

Shaffer, W. R., Grendstad, G., & Waltenburg, E. N. (2015). Is Diversity Just for Show? Diversity and Appointment to the Norwegian Supreme Court 1945-2011. Retfærd, 38(1), 18-42.

Grendstad, G., Shaffer, W. R., & Waltenburg, E. N. (2017). Norway - Managed Openness and Transparency. In R. Davis & D. Taras (Eds.), Justices and Journalists: The Global Perspective (pp. 235-254). New York: Cambridge.

Skiple, J. K. (2015). Ei konkret vurdering i kvart enkelt tilfelle. Ein fleirnivåanalyse av økonomisk stemmegiving i Høgsterett i tidsrommet 1991-2011. Norsk Statsvitenskapelig Tidsskrift, 31(4), 278-304.

Skiple, J. K., Grendstad, G., Shaffer, W. R., & Waltenburg, E. N. (2016). Supreme Court Justices’ Economic Behavior. A Multi-Level Model Analysis. Scandinavian Political Studies, 39(1), 73-94.