From Backlogs to Quality Assurance. The Development of Law Clerk Units at Norwegian Courts
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal for Court Administration. 2020, 11 (3). https://doi.org/10.36745/ijca.352
The Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) approves the role of law clerks assisting judges in their decision making but cautions against clerks replacing judges. In this article we put CCJE’s caution to a test and study law clerks at the Norwegian Supreme Court and the Borgarting and the Gulating courts of appeal, the country’s two largest courts of appeal. The general pattern for all three courts is that the pretext for hiring clerks changes from backlog problems to quality assurance, that clerks become organized in separate units, that the number of tasks performed by clerks increases, and that women constitute an outsized presence in the clerk units. The growth in clerks contribute to institutionalizing courts. We conclude that clerks perform tasks of the judges, that they replace judges, that clerks unfluence decision making, but that clerks have not become judges or make final decisions.