Gender and Age Biases in District Court Rulings.


  • Valgerður Sólnes
  • Guðbjörg Linda Rafnsdóttir
  • Benedikt Bogason
  • Kjartan Vífill Iversen



Age, attorneys, courts, gender, judges.


A research on whether there is a link between gender and age on the one hand, and judicial outcomes on the other, has never before been conducted in an Icelandic setting. This paper communicates research findings, following an interdisciplinary investigation (within the fields of law and sociology) which involved the collection of data on gender and age of judges and attorneys (litigators) in court findings at the first instance (héraðsdómur) in civil cases over a period of ten years, that were appealed to the Icelandic Supreme Court (Hæstiréttur) and the Icelandic Court of Appeals (Landsréttur). The research examined if these factors could be linked with the outcome of the court cases at first instance. The research findings indicate that the gender of attorneys matters, regardless of the gender of judges, and that a female litigant for the plaintiff and the defendant increases the likelihood that the case outcome is in the interest of the litigant’s respective client. The age of judges is apparently also relevant for case outcomes, to the effect that older judges (50 years and older) are more likely to find in favor of the defendant, independent of other factors. Alternatively, no significant interaction effect could be detected in the collected data, with regard to the gender of judges and attorneys. It is our hope that the results will benefit the debate on equality within the courts and encourage further research in this area.

Author Biographies

Valgerður Sólnes

Associate Professor at the University of Iceland.

Guðbjörg Linda Rafnsdóttir

Professor at the University of Iceland.

Benedikt Bogason

Professor at the University of Iceland.

Kjartan Vífill Iversen

Researcher at the University of Iceland.



How to Cite

Sólnes, V., Rafnsdóttir, G. L., Bogason, B., & Iversen, K. V. (2022). Gender and Age Biases in District Court Rulings. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 18(1), 95–118.



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