Covering a hearing
The constitution states that all court proceedings shall be public, i.e., members of the public and mass media have the right to attend judicial processes.
However, some court hearings may be held behind closed doors. In that case, only the court and the parties may be present in the court room. Closed doors are used when classified information is to be referred to or submitted.
The court may decide in favour of closed doors, e.g., if the defendant in a criminal case is under the age of 21, in cases concerning sexual offences or when information concerning the defendant’s personal or financial circumstances is revealed. Interviews with a person under the age of 15, or a person suffering from a mental disturbance may also be kept behind closed doors.
In most cases, it is not sufficient that one party requests closed doors proceedings. The court will of its own accord consider whether the hearing should be public or not. In most cases, the decision regarding closed doors only applies to a limited part of the hearing. It will become public again when the classified information or questioning have been settled. The court will notify when doors will be closed and when the hearing will become public again.
The court deliberations usually take place behind closed doors. If a ruling or decision is pronounced however, this will occur in public.
For hearings in a general court (District or City Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court), particularly strong reasons are often required in order for the public to be excluded from the court room. At a hearing behind closed doors, the court may decide to impose a confidentiality obligation for those present.
Hearings in an administrative court and the Administrative Court of Appeal are often kept behind closed doors. This means that neither the public nor any journalists may attend the hearing.