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Database of arbitration proceedings

This project consists of creating an online database of all proceedings by arbitration committees in Iceland in the period 1798 to 1936.

Arbitration committees were established in the Danish-Norwegian state in the 1790s. Their declared purpose was to reduce the financial burden and the case-load of the judicial system and all civil cases regarding property, debt, defamation, labour relations and the legal rights of individuals or groups should first be taken to arbitration committees in order to attempt reconciliation between the conflicting parties, before being taken to the regular courts.

Arbitration committees were established throughout Iceland in the following years and many of them remained active well into the 20th century.

There are approximately 250 books of proceedings in various archives in Iceland. In this project, these will be digitized and their contents registered into an online database in order to make these important sources for the history of everyday life, legal culture and local culture in the 19th and 20th centuries easily accessible to scholars.

The five-year project started in 2019 and has received a number of grants. It has one full-time employee. It is a collaboration between the Research centre, the Icelandic National Archives and the Regional Archives of Skagafjörður in NW-Iceland.