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1.1. A Brief Overview of the Constitutions of Norway,denmark and Iceland

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the influence of American law and theories of judicial review on the development, exercise and theorisation of judicial review in three countries in the north-western corner of Europe: Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Regular courts in Norway have exercised judicial review since the 1860s and courts in Iceland and Denmark from the 1900s and 1910s respectively. In sum, the three Nordic countries have constitutional systems that stem from the early and mid-1800s. Their histories differ and so do their current constitutions. However, there are also important similarities. First of all, the constitutional order is fundamentally similar; these are liberal democracies with written constitutions, a unitary system of government, general electoral franchise, separation of powers, a largely ceremonial head of state, a parliamentary system of government, independent courts which exercise judicial review, a strong welfare system and generally a good record concerning the protection of civil rights.

Keywords: American constitutional law; Denmark; Iceland; Nordic constitutional law; Norway



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