This web page is part of the Guide to the Icelandic justice system for 15-17 year olds who have experienced sexual abuse.

About judgements

The judge notifies everyone on where and when the judgement will be delivered. Efforts are made to deliver judgements within a month of the hearing.

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

The judgement includes:

  • Who was charged: 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 legal costs. The legal costs are independent of your compensation claim.

Types of judgements

Now it is revealed whether the perpetrator is acquitted or must undergo punishment.


The judge did not consider it possible to prove without a doubt 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 will not undergo any punishment and is therefore important to take care of yourself and your mental 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’s always important that you continue to take care of your mental health.

The judge decides on the length of sentence the convicted perpetrator must serve. The sentence is the time that the convicted person spends in prison. The length of the sentence can depend on many things, including age, previous offences, and how likely the perpetrator is to commit another offence.

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 placed on the convicted person, such as that they may not consume alcohol or other drugs.

It’s good to get support from your family and friends, a therapist, and counsellors.

More good advice?

Advice from survivors

Appealing to the Landsréttur Appeal Court

An appeal means that the case is not closed here and that it continues. District court judgements are appealed to the Landsréttur Appeal Court.

The convicted party appeals

If the defendant was found guilty in the case they have four weeks to appeal.

Prosecution appeals

If the prosecutor wants to appeal the judgement, for example if the defendant is acquitted of the charge, they also have four weeks to appeal.

Director of Public Prosecutions appeals

The Director of Public Prosecutions can decide to appeal the judgement if it is determined that the perpetrator was acquitted when they should have been found guilty, or the punishment is considered too lenient (too mild).

When is a case considered closed?

The case is considered closed in the justice system when:


Efforts are made to deliver judgements within a month of the hearing.