This web page is part of the Guide to the Icelandic justice system for 14 year olds and younger who have experienced sexual abuse.

About judgements

When talking about judgements, it’s usually said that they are pronounced by a judge. An effort is made to deliver judgements within a month of the hearing in the courtroom. The judge notifies the parties on where and when the judgement will be delivered.

A judgement is the court of law’s conclusion in the case. It is then published on the District Court website. Your name and the names of witnesses are not published.

The judgement includes:

  • Who was prosecuted; the name of the person; their kennitala (Icelandic ID number) or their date of birth; and their place of residence.
  • The main substance of the charge.
  • The claims made by the prosecution.
  • The main details of the case.
  • The judge’s reasoning for what is considered proven in the case.
  • The judge’s reasoning for the rulings on punishment, compensation, and litigation costs.

Types of judgements

The perpetrator is either punished or the judge says that they are innocent.


The judge did not find it possible to completely prove that the offence had taken place. That does not mean that the judge does not believe you. It can be difficult to accept that the perpetrator does not receive any punishment. You should try to take care of yourself and your health. It’s good to get support from your family and friends, a psychologist, and counsellors.


Your perpetrator has been convicted for committing the offence against you. This can help you to move forward with your life. It is also normal for all sorts of feelings to come up. It is always important that you continue to take care of your mental health.

Unsuspended sentence

The defendant is sentenced to prison.

Suspended sentence

The sentencing decision is suspended. That means the punishment is not enforced unless the defendant commits another offence during a specific period, usually 2-3 years. Further conditions may be imposed on them, such as that they may not consume alcohol or other drugs.

Fact: The person who committed an offence against you is not allowed to behave badly towards you or threaten you.

When is a case closed?

The case is considered closed in the justice system when:

If the case is appealed, that means that you and your family, the perpetrator, or the director of public prosecution did not find the judge’s conclusion to be good enough. Then the case is not closed, instead it is appealed to Landsréttur appeal court.

The perpetrator’s sentence

The length of time that someone is in prison or another enclosed place is called their sentence. The judge decides on the length of sentence the convicted person must serve. How long they have to be in prison depends on many things, including their age, previous offences, and how likely they are to commit another offence. When someone is sentenced to prison that does not always mean that they will be confined to prison the whole time.

  • The maximum sentence for a sexual offence is 16 years. But the judgement is always shorter than that.
  • Very few people serve the full sentence, that is, the entire length of time they were sentenced to serve.
  • A convicted perpetrator may remain free until they begin serving the sentence if they have not been remanded in custody. It can take time for them to receive a spot in prison.

Not always in a closed prison

If a prisoner behaves well and participates in treatment, they may get to serve their sentence with fewer rules.

Further into the sentence, the prisoner might be granted day leave from the prison, get to serve the sentence in an open prison that does not have a fence around it, be transferred to a residential rehabilitation centre, or be granted an ankle bracelet that sends signals to police.

If the convicted person breaks the rules at the place where they are serving their sentence, they can be sent back to a closed prison.

Where is the perpetrator?

If you want to, you can contact The Prison and Probation Administration and receive information on the sentence of the person who committed an offence against you. For some people, it’s good to know where the perpetrator is in the process of serving their sentence and if it’s possible to run into them out in public. Other survivors don’t want to think about it and that’s also OK.

Harassment from the perpetrator

The perpetrator is not allowed to contact you

The Prison and Probation Administration can forbid a perpetrator from contacting you, for example when they go on day leave, to a residential rehabilitation centre, get an ankle bracelet, or are granted probation.

If the perpetrator harasses you or displays other harmful behaviour

If the convicted party violates this they can lose these privileges, for example be sent from a residential rehabilitation centre back to prison, have the permission to serve their sentence with an ankle bracelet revoked, and more.

Sometimes it is possible to keep the reason why secret from the perpetrator. But the general rule is that the perpetrator has the right to know why they are being sent back to prison.

What happens now?

Although your case is closed within the justice system, you will most likely have to deal with its repercussions for some time. Child protection services make sure that you receive the appropriate trauma therapy to help you feel better. It does not matter where in the country you live, everyone receives the same service.