Ex gratia payments
Applications for ex gratia payments can be sent to the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority, which acts as the Secretariat for Stortinget’s (The Norwegian Parliament’s) Ex gratia Payment Panels. The Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority carry out the preliminary procedures and put a recommendation before the relevant Ex gratia Payment Panel, which then rules in the case. There are currently three such panels. The panels consist of two members of Stortinget and a previous Supreme Court or
The application must include a description of the grounds for the claim for the ex gratia payment. This must be documented to the highest degree possible. Documentation that can contribute to illuminating the case can for example by statements by a doctor or psychologist, attestations, witness statements made by family members, friends or others who are familiar with the applicant’s situation, documentation from schools attended by the applicant, information relating to stays in institutions and so forth.
Applications are forwarded to professional bodies where this is deemed necessary in the interests of obtaining information about the case and in cases where the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority are not responsible for handling the preliminary preparation of the case. The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, The Norwegian Directorate of Health or The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration will often be the relevant professional body in ex gratia payment cases. We also send the application for assessment to other bodies if the case concerns circumstances that these bodies are best qualified to assess.
When the role of the state is to be assessed by a professional body prior to a decision or ruling being reached, the professional body will in the majority of cases acquire documentation concerning the applicant itself. Professional bodies are however dependent on power of attorney from the applicant to acquire such information.
An application can be refused if it clearly falls outside the framework of the arrangement or the practice of the Ex gratia Payment Panels. This applies for example when the circumstances/case is encompassed under other compensatory schemes, for example the Compensation for Victims of Violent Crimes arrangement or The Norwegian System for Compensation to Patients. The Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority can also reject cases that raise comprehensive and complicated assessment of legal issues or evidence. Such cases are referred to the law courts.
In most cases there are no deadlines for lodging applications for ex gratia payments. There is however an exception for applications for compensation for maltreatment from applicants that are so-called War Children. The deadline for applications was originally 01.07.07. Stortinget has however ruled to extend the deadline to 01.01.08.
The Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority have a large number of applications for ex gratia payments on file for processing. The time it takes to process applications varies from case to case, much depending on the type of case and the volume and quality of information available. In cases where the Norwegian Civil Affairs Authority alone are responsible for the preparatory work, case processing is approximately one year. If the case is to be assessed by other professional bodies in addition, case processing will take from 18 to 20 months.
The extra-ordinary ex gratia payment arrangement
The ex gratia payment arrangement is Stortinget’s own compensation arrangement. The arrangement is non-statutory, and based on practice. The ex gratia payment arrangement is described in the Recommendation to Stortinget No. 4 (1999-2000) and in Parliamentary bill No. 65 (2006-2007).
Ex gratia payments are designed to provide the final opportunity to be economically compensated for injury or disadvantage incurred through the actions of others. For this reason, ex-gratia payments are not awarded in practice in cases where the injury or disadvantage can be compensated through other public compensation arrangements or by social benefits or insurance arrangements and so forth.
The compensation is awarded on the basis of an assessment of the reasonableness of the individual applications. The assessment takes into account the ex gratia payment panel’s previous practice in comparable cases.
In practice, a great deal of emphasis is placed on whether the state can be reproached for the injury/disadvantage that has been incurred. In some cases however an award can be made even if the state cannot be reproached. This applies in particular to personal injuries incurred as a result of punishable offences when the punishable offence took place prior to the introduction of the regulations governing compensation for the victims of violent crimes on 1st January 1975. Punishable offences committed after this date are not covered by the ex gratia payment arrangement. In such cases, applications for compensation shall be made under the victims of violent crimes arrangement.
Injuries resulting from a state of war, natural catastrophes, accidents and unforeseeable incidents are not as a general rule deemed to provide a basis for ex gratia payments.
Ex gratia payments shall provide an acceptance and recognition of that the person receiving the payment has come into particularly difficult circumstances in comparison to others with whom it is natural to compare the recipient with. Ex gratia payments are meant as a helping hand, and are not designed to cover the applicants financial losses. Compensation is awarded on the basis of best judgment.
An ex gratia payment panel has as a general rule the authority to award payments of up to NOK 200 000.
Extension of the Ex gratia payment arrangement
In enacting St.rep.. No. 44 (2003-2004) and No. 24 (2004-2005), cf. Rec. No. 152 (2004-2005) and No. 217 (2004-2005), Stortinget has ruled that Ex gratia payments shall also be awarded in the case of circumstances that would not normally provide a basis for payment of compensation under the ordinary ex gratia arrangement. This applies to War Children and Romany peoples who were exposed to maltreatment, Saami and Kvener who lack proper schooling as a result of the war and the Norwegianisation policy, and previous children’s home and foster home children and pupils at special schools who were exposed to maltreatment. Details appertaining to these groups of applicants can be found by clicking on the relevant flag in the menu to the left.