Parliamentary act on home rule in the Faroes 

PARLIAMENTARY ACT NO. 103 FROM JULY 26 1994 ON HOME RULE IN THE FAROE ISLANDS
 

Introduction

   § 1. With regard to matters under Faroese authority, legislative power is shared between the Løgting (Parliament) and the Løgmaður (Prime Minister). The Government (Landsstýrið) has executive power. Judicial power resides with the Danish court system.
 
The Legislative Power
   § 2. The Løgting is the legislative assembly of the Faroes with a maximum of 33 members.
   § 3. Anyone may be elected to the Løgting who is over the age of 18 and is a Danish citizen resident in the Faroes, unless otherwise declared incompetent.
   § 4. All eligible voters may serve in Løgting, unless he/she has been convicted of a crime that renders him/her to be deemed unfit according to generally held opinion to assume a seat in the Løgting.
      2. A person convicted of a crime is not considered unfit unless he/she receives a prison sentence of four months or more or is sentenced to preventive detention.
      3. A person is not considered unfit if five years have elapsed since the sentence was concluded, the statute of limitations has run, a pardon was granted, or he/she was released from preventive detention
   § 5. The Løgting is elected in a public, secret and direct election.
      2. Further regulations on voting are provided in the law concerning general elections for the Løgting (løgtingsvallógin), including stipulating the number of Løgting members within the limit set forth in § 2.
   § 6. Members of the Løgting are elected for a term of four years.
      2. The Løgting, as well as the Løgmaður, may call a general election at any time, which implies that the term of the sitting members of the Løgting shall terminate upon the opening of the newly elected Løgting.
      3. It is the responsibility of the Løgmaður to ensure that a new election is held before the end of the current term.
      4. A member of the Løgting who loses his/her eligibility to serve shall vacate his/her seat in the Løgting.
   § 7. The Løgting itself decides whether the election is valid, as well as whether a member of the Løgting has lost his/her eligibility.
   § 8. When it has been confirmed that a member of the Løgting has been duly elected, he/she shall resign from all positions of trust on boards, committees, etc. that are subject to supervision by the Landsstýri or to which he/she has been appointed by the Landsstýri, excluding, however, positions to which the Løgting member has been directly elected by the people. 
   § 9. The newly elected Løgting shall convene at 10:00 AM the twelfth working day after the date of the election, unless the Løgmaður has already called a meeting.
    2.When the election returns have been confirmed, the Løgting shall be opened and then it elects speaker and deputy speaker of the Løgting.
    3.The speaker of the Løgting and the deputy speaker shall remain in office for the entire term of the Løgting, unless he/she voluntarily resigns or four-fifths of all members of the Løgting demand in writing that new election for said office(s) be held.
   § 10. A session of the Løgting starts on St Olaf's Day (Ólavsøkudag, the 29th of July) and continues until St Olaf's Day the following year.
      2. On St Olaf's Day the speaker of the Løgting, the members of the Løgting, the Løgmaður, Landsstýri ministers and other government officials proceed in a procession from the seat of the Løgting to the national cathedral where a worship service is conducted and subsequently return in recession to the seat of the Løgting. The speaker of the Løgting shall determine which officials shall participate in the procession and how the procession is organised.
    3. The Løgting is opened again on St Olaf's Day at 1:00 PM.
   § 11. The seat of the Løgting is Tórshavn. However, under special circumstances the Løgting may assemble in another town in the country.
   § 12. Upon the opening of the Løgting on St Olaf's Day, the Løgmaður delivers a state of the country address and outlines the goals of his/her government.
    2. Within six working days, the Løgting shall begin to deliberate on the state of the country as set forth in the address of the Løgmaður.
   § 13. The speaker calls the Løgting into session and concomitantly announces the agenda. If at least two-fifths of the members of the Løgting or the Løgmaður submit a written request to the speaker to call the Løgting into session and concurrently stipulate the agenda, the speaker shall, without undue delay, call the Løgting into session. 
   § 14. The Løgmaður, Landsstýrið ministers and the High Commissioner in their ex officio capacity, yet without a right of vote, shall have access to the Løgting and the right to demand to speak during sessions of the Løgting, but shall otherwise follow the parliamentary rules of order established by the Løgting.
   § 15. The Løgmaður, Landsstýri ministers and members of parliament are entitled to introduce proposed legislation, recommendations to extend Danish national laws to the Faroes and other resolutions before the Løgting.
    2. Proposed legislation and/or recommendations for the extension of Danish national laws cannot be finally passed unless they have been read three times in the Løgting.
    3. In the event of a new election or when the parliamentary session is over, all pending bills, recommendations for the extension of Danish national laws and other resolutions that have not been finally approved shall lapse.
   § 16. The Løgting itself stipulates its parliamentary rules of order that further delineates the procedures for the conduct of its business and the maintenance of good order.
   § 17. Sessions of the Løgting are public. Radio and television transmissions from the sessions of the Løgting are permitted. In special circumstances, the Løgting may conduct its business behind closed doors.
   § 18. The Løgting cannot decide upon an issue unless a quorum of more than half its members is present at a particular session of the Løgting.
    2. A matter before the Løgting is deemed approved when more votes are cast in favour of an issue than against, unless otherwise stated herein.
   § 19. The Løgting may duly constitute a committee of its members to investigate an important issue. The committee has the right to demand written or verbal information from individual citizens, as well as from public officials.
   § 20. The Løgting shall select the membership of committees and appointments through election by proportional representation.
   § 21. Each member of the Løgting, upon permission of the Løgting, is permitted to submit any public matter for debate and review and demand a comment on the matter from the Løgmaður or a Landsstýri minister.
    2. The same right applies to a member of the Løgting if two-fifths of the members present at a meeting agree.
   § 22. No petition shall be submitted before the Løgting unless presented by a member of the Løgting or by the Landsstýri.
   § 23. Members of the Løgting are bound only by their own convictions and not by any directives from their respective constituents.
   § 24. Members of the Løgting are considered immune from prosecution unless said immunity is waived by the Løgting or there is no doubt of his or her guilt.
    2. Without the consent of the Løgting, no claim may be brought against a member of the Løgting for what the member has stated in a session of the Løgting.
   § 25. The Løgting shall by law prescribe the remuneration of it members.
   § 26. A parliamentary bill that has been passed by the Løgting enters into force when, the bill is ratified by the Løgmaður no later than 30 days after the final reading of the bill, and promulgated pursuant to the rules governing promulgation stipulated in said bill.
 
The Executive Power
   § 27. The Landsstýri is comprised of the Løgmaður and at least two ministers.
    2. The Løgmaður is appointed according to the arrangement stipulated in § 28. The Løgmaður determines the number of ministers and appoints them.
   § 28. When the Løgmaður is to be appointed, the Speaker of the Løgting summons the chairmen of the parties represented in the Løgting for individual consultations.
    2. Within 10 working days after the retiring Løgmaður has requested to be relieved from office, the Speaker of the Løgting shall present a proposal for a candidate for Løgmaður before the Løgting. In the event of a new election for the Løgting or the death of the Løgmaður, said time limit begins to run from the day of the first sitting of the Løgting after the election or from the day of the death of the Løgmaður.
    3. No later than the fourth working day thereafter, the Løgting shall, without debate in committee, vote on the proposal. The proposal is rejected if more than half of all members of the Løgting vote against it. Otherwise, it carries.
    4. Should the Løgting reject the proposal for a Løgmaður submitted by the Speaker, the Speaker shall again summon for consultation the chairmen of the parties pursuant to paragraph 1 above and shall within 4 working days after his proposal was rejected present a proposal for a candidate for Løgmaður, which shall be voted on by the Løgting the same day pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 3 above.
    5. If the Løgting rejects four times the proposals for candidates for Løgmaður submitted by the Speaker, the incumbent Løgmaður shall call a new general election for the Løgting.
   § 29. The Løgmaður or a Landsstýri minister may be relieved of office at his/her request. The Speaker shall relieve the Løgmaður of office, and the Løgmaður shall relieve a Landsstýri minister of office.
    2. The Løgmaður may also in other cases relieve a Landsstýri minister of office and shall relieve a Landsstýri minister of office if a motion of no confidence regarding a Landsstýri minister is approved by more than half of the members of the Løgting.
   § 30. In the event that more than half of the members of the Løgting approve a motion of no confidence in the Løgmaður, the Løgmaður shall request the Speaker to relieve him/her from office.
   § 31. If the Løgmaður has requested to be relieved of office (cf. § 29) or the Løgting has approved a motion of no confidence (cf. § 30), the Landsstýri ministries shall continue to function until a new Løgmaður is appointed. Pending the appointment of a new Løgmaður, the Landsstýri may only action those matters that are necessary to allow governmental administration to continue unhindered. However, the Løgmaður may, within a week after the vote of no confidence, exercise his/her authority pursuant to § 6, paragraph 2 to call a new election.
   § 32. A member of the Løgting who becomes Løgmaður or a Landsstýri minister shall recuse himself/herself from his/her seat in the Løgting while s/he serves in the Landsstýri.
    2. Further regulations governing the appointment of the Løgmaður and Landsstýri ministers shall be stipulated by law.
   § 33. The Løgmaður distributes the areas of State competence among the Landsstýri ministers. They are each individually responsible for their areas.
    2. The Løgmaður coordinates the work of the Landsstýri ministers and in this context summons them regularly to meetings, where, inter alia, all proposed legislation, recommendations for Danish national law, and supplementary appropriations shall be submitted for review before being presented before the Løgting.
    3. The Løgmaður has the responsibility to ensure that each individual Landsstýri minister administers his/her area of State competency in a legal and satisfactory manner.
   § 34. § 1 of this Act does not limit the Landsstýri or a governmental agency or institution by an act of the Løgting to promulgate more specific regulations of a general nature regarding the judiciary. The authority to promulgate said regulations shall not be conditioned on the approval of the members of the Løgting.
   § 35. The provisions of § 1 notwithstanding, committees, commissions and councils may, by an act of the Løgting, be granted the authority to render final administrative decisions.
    2. The Løgting cannot appoint members to the committees, commissions and councils referenced in paragraph 1 above.
   § 36. The Løgmaður determines which Landsstýri minister is to serve as Deputy Løgmaður and who shall oversee the duties of the Løgmaður in the absence of the Løgmaður. If no one has been designated, the Landsstýri minister who has held office for the longest duration of time shall undertake the duties of the Løgmaður. If two Landsstýri ministers have held office for an equal amount of time, the elder shall assume these duties.
   § 37. The Løgmaður and Landsstýri ministers have the legal responsibility for the administration of the areas of State competence that have been assigned to them. Issues regarding this legal responsibility shall be ajudged by a court sitting with a jury. Detailed regulations regarding this responsibility shall be established by an act of the Løgting.
   § 38. The Løgting appoints a three-person committee of members of the Løgting to ensure that the activities of the Landsstýri are performed in a lawful manner.
    2.If the committee suspects that the Landsstýri has acted in an irregular manner, it can demand that the Speaker of the Løgting appoint an independent counsel without judicial power. Upon completion of his/her investigation into the matter, the independent counsel shall prepare a report for the Løgting on whether or not the administration of a particular issue has been carried out in a lawful manner. Two-fifths of the members of the Løgting can put forward the same demand in writing.
    3. The independent counsel shall have a law degree and not be employed in the Landsstýri administration, a governmental institution, the judiciary or have previously been involved with the case.
    4. The independent counsel has the right to demand written or verbal information from individual citizens, as well as public officials.
   § 39. The Løgting may enact legislation enabling the Løgting to select an extra-parliamentary person to oversee the home rule administration.
 
The Judiciary
   § 40. The judicial authority resides with an independent court system that operates in accordance with the Danish Jurisprudence Act for the Faroe Islands.
 
Financial Affairs
   § 41. No direct or indirect taxes can be imposed, changed or abolished except through an act of the Løgting.
    2. No direct or indirect taxes may be levied on any income, import, export, sale, payment or the like that transpired prior to the submission of a bill regarding said taxes is presented before the Løgting.
    3. It is not permissible to demand payment of the taxes referenced in paragraph 1 above, until the budget of the Løgting or a provisional budget has been passed by the Løgting.
   § 42. Loans and guarantees, etc. that bind the Løgting, the Landsstýri or governmental authorities may not be taken or given unless authorized by an act of the Løgting.
   § 43. Before the first of October each year, the Landsstýri submits a proposed budget for the next calendar year to the Løgting.
    2. No expenditure shall be paid unless authorized in the budget or other appropriation that is in effect when the expense is booked. However, from the date the fiscal year ends to the first of April, funds may be allocated from the previous budget for expenses that occurred in the previous fiscal year.
    3. If it becomes apparent that the budget will not be approved prior to the beginning of the fiscal year, the Landsstýrið shall submit a proposed provisional appropriation bill.
   § 44. Supplementary appropriations are provided through an act of the Løgting.
    2. If a matter is urgent, upon the recommendation of the Landsstýri, the finance committee of the Løgting may provide a supplementary appropriation, unless two-fifths of the committee requests that the matter be resolved by a law of the Løgting.
    3. Supplementary appropriations authorized by the finance committee through the year shall be approved by a supplementary budget no later than December 31st of the same year. The Landsstýri is responsibility for submitting a proposed supplementary budget before December 1st.
   § 45. The State accounts shall be presented before the Løgting no later than six months after the end of the fiscal year.
   2. The Løgting selects auditors who shall review the annual State accounts and ensure that all governmental revenues are booked in the accounts and that no expenditure is paid without the requisite authority in the budget or other appropriation. The auditors may demand access to all the information and documents that they require. Detailed regulations on how many auditors should be appointed and on their activities shall be stipulated by an act of the Løgting.
    3. The State accounts with the auditors’ comments shall be presented to the Løgting for approval.
    4. The provisions of paragraphs 1-3 above shall also be applicable to public authorities that maintain separate accounts.
 
Joint Matters
   § 46. Following a decision by the Faroese authorities, areas under danish competence shall be assumed pursuant to an act of the Løgting.
   § 47. Submissions to the Danish authorities to have legislation or a Royal Decree that is only in force in the country of Denmark be applicable to the Faroe Islands can only be made via a Danish law recommendation.
   § 48. Danish law recommendations approved by the Løgting shall enter into force no later than 30 days after the Løgmaður ratifies the recommendation and it is forwarded on to the Danish authorities.
   § 49. The Landsstýri reviews Royal Decrees that are in effect only for the country of Denmark. This also applies to all regulations forwarded by a Danish Minister with the intent of having them enter into effect in the Faroe Islands.
   § 50. If responsibility for a State competence is granted by Danish law or Royal Decree to the Faroese authorities, general legislation relative to said authority shall be enacted by the Løgting; in other matters, authority to promulgate general directives resides with the Landsstýri.
    2. In situations where the Faroese authorities are granted responsibility for an area of State competence by executive order from a Danish Minister, said authority resides with the Landsstýri.
   § 51. The Landsstýri represents the Faroese authorities towards the Danish authorities.
    2. In these circumstances, § 52, paragraph 2 and 3 are also applicable.
 
International Treaties
   § 52. The Landsstýri has jurisdiction for those matters of State competence over which the Faroese authorities have are empowered to negotiate and enter into agreements/treaties with other countries.
    2. The Landsstýri may not, however, without the consent of the Løgting, enter into agreements that require the advice and consent of the Løgting in order to be implemented or that are otherwise important.
    3. When said agreement/treaty is presented to the Løgting for ratification, the Landsstýri shall state which parliamentary laws and Danish law recommendations are required in order to implement the international treaty.
   § 53. The Landsstýri reviews the international treaties presented by the Danish authorities for review by the Faroese authorities.
    2. In these circumstances, § 52, paragraph 2 and 3 are also applicable.
   § 54. The Løgting selects a seven-member foreign affairs committee from among its members with which the Landsstýri consults before decisions are made relative to foreign policy issues of major import.
    2. Similarly, the Landsstýr shall consult with this committee regarding negotiations with the Danish authorities on significant issues impacting relations between the Faroe Islands and Denmark.
   § 55. A law of the Løgting, or a part thereof, is deemed not to have entered into effect if
a.       it contravenes an international treaty that the Faroese authorities have ratified,
b.       it contravenes an international treaty that Denmark has ratified without reservation for the Faroe Islands.
 
Municipalities
   § 56. The rights of the municipalities to manage their own affairs under the supervision of the Landsstýri shall be stipulated by an act of the Løgting, including, but not limited to, the degree to which the local authorities and inter-municipal organisations may become indebted through the execution of loans, sureties, etc.
 
Entry in Force
   57. If the Løgting passes a bill to amend this law, the approved law may not be ratified immediately by the Løgmaður. Following the next subsequent election of the Løgting, the same law unamended must be approved during the first sitting of the newly elected Løgting. Upon approval, the law may be ratified by the Løgmaður in the usual manner.
    2. If the Home Rule Act is amended, bills designed to amend the Home Rule Act pursuant to the ratified amendment of the Home Rule Act shall be approved and ratified consistent with normal procedures.
   § 58. This Act of the Løgting shall enter into force on St Olaf’s Day 1995.
    2. Concurrently, the following laws are rescinded:

 

 
a)
Parliamentary Act No. 1 from May 13th 1948 on the Governing Charter of the Faroe Islands regarding Special Matters, as amended by Parliamentary Act No. 2 from January 3rd 1985.
 
b)
Parliamentary Act No. 2 from May 13th 1948 on the Faroese Executive Power.
 
c)
Parliamentary Act No. 22 from May 22nd 1962 on the Standing Committee of the Løgting regarding fishing boundaries and EEC common market issues.
 
d)
§ 2, paragraph 2, point 2, of Parliamentary Act No. 49 from July 20th 1978 on Election to the Løgting, as amended by Parliamentary Act No. 68 from May 13th 1992.
    3. § 33 of this Act, however, shall not enter into force until St Olaf’s Day 1996. Prior to the entry into force of §33, § 6 of Parliamentary Act No. 1 from May 13th 1948 on Governing Charter of the Faroe Islands regarding Special Matters, as amended by Parliamentary Act No. 2 from January 3rd 1985, and § 8 in Parliamentary Act No. 2 from May 13th 1948 on the Faroese Executive Power shall remain in full force and effect.