Extra costs led to higher expenses
The indicators for the dispute resolution bodies show a 9 per cent increase in costs in 2012 compared to the year before. A big part of this increase is due to extra costs following the criminal case in Oslo District Court regarding the terrorism on 22 July 2011.
|Own production (NOK million)
|Contracted man-years adjusted for long term leaves, total
The total expenditure for the courts and other dispute resolution bodies was NOK 4 186 million in 2012. The expenditure for the bodies’ own operation , known as own production in the statistics, makes up 92.5 per cent of this. Additionally, there were money transfers totalling NOK 314 million, mainly relating to transfers for free legal aid. These kinds of money transfers made up approximately the same share of the total expenditure for the conflict resolution bodies as the year before, around 7.5 per cent.
Compared to the year before, the operating expenses increased by 9.4 per cent in 2012. Underlying the operating expenses, wage costs increased by 6.7 per cent and expenses relating to the purchase of goods and services increased by 11.8 per cent.
Higher costs from purchases of goods and services
The share of operating expenses relating to the purchase of goods and services is relatively high in this part of the justice sector, and also compared to other parts of the central government . The high share of costs from the purchase of goods and services is partly due to relatively high disbursements for counsel for the defence and counsel for the aggrieved party and other special criminal case expenditures.
The courts and other dispute resolution bodies included in these statistics saw a total of NOK 2 091 million in expenses for the purchase of goods and services in 2012. This is NOK 221 million more than the previous year, where all courts and dispute resolution bodies had an increase for these kinds of expenses. In absolute figures, the increase was clearly highest for the Districts Courts and the Courts of Appeal, with a NOK 82 million increase from the year before. Additionally, the underlying special criminal case expenditure amounted to NOK 1 019 million in 2012, which was NOK 115 million more than in 2011.
Also an increase in wage costs
Wage costs amounted to NOK 1 763 million in 2012; NOK 110 million more than in 2011. All dispute resolution bodies had a somewhat similar percentage increase in wage costs. In absolute figures, however, the District Courts and the Appeal Courts saw by far the biggest increase, with NOK 65 million more than in 2011.
22 July criminal case contributed to cost increase in 2012
Part of the wage cost increase, especially for special criminal case expenditure and Oslo District Court, can be attributed to extra costs in 2012 for the criminal case processing regarding the terrorism of 22 July 2011. From allocations and more detailed accounting figures, this particular criminal case seems to have had far greater influence on the increase in expenses for the purchase of goods and services. Seemingly, the majority of the total increase in special criminal case expenditure, and a big part of the increase in the purchase of goods and services in the District Courts and the Appeal Courts, is due to extra expenditures in 2012.
In summary, for the courts and other dispute resolution bodies, the share of operating expenses used for the purchase of goods and services increased to over 54 per cent, partly due to this particular case.
About the same number of man-years in the courts and in judge positions
In the courts and other dispute resolution bodies, there were a total of 2 058 contracted man-years adjusted for long term leave in 2012. Of these, 1 618 man-years were attributed to the ordinary courts. Both of these man-year figures were at about the same level as the year before.
There were 1 277 man-years in the District Courts in 2012. Based on the same reference period, this is somewhat fewer than the year before, yet significantly more than in the four previous years. There are far more man-years in the Districts Courts than in other courts, and 61 per cent out of all man-years in 2012 were connected to the District Courts. Correspondingly, 14 per cent of the man-years were in the Appeal Courts, 11 per cent in the Land Consolidation Court and 3 per cent in the Supreme Court.
In 2012, a total of 750 man-years were carried out by judges, whereof 666 man-years were in the ordinary courts. Both in total and for the ordinary courts, this is around the same as in 2011. Also for non-judge positions, man-year figures from 2011 to 2012 were relatively stable, following the significant increase in these kinds of positions from 2010 to 2011 . Compared to the same reference period the year before, there were slightly more of these positions in the Land Consolidation Courts and somewhat fewer in the District Courts in 2012.
Same volume of cases in the ordinary courts
According to the Norwegian Courts Administration, 15 600 civil disputes and 62 600 criminal cases were processed in the court of first instance (mainly the District Courts) in 2012. The courts of the second instance processed 1 378 criminal cases and 1 951 civil appeals against rulings. The Supreme Court settled 148 cases in 2012, of which 82 were civil cases and 66 were criminal cases
In total, the ordinary courts processed about the same number of criminal and civil cases as in the year before. Furthermore, the Land Consolidation Court (including the land appeal courts) processed 1 220 civil cases in 2012, which is 5 per cent more than in 2011.
More single-judge cases, and fewer composite court cases, in the first instance
Within each instance, the composition of the courts can vary, for example with a different number of judges. This is decided from what type of case that is to be processed, and the courts use of resources can therefore be quite different for different types of cases.
In the first instance, nearly as many criminal cases were processed in total in 2012 as in the year before. During the same period, however, 1 088 or just over 2 per cent more single-judge cases were processed and 640 or 4 per cent fewer composite court cases. These changes enhance the trend we have seen for criminal cases in recent years, with a continual increase in the number of single-judge cases, and a stable or declining number of composite court cases.
For most types of cases and compositions of judges in the different instances, the average processing time increased slightly from 2011 to 2012. However, for criminal, single-judge cases in the first instance and civil cases in the Land Consolidation Court, the average processing time was slightly reduced.