Full text: Iceland 1930

Under special circumstances the king may decide that legal pro- 
ceedings for offences committed shall be stopped. He may also grant 
pardons and amnesty. He cannot, however, without the sarction of 
Althingi, quash the impeachment of a minister or free him from suffer- 
ing the punishment to which he has been sentenced by the high court 
of the realm. The king may, either himself or through the authorities, 
grant licences and allow exemptions from the laws, but only accord- 
ing to the rules which were observed under such circumstances before 
the constitution came into force, i. e. before Aug. 1st 1874. 
According to § 2 of the constitution, the administration of justice is 
exercised by judges. Other authorities can, therefore, neither alter nor 
influence the decisions of the courts. The constitution, moreover, pre- 
scribes that the courts shall settle all points of dispute, that may arise 
respecting the extent of power possessed by the officials. This implies 
that whenever there is a doubt whether the executive or judicial au- 
thority is to be exercised in a matter, the decision rests with the 
courts. As regards laws (provisional as well as other laws) the courts 
shall decide whether or not they conflict with the constitution; and as 
the judges in all their official duties are to be guided solely by the 
law, the executive can in no possible way dictate to them how to give 
their decisions. The king appoints the judges, and the government 
supervises the discharge of their duties and has the power to prose- 
cute them in case of official misdemeanour. To safeguard the indepe- 
dence of the judges against any such interference on the part of the 
executive, the constitution provides ihat those of them who have no 
other administrative duties cannot be removed from the bench against 
their will, except by a legal judgment having been passed upon them; 
nor can a judge be transferred from one office to another against 
his will, except in case of a new system being introduced. When a 
judge has reached the age of 65 years, he may be allowed to retire 
on full salary. This provision is, however, of minor importance, as it 
applies only to those judges who have no adminitstrative duties, for 
in most cases the judges at the lower courts exercise administrative 
functions as well. Finally the constitution prescribes that the system 
of administration of justice can only be fixed by an act of parliament. 
It is, however, held that the king can appoint judicial commissions to 
deal with special cases. 
The courts of law are of two kinds, ordinary and special. In the

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