The Legal Affairs Department

The Legal Affairs Department provides legal expertise for the Government and the central government administration, and has particular responsibility for coordinating Norway’s positions on matters of international law in international forums.

The Department's central areas of work are the law of the sea, UN law, WTO law, EEA law, treaty law and issues of immunity, environmental law, human rights, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and sanctions and restrictive measures.

Key tasks include giving guidance on the interpretation of international law and assisting in developing new international law obligations, often through negotiations with other states. The Department assists other ministries and central government institutions on matters relating to international law. It plays an important role in coordinating the preparation of Norwegian cases before international courts, and cooperates closely with the Office of the Attorney General on litigating cases before these bodies.

The Department currently has 38 members of staff grouped into three sections: the Section for Humanitarian and Criminal Law, the Section for Treaty Law, Environmental Law and the Law of the Sea, and the Section for EEA and Trade Law.

The Department is headed by Director General Helge Seland.

The department consists of the following sections