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Hjörtur TORFASONorfason

Attorney at Law - Former Justice on the Supreme Court of Iceland



Education and

Graduate of the Reykjavík Junior College (examen artium),

Professional Training:

June 1954. Studies at the Faculty of Law of the University


of Iceland 1954 - 1960, law degree (candidatus juris) 25


January 1960.


Post-graduate studies at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, Sept. 1961 - June 1963 in company law, competition law and torts, on a scholarship from the Canada Council. - Clerk at a Toronto law firm in  the summer of 1962.


Admitted to the Icelandic Bar on 20 December 1960 as District Court Attorney and 28 November 1966 as Supreme Court Attorney.


Authorized translator in English-Icelandic in January 1968.

Present Position:

Attorney-at-law in Reykjavík, with independent practice as legal advisor and also as document translator in English.


Former Justice on the Supreme Court of Iceland (1990-2001). - The retirement status includes a potential to be called on ad hoc as substitute judge in individual cases.


Member of the European Commission on Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission), from July 1998 to July 2010, and subsequently as substitute Member.

Previous Positions:

General legal practitioner in Reykjavík as Attorney-at-law from February 1960 to March 1990 (excepting period of post-graduate studies), initially as associate and from 1964 as partner with other lawyers, in the firm of Lögmenn Eyjólfur Konrád Jónsson, Jón Magnússon, Hjörtur Torfason, Sigurdur Sigurdsson and Sigurdur Hafstein as composed over the period. The ongoing practice of the firm was taken over in 1990 by attorneys Lárus L. Blöndal and Sigurdur G. Gudjónsson of Reykjavík, while the firm remained extant but inactive.  -  Among general legal work in fields including contract, tort and property law, corporate law and finance and administrative and constitutional law,  the practice included extensive work as counsel to the Government of Iceland and to Landsvirkjun (the National Power Company) in connection with major hydroelectric projects and the establishment of power-intensive industrial plants involving foreign investment, and with various other matters concerning administrative law and legislation.


Justice on the Supreme Court of Iceland, interim appointment February - June 1988, permanent appointment 1 March 1990.  Retired 1 March 2001 at own request on ground of seniority.


External legal counsel to Landsvirkjun March 2001 - January 2009, primarily in connection with the establishment of the Kárahnjúkar hydroelectric project and an Alcoa aluminium smelter in eastern Iceland, as well as with projects overseas.

Other positions:

Member of the National Election Board for Reykjavík 1967-1991.


Lecturer in company law at the University of Iceland 1974-1976. Occasional lectures in the University of Iceland Re-education Program 1986-1995, on engineering law et al.


Member of a Committee of Experts on Comparative Law with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg 1969-1970.


Member of the Board of Directors of Icelandic Aluminium Company Ltd. 1966-1972. Chairman of the Board of Directors of Icelandic Alloys Ltd. 1977-1984.  Auditor of Kísilidjan Ltd. 1966-1990.  Also a board member of other companies.


Member of the Board of Actress Stefanía Gudmundsdóttir Memorial Fund since 1996.

Membership in

The Icelandic Bar Association 1960-1990 (Vice-


Chairman 1971-1972) and again since 2001, and the


Icelandic Judges Association since 1990. Also a member of


the Icelandic Lawyers Association (embracing all branches


of the profession).


Board Member of the Iceland Division of the Nordic Congress of Jurists since 1996


Articles in legal periodicals and publications, including interventions at legal conferences.


Icelandic, English, the Nordic languages (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish) as well as French and German on a more moderate scale.

Updated June 2014

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