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Norway

Plain Legal Language (NO0027)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Norway Action Plan 2013-2015

Action Plan Cycle: 2013

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs (in cooperation with the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) and the Language Council of Norway (Språkrådet).

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building

IRM Review

IRM Report: Norway End-of-Term Report 2014-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Norway has decided to look into the origin of unclear language through a separate
project called “Plain Legal language”.
In this project, we will examine some Acts and reformulate them in plain language.
Preference will be given to Acts that are important to citizens and Acts that affect many
citizens. The aim of this work is to devise a general method that can be used in the �3
future, both when drafting new Acts and amending or revising existing Acts. We aim to
begin examining the first two Acts before 1 July 2014.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

16. Plain legal language

Commitment Text:

A survey (telephone interviews) in 2009 revealed that two out of three Norwegian citizens thought that the public sector does not write in plain language and found public forms difficult to fill in.

The Norwegian Plain Language project was formally launched in March 2009 with the aim of stimulating public agencies to adopt good and user-friendly language.[…]

COMMITMENT DESCRIPTION
Norway has decided to look into the origin of unclear language through a separate project called “Plain Legal language”.

In this project, we will examine some Acts and reformulate them in plain language. Preference will be given to Acts that are important to citizens and Acts that affect many citizens. The aim of this work is to devise a general method that can be used in the future, both when drafting new Acts and amending or revising existing Acts. We aim to begin examining the first two Acts before 1 July 2014.

Key Impact Benchmark:
We will begin examining the first two Acts before 1 July 2014

Responsible institution: Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs

Supporting institution(s): Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) and the Language Council of Norway (Språkrådet)

Start date: Ongoing           End date: 1 July, 2014

Editorial note: The text of the commitments was abridged for formatting reasons. For the full text of the commitment, please see http://bit.ly/1QlVIja.

Policy Aim

This initiative aims to make the language used in legal documents more accessible to the general public.

Status

Mid-term: Complete
This commitment was complete at the mid-term. The government identified four laws whose language will be clarified and held a conference on clear legal language, with the participation of relevant government actors, academics and civil society groups. Since the commitment language committed the government to “begin examining” acts, this commitment was deemed complete. For more information, please see IRM Progress Report 2013-2014.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Marginal

Work under this commitment has included courses and seminars on clear legal language to government officials and staff, surveys to understand what kind of clarity is desirable in legal language, and the initiation of the process to reformulate four specific pieces of legislation (i.e., the Education Act, Inheritance Act, Adoption Act and Defence Personnel Act) though the specific acts subjected to revision appears to have changed during the course of the project.[Note 97: ”Lovarbeid i Norge: nye arbeidsformer,”Språkrådet, accessed September 4, 2016, http://www.sprakradet.no/Klarsprak/juridisk-sprak/sprak-i-lover-og-forskrifter/lovarbeid-i-norge/.%5D A piece of draft legislation for the first of these acts has been produced and submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation (KMD), the responsible ministry. The draft text was welcomed by the Minister of Local Government and Modernisation as more clear and generally more accessible.[Note 98: ”En ny kommunelov for et sterkere lokaldemokrati,” Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, accessed September 4, 2016, https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/en-ny-kommunelov-for-et-sterkere-lokaldemokrati/id2479155/.  ] The IRM researcher has not identified any media or civil society commentary that indicates satisfaction or awareness of this output. If this is indicative of future revisions to other legal texts, this can be considered a marginal contribution to access to information in Norway.  

Carried forward?

This commitment has not been carried forward in the Norwegian government’s third national action plan, which is available on the OGP website.[Note 99: ”Norway’s third action plan Open Government Partnership (OGP),” Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, accessed September 4, 2016, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Norway_2016-17_NAP.pdf.%5D


Norway's Commitments

  1. Archiving Documents

    NO0054, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Making Energy Statistics Available

    NO0055, 2019, E-Government

  3. e-Access and Expansion

    NO0056, 2019, Civic Space

  4. Open Cultural Data

    NO0057, 2019, E-Government

  5. Digital Spatial Planning

    NO0058, 2019, E-Government

  6. Streamline Public Procurement

    NO0059, 2019, E-Government

  7. Preventing Corruption

    NO0060, 2019, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  8. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NO0061, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  9. User Orientation

    NO0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Electronic Public Records (OEP)

    NO0046, 2016, E-Government

  11. Transparency Regarding Environmental Information

    NO0047, 2016, E-Government

  12. Starred commitment Disclosure of Financial Data

    NO0048, 2016, E-Government

  13. Transparency Regarding Rainforest Funds

    NO0049, 2016, E-Government

  14. State Employees’ Ownership of Shares

    NO0050, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  15. Promote Freedom of Expression and Independent Media

    NO0051, 2016, Civic Space

  16. Country-By-Country Reporting

    NO0052, 2016, Extractive Industries

  17. Register for Ultimate Beneficial Ownership

    NO0053, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  18. Public Review and Public Consultation

    NO0020, 2013, Capacity Building

  19. Registering and Preserving Digital Documentation Produced by Public Bodies

    NO0021, 2013, E-Government

  20. The Norwegian Citizen Survey (Innbyggerundersøkelsen)

    NO0022, 2013, Public Participation

  21. Whistleblowing

    NO0023, 2013, Whistleblower Protections

  22. Strengthened Information Exchange for More Efficient Crime Prevention and Combating

    NO0024, 2013, Justice

  23. Strengthening the Transparency of Public Authorities and Administration

    NO0025, 2013, Capacity Building

  24. Egovernment with an End-User Focus

    NO0026, 2013, E-Government

  25. Plain Legal Language

    NO0027, 2013, Capacity Building

  26. Norwegian Grants Portal (MFA)

    NO0028, 2013, Aid

  27. An International Convention or Agreement on Financial Transparency

    NO0029, 2013, Private Sector

  28. Reducing Conflicts of Interests – Post-Employment Regulations

    NO0030, 2013, Conflicts of Interest

  29. Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector

    NO0031, 2013, Security

  30. A Better Overview of Committees, Boards and Councils – More Public Access to Information and Better Opportunities for Further Use

    NO0032, 2013, E-Government

  31. Modernizing Public Governance

    NO0033, 2013, Capacity Building

  32. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues

    NO0034, 2013, Extractive Industries

  33. Transparency in the Management of the Government Pension Fund (GPF)

    NO0035, 2013, E-Government

  34. Transparency and Anti-Corruption Efforts

    NO0036, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. The Municipal Sector

    NO0037, 2013, Education

  36. “Simplify” (“Enkelt Og Greit”)

    NO0038, 2013, E-Government

  37. Electronic Public Records (OEP) – (Offentlig Elektronisk Postjournal)

    NO0039, 2013, E-Government

  38. Re-Use of Public Sector Information (PSI)

    NO0040, 2013, Capacity Building

  39. Access to Health Data

    NO0041, 2013, E-Government

  40. Renewal of the Government’S Website (Regjeringen.No – Government.No)

    NO0042, 2013, E-Government

  41. Declaration of Principles for Interaction and Dialogue with NGOs

    NO0043, 2013, Capacity Building

  42. Simplification and Digital Administration of Arrangements for NGOs

    NO0044, 2013, Capacity Building

  43. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0001, 2011, Capacity Building

  44. Measures to Promote Gender Equality and Women’S Full Participation in Civic Life, the Private Sector, the Public Administration and Political Processes.

    NO0002, 2011, Gender

  45. Gender Equality – Participation in the Private Sector

    NO0003, 2011, Gender

  46. Increase Women's Representation in Local Government

    NO0004, 2011, Gender

  47. Gender Equality Program

    NO0005, 2011, Gender

  48. Gender Equality – Inclusion of Immigrant Women

    NO0006, 2011, Gender

  49. Gender Equality – Combat Gender Stereotypes

    NO0007, 2011, Gender

  50. Gender Equality – Youth Initiatives

    NO0008, 2011, Gender

  51. Gender Equality – Combat Domestic Violence

    NO0009, 2011, Gender

  52. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency

    NO0010, 2011, Aid

  53. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Government Global Pension Fund

    NO0011, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  54. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Combat Tax Evasion

    NO0012, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  55. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Multi-National Companies

    NO0013, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  56. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – Create Central Communication Policy

    NO0014, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  57. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0015, 2011, E-Government

  58. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – Public Data Use

    NO0016, 2011, Public Participation

  59. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – National Statistic Publication

    NO0017, 2011, Open Data

  60. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – National Public Opinion Survey

    NO0018, 2011, Records Management

  61. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0019, 2011, Public Participation