Traditionally, the Judiciary is known as the third branch of government. The ordinary courts of law in Norway consist of the Supreme Court of Justice (Høyesterett), the Interlocutory Appeals Committee of the Supreme Court (Høyesteretts kjæremålsutvalg), the Courts of Appeal (lagmannsrettene), the District Courts (tingrett), and the Conciliation Courts (forliksrådet), as well as several special courts. Norway is divided into six territorial jurisdictions (lagdømmer) and 15 judicial districts (lagsogn).
The Judiciary comprises a relatively independent branch of government. There are two components to its political role: first, its activities serve to implement the legislation adopted by the Storting (Norwegian national assembly), and second, it monitors the legislative and executive powers to ensure that they themselves comply with the acts of legislation that have been previously adopted.
The Judiciary is able to set aside a statute passed by the Storting if it is found to be in contravention of the Constitution. This right to “censor” the Storting is not laid down in the Constitution and is controversial. It was utilized on several occasions during the period 1884–1918, when several radical statutory reforms were halted by the Supreme Court. Since then, the Judiciary has been reluctant to invoke this right. All levels of the ordinary legal system are empowered to examine the validity of a statute, but such cases will inevitably end up being presented before the Supreme Court.