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Oral hearing at the county administrative court

There will usually not be any hearing at the administrative court, but the case will be determined through the court considering and assessing the circumstances that form the basis of the case. But an oral hearing can be held on the initiative of either the court or a party in the case. 

An oral hearing almost always takes place in cases involving compulsory mental care and compulsory care of substance abusers and young people. The administrative court can also hold an oral hearing in other cases, if this may help the investigation.

In cases concerning social insurance (for example the right to sickness or parental benefit), and cases under the Social Services Act (the right to have various kinds of allowances), it is unusual for the administrative court to hold an oral hearing. It is also unusual to have verbal hearings in most kinds of tax cases.

An oral hearing is held in aliens and nationality cases, for example, in cases relating to applications for asylum.

The aim of the oral hearing is that it should supplement the written processing so that the case is investigated as thoroughly as possible. The decision of the court is based both on the written investigation and by what has been established at the hearing.

Who attends the oral hearing?

The court will give notice to attend oral hearings to the parties and any representatives or public counsel (a lawyer who protects the interests of the parties in the case), witnesses and experts, together with an interpreter, where necessary. An oral hearing is in principle open to the public unless the administrative court decides that it is to take place behind 'closed doors' (in camera) (that is to say that the public are refused access to the courtroom). In cases involving compulsory care, it is common for the court to decide on closed doors.

Hearings can also take place behind closed doors in cases relating to applications for asylum. This is done to protect the private individual when details are revealed about the individual's circumstances, such as details of persecution, torture, etc. 

There are usually four judges - a legally qualified judge (who is the chairperson) and three lay judges. The chairperson leads the hearing and ensures that obscure points are clarified, but all four judges are entitled to present questions.

What happens in the courtroom?

  • The case is called and all parties and witnesses affected are called into the courtroom.
  • The chairperson verifies that everyone who has been given notice to attend the hearing has appeared. If someone does not appear, the hearing must generally be postponed. However, this does not mean that the hearing will not take place, but all parties affected will in that case be given notice to attend on another date. In order to ensure that witnesses are not influenced by what is said in the courtroom, they will then have to wait outside the courtroom until they are called to give testimony.
  • In certain cases, the court may decide to proceed behind closed doors, which means that the public and others who are not directly personally affected may not be present in the courtroom.
  • The chairperson introduces the hearing.
  • The applicant describes her/his request (application) and her/his grounds.
  • The other party presents her/his view on the matter.
  • The applicant can amplify on the grounds for her/his action in addition to what has been established in the written investigation.
  • The other party can amplify on the grounds for her/his position.
  • Any witnesses and experts are questioned. They must take an oath and the questioning will be recorded on tape. These recordings are subject to secrecy if the hearing is held behind closed doors. This means that only those who are directly affected by the case can gain access to them.
  • The parties conclude their action.
  • The parties request compensation for costs in conjunction with the verbal hearing.
  • The hearing is declared concluded by the chairperson announcing when and how the judgment will be pronounced.

Senast ändrad: 2010-02-12

Compensation to witnesses and others

If you are given notice to attend a verbal hearing at the administrative court, you can, in certain cases, get compensation from the state, for example, for travelling expenses and accommodation and, if you are a witness, even for lost income from work. The chairperson will usually ask whether you have had any costs for which you wish to be compensated. You can refer to the administrative court if you have any questions regarding compensation of various kinds.

Who is who in the courtroom?

Hearings at the administrative courts - who takes part?