From Iceland — Supreme Court Confirms Controversial Hire Was Illegal

Supreme Court Confirms Controversial Hire Was Illegal

Published April 15, 2011

The Supreme Court has ordered a former Independence Party minister to pay damages due to his appointing the son of Davíð Oddsson to a judgeship, despite him being far less qualified for the position than other candidates.
The incident in question took place in 2007. At that time, several candidates had applied for the judgeship of the regional court for northeast Iceland, among them Þorstein Davíðsson, son of former Independence Party chairman Davíð Oddsson. Björn Bjanason was Minister of Justice then, but as Þorstein had been Björn’s assistant at one point, Björn recused himself from making any appointments. That task was left to then Minister of Finance Árni Mathiesen.
Despite the fact that an assessment committee had ranked three candidates as being much more qualified than Þorstein for the court position, Árni appointed him anyway. This prompted one of the applicants, Guðmundur Kristjánsson, to sue for damages.
While Reykjavík District Court had initially sentenced Árni and the Icelandic government to pay Guðmundur 3.5 million ISK in damages on top of 1 million in legal fees, Eyjan reports that the Supreme Court did confirm that Árni’s appointment of Þorstein had been out of line, but ended up reducing the damages to half a million.
Þorstein remains a judge for the regional court of northeast Iceland.

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