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

At the District Prosecutor’s Office

  1. If the police sent the case onward to the district prosecutor’s office, then it will be reviewed there again closely.
  2. Then a decision is made on whether the district prosecutor prosecutes the person who abused you or not.
  3. If they are prosecuted, they have to go to court and say whether they are innocent or guilty. That is called the registration of the case in the district court.
  4. If the person says they are guilty, admits to having abused you, then the judge pronounces the punishment that the person must receive.
  5. If the person who abused you denies that they did it, then the case needs to go to court.
  6. Then a trial happens in a courtroom, sometimes also called a hearing. When the trial is over, the judge pronounces a judgement and says whether the person was proven guilty or not. If it was not possible to prove the case well enough, the person is innocent.

About the district prosecutor and the district court

The justice system is split into a few levels. The District Prosecutor is one level, others are the Supreme Court and the Landsréttur Appeal Court, for example.

There is only one District Prosecutor for the whole country. The trial can happen anywhere in the country, however. The district courts are in eight different locations. Usually the case will be pleaded where the perpetrator lives.

Fact: The person who committed an offence against you is most likely someone you know.

Why are cases dismissed?

If not enough data could be collected in your case, the district prosecutor decides not to prosecute (not to issue an indictment). Then the case is dismissed.

If the case does not make it any further in the system, that does not at all mean that the abuse did not happen. The main role of the justice system, police, and courts is to look at the data in criminal cases in an impartial way. These institutions are simply not allowed to interpret the facts of the case on any other basis.

If the case is dismissed, the reasons behind that will be explained to your parents or guardians and your legal rights protector.

Dismissal appealed to Director of Public Prosecutions

It is possible to appeal a case dismissal. Then your parents or guardians talk to your legal rights protector.

Receiving information

The district prosecutor only contacts your legal rights protector, who then forwards information about the case to your parents or guardians.


  • The police department’s processing of the case usually takes around 1 year.
  • The district prosecutor’s office usually takes another six months to process the case after that..

This is why one and a half years can pass from when the offence was committed until it comes to light whether the perpetrator is prosecuted or not.