Full text: Iceland 1930

former are tried all kinds of cases, save those which are expressly 
excepted; in the latter are heard such cases as specially fall within 
their provinces. 
The ordinary judicial court has two instances: the first instance is 
the lower court, presided over, in the country, by the district magistrate, 
in the town, by the town magistrate. The country is divided into 24 
Lower Court Jurisdictions, i. e. 16 districts (sy¥slur) and 8 towns (kaup- 
stadir), whereas the lower cour! judges are but 21 in all. The second 
instance is the Supreme Court in Reykjavik, consisting of 3 judges. 
As a general rule, the special judicial court has two instances, the 
supreme court being the higher instance. Some of the special courts 
consist of an ordinary lower court judge and lay judges, e. g. the 
Maritime Court, which fries cases dealing with legal questions arising 
out of shipping. Other special courts are organized on different lines. 
The most important of these is the High Court of the Realm, whose 
task it is to deliver judgment in first and last instance in cases 
brought against ministers for the discharge of their official duties. It 
comprises certain ,ex-officio“ officials of the legal profession and 
members chosen by district and town councils, fifteen in all. A special 
court of appeal is the Ecclesiastical Court which consists of three 
members of the supreme court and two ecclesiastical members, and 
delivers judgment, in the last instance, in all cases over which it holds 
jurisdiction. Juries are never employed in the trial of criminal cases. 
Before a civil lawsuit can be brought info a lower court, the general 
rule is that it must first be referred to a board of conciliation which 
mediates between the parties to the dispute. Sometimes the judge him- 
self undertakes the mediation, but in the majority of cases the medi- 
ation is performed by the conciliation boards which are appointed for 
this purpose, and may also in minor debt cases decide a case by giv- 
ing a ruling. 
At the supreme court pleadings are oral; at the district courts 
(lower courts) the system of written procedure is used. Certain lawyers 
are authorized to plead in the supreme court. In the lower courts 
anybody may plead. 
The constitution contains a number of provisions intended to safe- 
guard the subjects in the enjoyment of certain rights, and also a few 
clauses on their civic duties generally. Thus the constitution prescribes 
that there shall be freedom of the press; liberty to hold meetings; li-

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