Lapp Codicill

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Lapp Codicill

This was a codicil to a border agreement signed in 1751 between Denmark (to which Norway then belonged) and Sweden (to which Finland belonged). 'The first codicil and supplement', which was later known as the 'Lapp Codicil', and which in the present political context has been called the Magna Charta of the Saami, included extensive measures to safeguard the rights of the Saami. Among other things, the Codicil prescribed how the nationality of the Saami should be determined and how their rights to cross national frontiers with their reindeer and to utilize the lands and waters of other countries (including sea fishing) should be taken into account in mutual understanding with the other inhabitants of the areas concerned. The Codicil also guaranteed the Saami complete neutrality in the event of a war breaking out between Denmark-Norway and Sweden-Finland. It also confirmed or established the Saami's own legal system with its 'own Saami law courts'. These in certain situations had extensive legislative and executive powers, which to a great extent transcended national frontiers, provided that there was no appeal against the courts' rulings. The Lapp Codicil was abolished in 1852 when the border between Finland and Norway was closed.

Lars Thomasson

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