Norwegian Land Consolidation Court

Morten Strand and Tom Christensen, Norwegian Courts Administration

The organisation of land consolidation activities may vary between countries. Some have it as part of the administration, others have temporary commissions, special commissions or programs. In Norway it has been organised as a court ever since the The Norwegian Land Consolidation Court was established back in 1859. It plays an important role in the Norwegian judiciary. The court contributes to solving problems related to real property or property rights and the jurisdiction is established by the Land Consolidation Act. The purpose of land consolidation is to provide the basis for a more efficient exploitation and use of real properties, see section 3-2 and 3-3 in the Land Consolidation Act.

Here is an overview of some types of cases that the court can handle:

  • Boundary and land disputes in rural and urban areas
  • Dissolving joint ownership
  • New layout of properties and perpetual easements
  • Prescribing rules for joint use
  • Replace easements and usufruct rights
  • Joint measures
  • Division of properties
  • Valuation in connection with expropriation and exchange of properties (appraisement court)

The court conducts surveys and makes maps to process the case and document the verdict and the land consolidation rulings. Mapping and other technical work are mainly done by the staff of the court. Key instruments in this are the survey- and GIS systems. Today the court are located at 34 different places in Norway. The technical staff counts about 90 employees, which is a little more than one third of the total number of employees.

Over the years the land has been divided into rather small parcels many places in Norway. Today one property may consist of a great number of parcels. Many of those may have an awkward shape. This is not very economical for anyone.

An example is a case from a forest area in south-eastern part of Norway, at Hof vestside in the municipality of Aasnes, where an area of 80 km² were divided into 240 different properties and 782 parcels. One of the parcels was about 10 m wide at the widest, 2 km long and tapering to a point at the other end. The land consolidation case in this area resulted in a new layout with a significant reduction in the number of parcels and the number of km with property boundaries (Table 1).

Table 1:Total reduction in the number of parcels and in the number of km property boundaries in an example case for the Land Consolidation Court. The example is from Hof vestside at the municipality of Aasnes, Norway.

Maps covering a small part of the case are shown in Figure 1 and 2, illustrating the change in a very divided area.

Figure 1: Map showing the ownership of a small part of the area in the case BEFORE the change. Each property has its own carthographic signature and a property number. It could be challenging to define hundreds of different readable polygon signatures. The properties have all kinds of shape, and they combine rather randomly on the map. In an attempt to ease the readability, the biggest properties have got the cleanest signature (lower part number).
Figure 2: Map showing the ownership of a small part of the area in the case AFTER the change (same area and property signature as shown in figure 1). Many of the properties have now been moved to other locations within the land consolidation case area.

Achievements for one of the properties, no 111:

  • The number of parcels were reduced from 25 to 4.
  • The number of km property boundaries were reduced from 46 to 17.
  • The owner could leave co-ownership in 8 roads.

The new layout was based on a valuation of the forest land. A commercial Python application written for ArcGIS, called Geoskog, was used to convert the forest stand data to values.

According to the Land Consolidation Act, nobody should loose values on the change, see section 3-18 in the Land Consolidation Act. A change like this should be a win for all parts.

For more information:


Land Consolidation Act: consolidation act

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