As a legal area, human rights law has evolved considerably over the past 20 years. In Norway, developments have been shaped by the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights through their decisions in individual cases submitted to them. Human rights law has become an important source of law, with an impact on most spheres of society. Examples include:
- Criminal law (the police and prosecuting authority).
- The exercise of force by the authorities, for example in the child welfare service, psychiatric health care and other institutional services (such as prisons), and the forcible expulsion of foreign nationals.
- Many aspects of public administration, including regulations and restrictions affecting real estate.
- Freedom of expression and the striking of an appropriate balance between such freedom and reputational harm (defamation and libel).
- The protection of family and private life.
- Legal disputes and court proceedings in general.