Procedural law deals with different forms of administration of justice by the courts in cases concerning criminal law, property law and family law. The Code of Judicial Procedure contains detailed rules regulating the ways in which the parties and the courts shall act in different stages of the proceedings in district and city courts, as well as applicable rules when a decision is appealed against to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

What requirements must be satisfied for a party to be able to commence legal proceedings? What information shall be included in the writ submitted to the court by the prosecutor or the legal counsel representing a party in a dispute concerning, for example, a breach of contract? In the latter, the prosecutor must describe the wrongful act committed by the defendant, which he considers being able to prove. In a case concerning property law the plaintiff (the party who has commenced the proceedings) has to submit, for example, a claim for compensation/damages due to him. He will also have to describe the factual circumstances of the case, forming the grounds for the granting of his claim, following a certain legal rule. Frequently the parties will need to amend their claim or defence in the course of the proceedings, which is not always permitted by the law.

It is important that nobody is tried without being heard. The parties must be given an opportunity to present their case and sufficient time in order to refute the claims of the counter-party. All documentation submitted by one party must be passed on to the other party, so that the latter may convey his or her views. As a rule a final hearing, so called trial proceedings, usually takes place at which oral evidence is presented. A party must inform the court in advance what evidence he is going to present at the trial proceedings. This way the counter-party has the possibility to prepare cross-examination and decide on the counter-evidence that will be necessary. The parties are responsible for adducing the necessary evidence. The prosecutor will therefore seldom get any help from a court that has found that the prosecutor has neglected his duty to request examination of an important witness. Neither will the court inform the parties’ attorneys in cases concerning property law of the necessity to supplement the evidence in some important respect. Judges must be strictly neutral, which is why they should not give advice or instructions to any party. A judge may put certain questions to a party or a witness if something is unclear. It is sometimes difficult to decide how far a judge may go in his attempts to disentangle confusing issues. The requirement of impartiality places restrictions on the questions that may be asked, lest they be perceived as one-sided, and therefore aiding one of the parties.

Evidence law constitutes an important part of procedural law. The question of how evidence shall be evaluated arises in a number of cases. It can be the question of, for example, assessment of conflicting information given by the witnesses or the parties. In criminal cases the burden of proof rests on the prosecution who must adduce corroborative evidence for their case. In civil disputes it is often difficult to decide who the burden of proof rests on, and whether it is the one or the other party that has to prove his or her claim. In the majority of cases strict proof requirements are directed at one of the parties. If the issue concerns a causal connection which is difficult to prove, the burden is lighter.

Procedural law is also concerned with questions referring to the way in which the hearing of witnesses shall be conducted. Is it permissible to ask questions about strictly personal matters, or questions that may be perceived as subjective or humiliating? May a party ask questions based on false or questionable premises?

It is important that the general public and the press have insight into the way justice is administered. This is why the fundamental rule stipulates that court proceedings shall be public and that anyone shall be entitled to be present in a court room and listen to the trial. Only in exceptional cases may the court decide that the public shall not be allowed to attend a trial, for example, in cases which concern business secrets or preliminary hearings.