Framework conditions for business, administration and research
Svalbard law differs significantly from laws and regulations on the mainland.
The Svalbard Act – how is it interpreted?
Svalbard law differs significantly from laws and regulations on the mainland, and there is often uncertainty related to which framework conditions apply to business, administration and research on Svalbard.
Examples of such matters are assessments of whether the Ownership Section Act applies to Svalbard, the application of the Universities and Colleges Act to UNIS, rules for commercial tourist traffic on the Isfjorden, working conditions and wages in Svalbard and so on.
Sometimes “loopholes” can have major consequences, and the Norwegian Parliament has had to make changes to the law, for example, on the Owner’s Section Act and rules on postage on Svalbard.
Illustrative of the challenges of confirming which rules apply in Svalbard are cases where, for example, the central administration has become liable for compensation due to a lack of authority for intervention decisions.
In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld a case against the State concerning the interpretation of Section 2 of the Svalbard Act, which still determines the assessment of the rules that apply in Svalbard.
Recently, we have once again assisted the tourism industry in limiting notified traffic restrictions on Svalbard.