Information about the legal framework and the procedure

Decisions adopted by NAV Klageinstans, Helseklage and a number of pension funds can be appealed to the National Insurance Court. Decisions from public occupational pensions by the Government Pension Fund (SPK) and the Municipal National Pension Fund (KLP) can also be appealed.

Decisions by NAV and Helseklage cannot be appealed to the National Insurance Court until you have made a complaint against the decision directly to the public authority. The pension funds do not have corresponding internal appeal procedures.

The public authority or pension fund have a duty to inform the private party about the right to complain and about any right to appeal to the National Insurance Court.

Certain decisions, by their nature, cannot be appealed to the National Insurance Court. The public authority or pension fund that made the decision provide further information about this.

The person who appeals a case before the National Insurance Court is called the appellant (ankende part). This could be a person who has been refused a benefit by NAV Klageinstans or SPK.

The public authority or pension fund that made the decision, for example NAV Klageinstans or SPK, is called the respondent (ankemotpart).

The deadline for appeal is 6 weeks from the decision received. It starts running when a written notification of the decision, the right to appeal and the time limit for appeal has reached the private party. This deadline is strict. If the appeal deadline is exceeded, the right to appeal lapses and the appeal will normally be rejected. This means that the appeal will not be considered.

The National Insurance Court normally decides appeals after a written procedure only. The decision is made on the basis of the written pleadings by the parties and other documents in the case. In exceptional circumstances there may be a hearing.

The court has a duty to ensure that it has sufficient information to decide the case. The court may obtain additional information if necessary.

The court may quash the decision and return the case to the public authority or insurance fund that adopted the decision, or it may hand down an order which effectively decides the case on the merits. It may go beyond the parties 'claims if it is in favour of the appellant, and is not bound by the parties' arguments. However, the parties shall be given an opportunity to state their views if it is relevant to decide the case on the basis of circumstances that are not affected in the decision or in the appeal.

The decisions of the National Insurance Court are adopted in the form of an order (kjennelse).

The procedural rules applicable in proceedings before the National Insurance Court are adopted in the form of an order (kjennelse).

In the National Insurance Court, each case is allocated to a legally qualified member of the court (judge), who will administer the proceedings. The National Insurance Court also has non-legal members, who are either medical doctors or vocational rehabilitation experts. The medical doctors are licensed physicians.

Any member of the court can be compared to a judge in the ordinary courts. A legal assistant is employed for a fixed term, and can be compared to an assistant judge in the district court.

Cases raising purely legal questions, such as the calculation of pensions, are dealt with by legal members of the court only.

A considerable number of cases raise medical questions or questions concerning rehabilitaion. In these cases, the appeal will be handled by a panel consisting of a doctor and a rehabilitation expert, in addition to the legal member (the administrator).

The majority of cases in the National Insurance Court are decided by a panel of two. If they disagree, or the case is difficult or complex, another member of the court is involved.

Appeals in the National Insurance Court are free of charge.

Legal fees are not always reimbursed.

If your appeal is upheld, any necessary costs will normally be reimbursed, including legal fees. If the legal fees exceeds what the court deems necessary, only parts of the fee will be reimbursed.

If you do not win the case, you may be entitled to legal aid. There are income and asset limits, and exemptions are normally not granted from these. Information about the legal aid scheme can be found here.

The court hearing the case is responsible for ensuring that it is adequately informed, and may also go beyond the parties' claims and arguments. It is therefore not necessary to use a lawyer when appealing to the National Insurance Court. Many people still choose to use a lawyer. Costs for a lawyer will usually only be covered if the appeal is upheld. If the case is not upheld, in some cases it will still be possible to cover the costs of a lawyer through the scheme with free legal aid.

Orders handed down by the National Insurance Court are subject to judicial review by the Court of Appeal. A judicial review case is brought to the Court of Appeal at the location of the appellant’s ordinary venue. See the Court of Appeal’s website for more information.

The deadline for legal action is six months from the time the party has received the National Insurance Court's ruling. The lawsuit is directed against the public authority or insurance fund that was the respondent in the case before the National Insurance Court. If NAV was the respondent, the lawsuit must be directed against the Directorate of Labour and Welfare.

The Court of Appeal will review the legality of the National Insurance Court's order. The review encompasses procedural and substantive points of law, as well as the National Insurance Court’s consideration of the evidence. If the Court of Appeal holds that the National Insurance Court's ruling is unlawful, it will be quashed. The case will be returned to the public authority or insurance fund, which adopted the original decision. The Court of Appeal cannot adopt a new decision on the merits of the case.

The appeal must be submitted to the public authority or insurance fund that made the decision you wish to challenge. The appeal should not be sent directly to the National Insurance Court. This enables the public authority or insurance fund to reconsider the case and reverse the decision. In addition, that authority or pension fund is responsible for preparing the appeal before the National Insurance Court.

An appeal can be submitted in writing and orally. In the case of an oral appeal, the public authority or insurance fund that made the decision shall ensure that the appeal is set up in writing and sign it together with the appellant. In the case of a written appeal, it is sufficient to write a letter stating that you disagree with the decision. The appeal should also be substantiated by explaining why you think the decision is wrong and what decision you think should be adopted. It is of utmost importance that the appeal is submitted within the deadline. The appeal may be supplemented later.

NAV has its own appeal form which can be used if desired. These can be found on NAV's website.

If the decision is not reversed, but is maintained after the relevant authority or insurance fund has reconsidered the case, that authority or fund sends the case to the National Insurance Court together with a summary of both the appellant's and the respondent’s arguments and positions. The appellant shall receive a copy of the letter and have an opportunity to provide comments.

When the National Insurance Court has received the case, information about the proceedings is sent to the appellant. After the case has been received by the National Insurance Court, it can be contacted for any questions.

If you are considering an appeal, and have questions, you should contact the public authority or pension fund that made the decision as soon as possible. As stated above, it is important that the appeal deadline is met.